Telephone 01332 343000

Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society 2017 Annual Conference

Thursday 23rd March - Friday 24th March 2017 at The Ballymascanlon House Hotel

Ballymascanlon House Hotel

We have been told by the owner of the hotel that back in the day our delegates used to have a sherry before dinner and discuss papers around the open fire! We look forward to re-creating that ambiance, looking back at how things were and hearing how psychological research has developed in Ireland and across the world by our members over the years.

As our keynotes are agreed we will keep you up to date on the programme via our membership email announcement list. Our Post Graduate and Early Career prize and our Poster prize return again in 2017 and we also encourage final year undergraduate students to submit posters in a new prize category.

Keynote Speakers

Compassion for Voices - Science and Application
Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland

In 2015, Charlie and his collaborators released a short film called ‘Compassion for Voices’ ( with the support of funding from the Compassionate Mind Foundation, Medical Research Council, King’s College London, and Balanced Minds. Since then, the film has been viewed numerous times on YouTube, translated into different languages, featured in TV documentaries, and has been widely used as a resource for education, training, and therapy in mental health. But what is really going on in this film? What are the ideas behind it? What can we do with these ideas to actually improve our relationships to voices? In this talk, Charlie will explore the scientific understandings and research behind each aspect of the film, and will then demonstrate how these can be translated into real-life practices, techniques, and experiences for voice-hearers.

How to promote community wellbeing... and why it's important
Professor Peter Kinderman, President, The British Psychological Society

The Community Wellbeing evidence programme, one of four funded by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Public Health England and other partners, including government departments, is a consortium including the University of Liverpool, along with Sheffield University, Leeds Beckett University, Durham University, Goldsmiths, University of London, the New Economics Foundation, Happy City, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, and Social Life Ltd and Locality. The ultimate aim of this research is to enable policy-makers, local authorities, employers and others to use evidence of wellbeing impact in decision making and to improve people’s lives, by translating academic evaluation of wellbeing measures into easy-to-use information about effectiveness, cost and applicability. This presentation will set out the political and scientific background to the Government's wellbeing programme, the role of the 'what works centres' and the part that psychology and psychologists can play in this ambitious initiative.

What Works Research, Evidence-Informed Practice and the Importance of Systematic Reviews
Professor Paul Connolly

This presentation takes a critical look at the notion of ‘what works research’ and how it is continuing to shape debates regarding evidence-informed practice. Drawing upon examples from the work of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI) at Queen’s, it will consider some of the key issues and challenges associated with the increasing use of randomised controlled trials in education and social care. One particular issue that will be explored within this is the risk of relying on the findings of single trials. The importance of systematic reviews for mitigating such a risk will be discussed alongside their potential for developing a more nuanced and critical realist approach to evidence-informed practice. The presentation will conclude by introducing the work of the international Campbell Collaboration and outlining plans for the establishment of a national Campbell Centre for the UK and Ireland, to be hosted by CESI.

Open Public Event: Promoting Wellbeing and Mental Health: Illustrations from research across the lifespan

Wednesday 22 March 2017 at 7.00pm

The British Psychological Society Northern Ireland Branch (NIBPS) is pleased to be partnering with The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) in co-hosting a joint Public Lecture to open the NIBPS 2017 Annual Conference at Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk, Co Louth on Wednesday 22 March 2017 at 7pm. We are also working on an exhibition promoting local relevant health services related to the series of talks. Confirmation of the exhibition timing will be advised through booking reminders but the exhibition is anticipated to start at 6pm. Light refreshments will be served.

This event brings together a group of presentations that illustrates the importance of promoting wellbeing and mental health at every stage of life and how the way we respond to the challenges that life presents can make a big difference to how we feel, think and behave.

In the opening paper Dr Nichola Doherty from the Western Health & Social Care Trust will discuss how positive parenting can influence the health and wellbeing of both parents and children.

Next Dr Gavin Breslin from the School of Sport at Ulster University will speak about his research into how community participation in sport can enhance wellbeing.

Dr Liz Simpson also from Ulster University will bring us up to date with her research on how the effects of menopause on women’s wellbeing can be more effectively managed.

