Alison O'Connor

  • Lecturer in Counselling and Therapeutic Practice (CTP)
  • Faculty of Life Sciences and Education
Alison O'Connor

About Me

Alison divides her time between therapy, supervision, teaching and research. She currently practices as an Associate Therapist at Talk in the Bay. She previously worked as a Community Mental Health Therapist for NHS Veterans Wales. She has extensive experience of practice and research with military veterans and families and was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship in 2016 to research creative approaches to trauma recovery in America and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Alison is passionate about the rapidly evolving field of trauma, attachment and neuroscience, in particular, how arts-based approaches can complement and work alongside clinical models to assist people affected by trauma to recover and live full, meaningful lives. She has a particular interest in moral injury and was invited to record a podcast for the Mental Health Foundation, in 2020, discussing the findings of her Churchill Fellowship, Transforming Trauma: Moral Injury and the Arts with military veterans, families and communities. She is currently writing about moral injury and the healing role that the arts may offer to this ancient yet emerging construct.

While her core training is in CBT, Alison is an integrative practitioner. Her client work is informed by her background in therapeutic groupwork and applied theatre and her recent training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. 

Alison has 20 years experience of groupwork and applied theatre in prisons, secure mental health settings, in Romanian orphanages and in substance misuse. She is the Co-Founder of Re-Live, an award-winning Arts and Health charity, creating innovative therapeutic life story work with older adults and people affected by trauma and adversity. She received an Arts and Health Practice Award from the Royal Society of Public Health (2015) for Re-Live’s creative work with military families. Alison and her Re-Live Co-founder, Karin Diamond, also received an award for International Leadership in Arts and Health from Arts and Health Australia. Alison and Karin are currently writing a book about Re-Live's methodology and practice. 

Skills And Qualifications

  • Consultative supervision
  • CBT
  • Integrative counselling
  • Conference presentation
  • Arts in Health
  • Substance misuse
  • Trauma
  • Charity Management
  • Grants and fundraising
  • Applied theatre
  • Interests

    Responsibilities

  • Moral Injury
  • Older adults mental health
  • Life story work in end of life care
  • Arts and dementia
  • Publications And Past Projects

  • Re-Live: Life Story Theatre
  • Transforming Trauma: Moral Injury and Arts with Military veterans, families and communities
  • The Work Hurts: The emotional impact on Arts and Health practitioners and the mitigating role of supervision
  • Abandoned Brothers: Life Story Theatre with military veterans and families