The Psychological Society of Ireland



The Psychological Society of Ireland,
Floor 2, Grantham House,
Grantham Street, Dublin 8, D08 W8HD.


November 2015 - Celebrating 45 years of PSI Annual Conferences 

The 45th PSI Annual Conference was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway, from 11th – 14th November 2015. The Radisson had previously hosted the PSI Conference and this year again proved to be a popular location with much positive feedback received from delegates.

Wednesday 11th saw a popular pre-conference workshop take place, which was presented by Dr Katie Baird and Dr Jennifer Gibson and entitled What’s compassion got to do with it? The role of self-compassion in clinical practice. Whilst the pre-conference workshop was taking place, the PSI Student Affairs Group (SAG) was also holding a Student Research Seminar. This was the first time such an event was held as part of the PSI Conference, and the addition proved very successful with over 50 students attending the Seminar. With psychology students and PSI student members being the future of the Society, it was wonderful to have them on site to experience what it is like to be part of the PSI Conference.

In one of his last remaining duties as PSI President before handing over the mantel to Dr Anne Davis, Dr Paul D’Alton officially opened the Conference on the Wednesday evening. The official opening was followed by a public lecture delivered by PSI member Dr Eddie Murphy. This public lecture was a joint initiative between the PSI and the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society (NIBPS), and we were delighted to see our biggest ever public lecture audience in attendance on the night.

To further build on the already established links with the British Psychological Society (BPS), the PSI and BPS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Wednesday night. We were delighted to have BPS President Prof. Jamie Hacker Hughes present for the signing. PSI took this opportunity to build further international links by also signing an MoU with the American Psychological Association (APA). This was managed via Skype with APA’s President Dr Barry Anton signing on behalf of the APA.

With the parallel sessions beginning on the Thursday morning, the Conference was in full swing by time the Society’s AGM took place that evening. The AGM was followed by a play, entitled My Name is Saoirse – a one woman show written and performed by Eva O’ Connor of Sunday’s Child Theatre Company. The inclusion of drama at the PSI Conference was not something that had happened for some time. AMAZING is probably the best word to describe the performance, with Eva O’ Connor excelling as the young naive Saoirse.

Friday and Saturday saw full days of parallel sessions, meetings of Divisions and Special Interest Groups, and of course who could forget the SAG quiz on the Friday night. Once again, the SAG team ran a very competitive quiz night with possibly the most memorable item from the night being the fact that the majority of teams scored better on the Disney round than they did on the psychology round. Who would have thought that more people knew that Eddie Murphy (and no, not the PSI member Eddie Murphy that gave the PSI NIBPS public lecture!) voiced the Dragon in Disney’s Mulan than were able to identify Steinberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence!

This year’s keynote speakers were perhaps the main highlight of the Conference. PSI member Dr Niall Muldoon spoke on Thursday regarding the rights of children in Ireland. Friday saw Dr J. Kevin Nugent, one of the world’s leading experts on early child development, address the Conference delegation on infant-parent mental health. The final keynote speaker was Colm O’ Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, who addressed delegates on Saturday. Colm’s address, entitled The role of public discourse in shaping a human rights republic, was inspirational and he received a standing ovation upon completing his address.

With the 45th PSI Annual Conference culminating on the Saturday night with the Gala Dinner, the time came after dinner for the presentation of a number of awards. PSI Office Manager, Niamh O’ Byrne, was firstly presented with a token of appreciation by new PSI President Dr Anne Davis as Niamh was departing the Society for a new job within days of the PSI Conference. Following this, the awards for the Annual Conference Poster Competition were presented. The recipients of the awards are outlined below.

Academic/ Practitioner Posters
Winner: The techniques for overcoming depression scale: Mokken analysis and concurrent validity - Frank Doyle, Kenneth E. Freedland, Mariantonia Lemos, Brian C. Steinmeyer, et al.

Merit: The effect of controllability and causality on blame assignment - Suzanne Egan and Caren Frosch

Merit: Wii Fit for the elderly: Health improvement through exercise videogames -
Natalia Fernández Pintos, Esperanza Navarro-Pardo, Andrea Vázquez-Martínez & Mike Murphy

Student Posters
Winner: Say my name: the healing journey. Mothers’ experience of adaptation to the stillbirth loss of their baby - Mairead Brennan, Padraig Macneela and Helen Greally

Merit: Impact of vicarious trauma on a sample of lawyer and community mediators: An interpretative phenomenological study - Aoife Fennelly and Jean Quigley

Merit: Exploring the recovery process during suicide intervention therapy - Hilary Groarke, Paul Surgenor and Marelise Spies

The Division of Neuropsychology Deirdre McMackin Award was presented to Tom Burke for his presentation entitled Assessing the functional equivalence of verbal and spatial working memory tasks in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The final presentation of the night was the EQuIP Award with Dr Geraldine Moane being the well deserving recipient.

Dr Paul D’Alton also chose the Conference to award his two presidential citations for his time as PSI President – to Dr J. Kevin Nugent and to Colm O’ Gorman.

There are many awards and presentations at the PSI Conference each year and it is fantastic that the recipients receive recognition for the work they have undertaken in their careers and personal lives. However, it is also terribly important that each and every person associated with the Conference be recognised – presenters, delegates, session chairs, volunteers, poster judges, Division and SIG members, the SAG, the Scientific Affairs Board (SAB) and abstract reviewers, the Communications Subgroup of PSI Council, the IP editorial team, PSI guests, the Annual Conference Committee, PSI staff, and PSI Council.

The 2016 PSI Annual Conference will take place at the Athlone Sheraton Hotel in November.

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