#28 – Working with survivors of domestic violence with Psychologist Carmel O’Brien

Carmel O’Brien is a Counselling Psychologist and National Convenor of the APS Women and Psychology Interest Group. For the last 23 years she has worked predominantly with people who have lived with violence at home.  This includes working in child protection services, the Victorian Women’s Prison, in critical incident management and relationship and general counselling practice. Most of Carmel’s work has been in the welfare sector.  Carmel has also conducted a part-time private practice in eastern Melbourne since 1998.

From 2001 to 2015 Carmel managed the clinical services programs for a large community agency, including general counselling and clinical supervision services and a suite of support programs for women and children who have experienced abuse. Her special clinical interest is the recovery of women from family violence. Carmel initiated some unique models of service provision including utilizing trained mentors to aid recovery, commencing a domestic violence prevention program for girls and schools, and starting a successful choir for survivors. She launched two iPhone Apps at Doncare (LiveFree and iMatter) delivering information to the public about domestic violence issues and healthy relationships.

In January, 2008, Carmel received a Menzies Award for her work in innovative service provision. In 2010 she received the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Elaine Dignan Award for her contribution to women through her profession. She is also a Fellow of both the APS and the Cairnmillar Institute.

Carmel has just finished writing a book about intimate partner violence and is assisting the APS to develop practice guidelines for psychologists working with family violence. She has extensive experience delivering training and offering supervision to therapists.

Recommended Resources


Smartphone Apps

  • LiveFree          general information about IPV and direct links to national and Victorian services
  • Aurora            general information about IPV, major services and a special messaging service to friends for help
  • Daisy               links to support services
  • iMatter            sharing app for info about healthy relationships; engaging App for young people


Carmel's Best Self-Care Tip

Laugher and a sense of humour!!!!   Carmel writes funny poetry and says her sense of humour keeps her sane.  So don't ever lose your capacity to laugh!!!  Laugh a lot!!!


Please leave Carmel or myself a comment or some feedback, we'd love to hear from you and I'll respond to everyone!


Amy Felman

Amy Felman

Amy has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Deakin University and is a working psychologist. She also has a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies) where she majored in radio. Amy is the host of the "We All Wear It Differently" podcast, where she hopes to entertain and inspire her fellow psychologists.
Amy Felman

Leave a Comment