ABOUT

About Clara

I am an experienced Chartered Psychologist and EMCC accredited Coach. My expertise is at the intersection between Psychology, Education and Disability. I have a particular interest in Positive Parenting for children with additional needs. Some of the areas I work on include; responding to and coping with diagnosis of additional needs, transition from primary to post-primary, promoting psychological well-being, resilience and self-compassion in young people and mental fitness. I am passionate about the importance of inclusive and strength based approaches in schools. My goal is to enable young people to realize their full potential through empowering, supporting and informing young people and their families. 

I work with young people aged 10 years plus, as well as parents and teachers. I support individuals and groups to deal with anxiety and stress and improve life satisfaction and well-being. My focus is on creating a safe and supportive space for you to be heard.

I am a Chartered Psychologist with the Psychology Society of Ireland, (PSI) and active in a number of committees and special interest groups such as Coaching Psychology and Intellectual Disability. Chartered Psychologists are listed on the PSI Directory of Psychologists and “must have the necessary qualifications and experience, commit to adhering to the PSI’s Code of Ethics, and continue to engage in their own continuing professional development every year”. This includes regular professional development and supervision.

I am registered with the British Psychology Society as a registered test user (RTQUK BPS). 

I am an accredited Coach with the European and Mentoring Coaching Council (EMCC)

I am Garda Vetted and a registered teacher with Teaching Council of Ireland

Career

I have extensive experience of SEN (Special Education Needs) and Disability advocacy over the last 20 plus years. This includes work in residential settings for adults with Intellectual Disability, Special schools and alternative education provision settings for ‘at risk’ youths. I also worked as an NCSE advisor, (Behavior and Well-being) for over 5 years. Having experienced special educational needs and disability from multiple perspectives, I came to the understanding that access to practical, realistic and evidence based support is vital for both parents and teachers in order to support young people to maximize their potential. 

  • Regional Advisor to Schools (Behavior and Wellbeing) -NBSS and National Council for Special Education
  • Special Education Teacher – Multiple settings including Intellectual Disability, Complex needs, early school leavers and ‘at risk’ youth
  • Lecturer (occasional)- I have designed and taught modules on Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education for Hibernia College, St Nicholas Montessori college and UCC
  • Former clients include: Tusla, Cork ETB, TTM Health, Downs Syndrome Cork and Family Carers Ireland

Education and Training

I completed my PhD in Psychology at the University of Limerick. My doctoral studies examined Intellectual Disability, Stigma and Special Schools. I was awarded a Department of Children and Youth Affairs Research Scholarship and my doctoral research was published in a number of peer-reviewed journals and has been cited regularly.

  • Chartered Psychologist, Psychological Society of Ireland (Ch. Psychol. Ps. S.I.)
  • PhD Psychology
  • M.ED., Master of Education
  • M.Phil.
  • B.Sc., Psychology  
  • B.A.
  • H.Dip.Ed

I am an advocate of life long learning and a strength of mine is a love of learning. Additional specialist training that I have completed includes; 

  • Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
  • Sensory Regulation- Sensory Processing, Alert program
  • Sexual Health Promotion -HSE
  • Parenting- Family Studies, Parents plus, Working things Out
  • Friends for Life

Conferences, Talks and Public Engagement

A selection of public engagement activities is outlined below

  • Guest Speaker, December 21, Podcast on Effective Collaboration with Schools for the @ thehappybabypodcast and www. corkchildrensclinic.com
  • Guest Speaker, July 2020, @ MyOTandMe, Webinar on Sleep and Routine
  • Guest speaker, Inspire 2019, “Parenting through the Exam Process” Charity Event for Pieta House and Jigsaw
  • O’Byrne C (2018)  “From mainstream to special: How do young people with Intellectual Disability experience the transition from mainstream primary to segregated special school at second level?” PSI Conference, Wexford, 
  • O’Byrne C (2015), “A parents journey into the world of Intellectual Disability”, ESAI Conference, Maynooth
  • O’Byrne C (2013), “How do young people with Intellectual Disability experience stigma in a segregated school?” Poster, BPS Social Psychology Conference, UK.

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