British Psychological Association branch to hold annual conference in Ballymascanlon Hotel

‘Psychology and identity’

Áine Kenny


Áine Kenny


British Psychological Association branch to hold annual conference in Ballymascanlon Hotel

British Psychological Association branch to hold annual conference in Ballymascanlon Hotel

The Northern Irish Branch of the British Psychological Association is to host their annual conference in the Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk from the 21st to the 23rd of March.

This is the third year the conference has taken place in the popular hotel, and psychologists all over the country will be in attendance. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘psychology and identity’. There will be ten guest speakers over the course of three days.

Nicola Gale, the President of the British Psychological Association, will be giving a speech entitled ‘A good place to work and learn: psychology making a difference.’ In this talk, she will explore what characteristics organisations and institutions need to have in order for workers to give their best. She will also focus on how organisations can support equality, diversity and inclusion.

Terri Morrisey, the CEO of the Psychological Society of Ireland, will deliver a talk on ‘Does my work define who I am?’ She will speak about the importance of work in creating meaning and identity for people, dismantle the myth of the work/life balance and highlight the need for creative, engaging and healthy workplaces.

Dr Katriona Scior is a clinical psychologist, trainer and researcher, with special expertise in the area of intellectual disability. She will be delivering a talk entitled ‘Supporting people with intellectual disabilities in constructing positive social identities’.

Professor Viren Swami is a Professor of Social Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. He specialises in cross-cultural aspects of body image and human appearance, as well as the psychology of conspiracy theories. He will be discussing eating disorders, body image and the thin ideal at the conference.

Dr Vivien Swanson is a Reader in Psychology and Health Psychologist in the School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling. She will be analysing family feeding behaviours using the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Poor diet is related to poor health outcomes in very young children, and for socially disadvantaged families the effect is potentially greater. Her talk will outline how families can work together to promote healthy eating.

Professor Rhiannon Turner is a Professor of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast.  She will be highlighting the importance of fostering cross-group friendships among children and teenagers. Intergroup contact theory proposes that positive interactions between members of different groups improve relations overall, and this is most notable in children.

Dr Ladislav Timulak of Trinity College Dublin will also be speaking at the conference. His talk will give an overview of Emotion Focused Therapy theory and practice. Some topics he will cover include differentiating between primary, secondary and instrumental emotion, maladaptive emotional processes and their relationship with psychological disorders.

There are also three invited guest speakers. Judge Gregory Jackson is an Associate Judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in the USA, and he was appointed to this position in 2005 by President George W. Bush. He has served as a mentor for the Urban Alliance Program which provides academic development, mentoring and employment opportunities for D.C. Public High School students. He has received the Department of Justice Volunteer Service Award and the “Justice for Victims of Crime Award” in recognition of his efforts on behalf of victims of crime and domestic violence.

Dr Geraldine O’Hare and Dr Nicola Doherty will both speak about their experience of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship. Dr O’Hare went to the USA in 2016 to research Problem Solving Courts, with a particular interest in mental health, domestic violence and drug courts. Dr Doherty’s fellowship in 2017 focused on the health and wellbeing of babies born premature and sick.

There will also be a postgraduate workshop where a talk will be given by Dr Suzanne Guerin of University College Dublin on the importance of mixed method research.