Dr Tara O’Neill: Service, Team Consultancy and Training

Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) and Trauma Focussed working.

Tara is an acknowledged UK expert in working with adults with complex mental health issues, particularly those associated with personality difficulties/ severe mental health problems and substance misuse.

She is regularly invited to talk at national and international conferences and has been involved in national strategic projects to improve services for people with complex mental health issues.

On qualifying as a clinical psychologist, Tara worked in an NHS mental health team where she developed a programme for working with people with mental health and substance misuse problems.

She then spent two years at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, a national policy and practice development consultancy, where she helped other NHS services to develop their support for this client group.

On her return to the NHS as a consultant clinical psychologist, Tara led the development of dual diagnosis (mental health and substance misuse) services across two inner London boroughs and worked with individuals with a diverse range of psychological needs.

The work spanned the range of mental health services with a particular focus on complex mental health presentations, substance misuse and homelessness. The post had a significant training and supervision remit that enabled Tara to work with a wide range of staff groups.

In 2011, she left the NHS to establish a successful training and development practice that enables services to engage with people with complex needs. She also helps services to work using psychological models and is actively engaged in helping a range of homeless services to develop Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs) and Trauma Focussed working practices.

Tara enjoys an excellent national reputation as a trainer and has been involved in rolling out national training programmes with the Department of Health, CSIP and other national bodies. She regularly runs workshops on the psychological effects of trauma, working with individuals with complex presentations/ needs, dual diagnosis and a range of therapeutically based training workshops tailored directly to meet team or service needs.

She spends a lot of her time supervising health professionals, including nursing teams, multi disciplinary teams, health visitors, and other clinical psychologists. She also provides support, reflective practice and complex case consultation to staff working in the charitable and third sector organisations in homeless services.