Finally Dr Frank Doyle from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland will discuss how feelings, thoughts and behaviour impact on wellbeing in older people.

Further information and abstracts can be found here.

This session is free to attend and open to the general public. If you would like to join us please follow the 'click here to book your place' link below, register your details and select the Open Public Event: Promoting Wellbeing and Mental Health booking option.

Undergraduate Student Session

Thursday 23rd March time TBC

As part of the NIBPS 2017 Annual Conference we are hosting an Undergraduate Student Session. We are inviting undergraduate students to present posters or a 10 minute talk on psychology research they’ve done as part of their studies (e.g. a group research project or final year thesis research). This is a valuable opportunity to practice presenting psychological research for any upcoming presentations, as well as to receive feedback from Psychologists attending the conference.

Undergraduate Students presenting a poster or giving a talk will receive a discount on the conference fee which includes lunch, and afternoon refreshments. To take advantage of this opportunity simply submit a 250 word abstract outlining the research you will be presenting. To ensure your submission meets the necessary standards and for further information please refer to the NIBPS Undergraduate Submission Policy before emailing it to nieadbsogu.rln@p.r.k.

The deadline for submissions is midnight on Tuesday 28th February 2017.

Don't forget to register to attend by following the 'click here to book your place' link below!

Postgraduate & Early Career Researcher/Academic Workshop – Education

Psychology Education beyond the Lecture

This workshop will explore the contemporary challenges of meeting the educational demands of the modern learner, with particular emphasis on how we can help communicate knowledge of Psychology to others. In a world where teaching and educational skills are becoming increasingly important for careers both within academia and beyond, we will look at what is possible beyond the traditional didactic lecture. During the three talks of this session, we will examine how to successfully bring psychology to the wider public with public engagement events, the importance of such events, and the skills necessary to teach non-specialists outside of the classroom. We will then explore the experience of developing a large-intake psychology module which is open to non-psychology students, with focus on the challenges of teaching a large and diverse student population, and the development of module assessment, including innovative group assessment. Finally, we will turn to educational environments, where we will introduce the concept of ‘the flipped classroom’, showing how they can be used to promote student-directed active learning. The use of (freely available) personal response system apps and how they can be incorporated into teaching to engage learners with interactive contact will also be demonstrated.

The aim of this session is to help delegates think about their teaching approaches and to encourage the development of skills necessary for effective, interactive and engaging education. It will end with a general discussion and Q&A.

You can find detailed abstracts for this session here.

Open Session - Guidance on the management of disclosures of non-recent (historic) child sexual abuse

Thursday 23rd March at 4.00pm

This event launches the BPS guidance on non-recent (historical) child sexual abuse, the full document can be found here.

We are delighted that Dr Khadj Rouf and Benna Waites, two of the lead authors of the guidelines shall speak to conference.

Guest speaker - Dr Olive Buckley OBE, Clinical Director and Lead Forensic Doctor, The Rowan, Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Northern Ireland.

'Complex Trauma and the Perversion of Care’ - Dr Liz McMonagle - looking at the implications for practice when the dynamics of e.g. denial, projection and identification colonize organizations.

This session is free to attend and open to the general public. If you would like to join us please follow the 'click here to book your place' link below, register your details and select the Open Session - Guidance on the management of disclosures of non-recent (historic) child sexual abuse booking option.

Improving literacy standards and quality assurance in teacher-based assessments

Friday 24th March at 2.10pm–3.10pm

NIBPS are providing a limited number of FREE places to attend this symposium which will be especially of interest to those who have an interest in/ responsibility for the provision of examination access arrangements at post-primary level.

The symposium will be of particular benefit to Principals/ Heads of Centre, SENCos, and/or the examinations access arrangements assessor employed within the centre, and qualified teachers who are currently studying for a Level 7 or equivalent qualification in examination access arrangements. This includes teachers studying for, and holders of, an “Active” SpLD Assessment Practicing Certificate based in primary schools in Northern Ireland who are interested in branching into work in this area. Colleagues from the same school may register for more than one place. Post-primary school teachers who are not currently engaged in full time or part time employment are also eligible to register for a free place. JCQ regulations (UK) are considered, making this symposium particularly suitable for teachers working in Northern Ireland.

