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Dr Carol A. Ireland

Reader in Aggression
School of Psychology and Computer Science
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Dr. Carol A. Ireland is a Reader in Aggression. She is also a consultant chartered psychologist, a forensic psychologist and a chartered scientist. She is a Registered EuroPsy Psychologist. She works in clinical practice as well as at the university. Her clinical expertise matches her research interests, including working with clients in regard to aggression, sexual aggression, deliberate self-injury/suicidal ideation, trauma and critical incidents. She is also an accredited EMDR (trauma) therapist.

Dr. Carol A. Ireland publishes widely on the topics of aggression, sexual aggression, sexual exploitation, critical incidents, deliberate self-injury/suicidal ideation and trauma. Dr. Ireland is the Course Director for the MSc Forensic Psychology, and has been in this role for many years (since 2009). She also supervises various PhD and research projects, all fitting within her areas of interest. Dr. Ireland is also the Senior Research Lead at the Ashworth Research Centre (ARC), which is funded by Mersey Care NHS Trust, with this Centre being managed under the School of Psychology and Computer Science.

Dr. Carol A. Ireland worked for many years in HM Prison Service and in the NHS as a Forensic Psychologist, working full time in the Dispersal Prison Estate (high risk) and then working full time in high secure psychiatric services. Dr. Ireland specialised during this time in working with clients who presented with extensive levels of aggression, sexual aggression and those involved in critical incidents (e.g. barricades, roof top protests and hostage taking). She has maintained her clinical case load by working part time in clinical practice, as well as at the University. She currently works for part of her time at the Coastal Child and Adult Therapeutic Services (CCATS), and which is a large provider of child and adult therapeutic services across the UK. She is a lead clinician in this service, and is also lead for the CCATS International Research Centre.

She also maintains links with Mersey Care NHS Trust, and continues to support them as the psychological lead for critical incident management, where she develops the training and trains staff to be critical incident negotiators, and where she further support the management of live incidents as a critical incident advisor. She has been involved in this area of work for over 20 years. She further continues to support the prison estate in the completion of psychological reports for parole hearings for prisoners, as well as engaging as an expert witness in family, civil and criminal court. She further works with victims of abuse, and completes psychological assessments as part of personal injury claims.

As a researcher and consultant psychologist, Dr. Ireland is keen to regularly use research to inform teaching for students, and by doing so, to promote excellence and support research impact. This includes ensuring teaching is always research-led, where students are exposed to various research methodologies that they can critique and understand as part of the teaching process (e.g. group led discussions). This has included a variety of Dr. Ireland's research areas, such as sexual exploitation, critical incidents, aggression and deliberate self-injury. Furthermore, a number of Dr. Ireland's past students are/have been forensic psychologists in training/forensic psychologists, and Dr. Ireland has supervised their research post MSc for qualification; a number of the students have progressed on to PhD’s as where Dr. Ireland is keen to support a research culture with students, and do so at various opportunities (e.g. via direct teaching, career events).

  • BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, 1995
  • MSc in Psychology and Criminal Psychology, the Manchester Metropolitan University, 1997
  • Doctor in Philosophy, Thesis titled ‘Problems in Adapting to Prison Life’, University of Central Lancashire, 2001
  • Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Open University, 2010
  • Graduate Certificate with Commendation in Professional Practice in Law: Approved Clinician Training, Northumbria University, 2011
  • Medical LiveWire Global Awards Winner 2016
  • Functions and motivations in regard to offending behaviour (e.g. aggression, sexual aggression)
  • Secondary and vicarious trauma in staff
  • Functions of critical incidents
  • Trauma in victims
  • Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Accredited EMDR Therapist with EMDR UK Association