You can find detailed abstracts for this session here.

This session is free to attend for a limited number of teachers. If you would like to join us please follow the 'click here to book your place' link below, register your details and select the Improving literacy standards and quality assurance in teacher-based assessments Symposium option. Please note you will be asked provide evidence of being a teacher on arrival.

The full NIBPS 2017 Annual Conference Programme can be found here.


Submissions for the Northern Ireland Branch of The British Psychological Society 2017 Annual Conference closed at 23:59 on 5th January 2017.

Registration for this Conference is now open, fees can be found on the booking form.

Please note, this event will be credit/debit card payment only at the time of booking, in certain circumstances we may be able to accept bookings with invoice requests. If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224506.

Please book accommodation direct with The Ballymascanlon Hotel Tel: +353 (0) 42 935 8200

Speakers and Facilitators


Professor Peter Kinderman

Keynote Speaker
Peter Kinderman is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and President of the British Psychological Society. His research interests are in psychological processes underpinning wellbeing and mental health. He has published widely on the role of psychological factors as mediators between biological, social and circumstantial factors in mental health and wellbeing, and has received significant research grant funding – most recently from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), to lead a three-year evidence synthesis programme for the ‘What Works Centre for Wellbeing’, exploring the effectiveness of policies aimed at improving community wellbeing and from the National Institute for Health Research to investigate the effectiveness of human rights training in dementia care. His most recent book, ‘A Prescription for Psychiatry’, presents his vision for the future of mental health services. You can follow him on Twitter as @peterkinderman.

Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland

Keynote Speaker
Charlie is a clinical psychologist, researcher and trainer at King’s College London. He is currently researching the social context of anomalous experiences and the application of Compassion-Focused Therapy for people experiencing distress in relation to psychosis. He provides psychological therapies in NHS psychosis services, and in a private practice called Balanced Minds. He also runs various compassion training workshops for practitioners and the general public.

Professor Paul Connolly

Keynote Speaker
Paul Connolly is Professor of Education and Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. He is Director of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI), a large interdisciplinary social science research centre that draws together just under 100 academic, research and support staff. He has a particular interest in evaluating the effectiveness of educational and social interventions and has led a number of randomised controlled trials. He also has an interest in evidence synthesis and is Director of the new national Campbell Centre for the UK and Ireland that will be hosted by CESI and due to be launched later this year.

Dr Khadj Rouf

Dr Khadj Rouf is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. She qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1994 in Oxford, and has worked in long stay psychiatric settings, primary care and community mental health in the Thames Valley area. She has worked with Oxford Health since 1996. She is also a member of the British Psychological Society’s Safeguarding Advisory Group, focusing on the welfare of children and young people. Khadj has written professionally regarding mental health issues, both for clinicians and also service-users.

She has also written personally from her perspective as a survivor of child abuse, and also worked on resources for young people. She was invited to co-author the Guidelines on Managing Disclosures of Non-Recent Abuse following the publication of a paper in Clinical Psychology Forum, also jointly authored with Benna Waites.

Benna Waites

Benna Waites is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Joint Head of Psychology, Counselling and Arts Therapies for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South East Wales, making her professional lead for around 100 staff. She qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1993 in Oxford and worked in London for 10 years before moving to work in Wales. She has previously been seconded to Welsh Government to develop specialist services for people with Eating Disorders, and has developed leadership courses for NHS staff to improve well-being and staff engagement. She was invited to co-author the Guidelines on non-recent abuse disclosure following the joint publication of a discussion paper in Clinical Psychology Forum.

Dr Olive Buckley OBE

Olive graduated from Sheffield Medical School in 1986 and has been working as a GP in Carrickfergus for the last 27years. She is originally from Co Tyrone and is married to a Larne man and they have 3 daughters.

Olive was one of the key drivers in the establishment of the Rowan Regional Sexual Assault Referral Centre which is located within the grounds of Antrim Area Hospital.

In 2012 she was awarded an OBE for services to victims. She has been Clinical Director and Lead Forensic Medical Examiner since the Rowan opened in 2013.

The Rowan provides all victims in Northern Ireland, who have experienced serious sexual assault, whether recently or in the past, with a comprehensive and co-ordinated package of care to promote recovery and wellbeing and has provided services to over 2500 individuals since opening in May 2013.

Dr Liz McMonagle

Dr Liz McMonagle (AFBPs) is Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Adult Mental Health, Daisy Hill Hospital Newry. She is a member of the BPS Safeguarding Children And Young People (SCAYP) working group. She was lead author on the BPS Home Office Consultation on Safeguarding Children and Young People and has recently written on safeguarding vulnerable adults. She is also trained as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. Her area of special interest is trauma, attachment and mental health including infant mental health. She is clinical supervisor with the Southern Trust, Family Nurse Partnership and The Queen’s University of Belfast.

Dr Nicola Doherty

Dr Nicola Doherty, Consultant Lead Clinical Psychologist, Paediatric Psychology, Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Nicola has worked as a Clinical Psychologist in the field of Paediatric Psychology and CAMHS for the past 17 years. Only 10.5 of these have been as a parent! She has a keen clinical and research interest in the early years, in brain body links and in interventions for optimal health and wellbeing outcomes.

Dr Gavin Breslin

Dr. Gavin Breslin is the Head of The School of Sport at Ulster University. In 2005 he was awarded his PhD in Psychology, from Queen’s University Belfast. After spending two years as a researcher in the Health Promotion Agency, in 2007 he was appointed as a Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology at Ulster where he contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, research, community outreach and consultancy. Gavin is a Senior Lecturer in psychology, Course Director of the MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Gavin is a British Psychological Society Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, a registered practitioner of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), a previous committee member of the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Gavin has published extensively in the area of sport and exercise psychology with a recent book entitled ‘Practitioner Case Studies in Sport and Exercise psychology’. His passions are his family and running.


Dr Liz Simpson

Dr Liz Simpson is a Senior Lecturer at Ulster University, a registered Health Psychologist (HCPC), a Chartered Psychologist (BPS), a member of the School of Psychology Research Institute and Chair of the Health, Education and Well-being RRG. She is Course Director of the online BPS accredited MSc in Health Psychology. She is current chair of the Division of Health Psychology Northern Ireland Branch and deputy chair of the Division of Health Psychology Training Committee, she sits on the Partnership and Accreditation Committee and is a committee member of the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society. She has over 20 years’ experience of research in health psychology and has supervised several PhD projects investigating factors that contribute to health and well being with age. She has published high quality papers (n=28) on psychological well-being and health, presenting her work at national and international conferences. She has worked in the area of healthy cognitive ageing, looking at lifestyle factors that may impact on this such as dietary intake and physical activity. She is interested in biological mechanisms and their interplay with psychological and social factors such as immune function and cognition, HRT use and psychological well-being during the menopausal transition. She is currently collaborating on two funded projects, one by the Alpro Foundation (The health benefits of soy products on menopausal women), and the other is the National Insti

Dr Frank Doyle

Frank Doyle is a senior lecturer in psychology in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He co-ordinates and teaches behavioural sciences and statistics to health professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is the Editor of Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine: An Open Access Journal, serves as a consulting editor for Health Psychology, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. He has published in prestigious international journals on areas such as depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cardiac rehabilitation, quality of life, pain, stress, and health behaviours such as adherence, smoking and physical activity. He is also interested in systematic reviews, meta-analyses and psychometrics. He was Chair of the Division of Health Psychology from 2013-2015.


Ballymascanlon House Hotel

Dundalk , Co. Louth , Ireland •  Website•  Directions

Please book accommodation direct with the hotel Tel: +353 (0) 42 935 8200 Accommodation Rates: Single Room Bed & Breakfast is €85.00 per night Double/Twin Room Bed & Breakfast is €140.00 per night Triple Room Bed & Breakfast is €180.00 per night

Additional Information

Click here to download further information.

PDFBPS Booking Terms & Conditions
PDFNIBPS Agenda - Thursday 23rd March
PDFNIBPS Agenda - Friday 24th March