Dr Rachel Egan

Dr Rachel Egan 

Chartered Clinical Psychologist 

D. Psych. Sc., Clinical Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology, BA (Hons) Psychology. 

Early Career and training 

Rachel completed her BA in Psychology at University College Dublin in 2002. From the early stages of her career, she had an interest in working with people who have struggled with their mental health and have ended up in the criminal justice system. These individuals are often neglected or forgotten about and Rachel has always felt strongly about the importance of access to mental health services for every human being. Following her undergraduate degree, Rachel went on to complete a Masters in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent, in the UK.

After her masters, Rachel began a post as a researcher with the British Home Office, in their immigration department. In this role, Rachel was a primary researcher on a longitudinal research project exploring the integration and resettlement experiences of newly arrived refugees into the UK. As part of this role, Rachel met with and conducted interviews with vulnerable men, women and children who had been re-settled in the UK. This was a challenging and rewarding experience where Rachel learned the importance of understanding trauma and suffering and the many ways it impacts people’s lives. Rachel’s approach in this work was to create safety and help people feel heard, contained, and validated in order to allow them to discuss their traumatic experiences. She provided a supportive caring space and followed up on any issues with other key agencies and staff. As part of this role, Rachel wrote and presented interim and outcome reports for key government officials on the progress of the research. She received a “Special Bonus Award” for her work on this project. In this job, Rachel learned about the importance of understanding the wider systemic and societal influences on our psychological well-being and the lasting impact of war and trauma on individuals lives. She learned the value of being with people in their suffering and providing a place where they can begin to feel nurtured and safe. This remains a key part of how Rachel interacts with clients.

During her time in the Home Office, Rachel also conducted a study on human trafficking into the UK. This project consisted of defining and profiling the trafficking of women and children into the country. This work taught her the value of thinking with people and not for them. Rachel has carried this through her career and is a strong advocate for helping clients tap into their inner resilience and strength to help them flourish and reclaim their lives, especially after extreme trauma and suffering. Rachel was invited to present a paper on this topic at the International Police Executive Symposium Conference in Vancouver, Canada in 2004. The paper was subsequently published. 

In 2005, Rachel was offered a post as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist with South London and Maudsley NHS trust.  Working with people in this setting, Rachel conducted psychological assessments and developed formulations with individuals who struggled with substance misuse and were completing Probation Orders. During her time in the Maudsley, Rachel co-devised and implemented a CBT and Brief Solution Focused group programme for clients attending the service. Here she learned the value of helping people understand their coping strategies and how all our coping has intended and unintended consequences. Having a clear understanding of the bio-psycho-social aspects of suffering and pain helps us relate to our difficulties with understanding and in a non-shaming manner. Rachel uses and integrates this framework with every client she works with.

In September 2005, Rachel began her three-year Doctorate training in Clinical Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. During her doctorate, she completed clinical placements in adult mental health, child community care, older adult mental health, and intellectual disability. She also completed two specialist placements; one in the Irish Prison Service and one in a specialist addictions unit in the Maudsley Hospital, London. Rachel’s doctorate training provided experience in the many different models of working with people who are struggling. This has helped her integrate multiple approaches in her work to ensure she is meeting each person where they are at and to ensure their needs are best supported. Rachel believes very strongly that every individual is a unique person with a right to be heard and understood. 

Experience as a Clinical Psychologist 

After her Doctorate training, Rachel began working in the Irish Prison Service. She worked in the National Centre for Treatment of Sexual Offenders at Arbour Hill prison in Dublin for over six years. In this role, Rachel completed comprehensive psychological assessments and interventions with men who were imprisoned for sexual and violent offences. She was a key member in the development and implementation of a group therapy programme for men who had sexually offended.  This role also included writing comprehensive reports for the Parole Board, other disciplines, and the courts. Rachel also managed a national database of sexual offenders providing monthly statistics and audit information to the Department of Justice and Irish Prison Service HQ. In this job, working with people that some others might judge or reject, Rachel learned how to truly integrate the qualities of compassion including strength, wisdom, care, and providing healthy appropriate boundaries where people can work on their difficulties. Rachel is a keen supporter of understanding and developing compassion for our shadow side and the many version of ourselves that may show up in particular contexts. This job highlighted for Rachel the many layers of suffering when someone has both been harmed and caused harm.

In 2015, Rachel began working in Saint Patricks Mental Health Service (SPMHS) as a Senior Clinical Psychologist. She has been working in Saint Patrick’s hospital since 2015 and continues her role there. Rachel is the clinical lead of a new and innovative group therapy programme called Group Radical Openness (GRO). This group is designed for individuals who struggle with inhibiting and suppressing their emotions, have distant relationships, and struggle with rigid rules for themselves and others. People who attend GRO are often suffering with depression, anxiety issues, trauma, and unresolved losses. As clinical lead of the programme, Rachel’s key responsibilities include developing the programme, co-facilitating the groups, meeting with people individually to review their experience of the group, supervising junior members of staff, conducting research on the programme, and managing all administrative tasks. Rachel strongly believes in the importance of applying psychological models in her own life so that she has a deeper understanding of the depth and impact of this work. In her group therapy programmes, and indeed in her individual work, building a safe, secure, and contained space is critical. Rachel has thoroughly enjoyed working in a group setting and sees this as a wonderful avenue to highlight common humanity. 

Rachel has received extensive training in Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and is a key member of the CFT team in St. Patrick’s hospital. This includes developing and implementing the CFT programme in the hospital, co-facilitating the groups and engaging in research on the programme. Rachel is also a member of the organising committee of the Irish branch of the Compassionate Mind Foundation. In this way, she supports the spread of compassion and compassion based mental health approaches in Ireland. Rachel believes in the importance of the two psychologies of compassion, i.e. going towards our suffering and committing to try relieve and prevent further suffering. In her work with individual clients and her work in both the GRO and CFT programmes, she integrates many ways to nurture people and create well-being. She uses cognitive, emotional, and body-based approaches to help people soothe their suffering and distress. Rachel understands that as humans, we cannot think clearly in a threatened state, and she works with each client to find ways that they can feel safe, soothed, and able to move toward the things that cause them to suffer. 

Specialist Expertise

Rachel’s widespread training and experience in Adult Mental Health has allowed her to work with individuals with varying diagnoses and difficulties. She has over 11 years’ specialist expertise working with people in both individual and group settings. She has worked in Adult Mental Health and Forensic settings providing psychological assessments and interventions to individual clients who present with a range of psychological difficulties in addition to developing and implementing transdiagnostic group therapeutic approaches. She has also worked on Multidisciplinary Teams and engaged in co-working with allied health professionals. Rachel has worked with individuals who present with a variety of mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety, psychosis, OCD, phobias, trauma, complex PTSD, eating disorders, and varying personality difficulties. She has had intensive training in CFT, including CFT for Trauma and CFT group psychotherapy. Rachel also completed a certificate in DBT Prolonged Exposure for PTSD and both level 1 and level 2 intensive training in Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT). 

Outside of her clinical work, Rachel provides annual input to the UCD Clinical Psychology Doctorate programme. Her workshop helps trainee psychologists think about how to explore and discuss sexual issues with clients and how to ensure clients feel safe and supported in discussing difficult and private matters. She has also provided training in Group Radical Openness to healthcare professionals in the UK in both NHS and HMP settings. Rachel is enthusiastic about sharing psychological knowledge and skills with others through training, supervision and consultation. She recently completed a BPS (British Psychological Society) certified course in Clinical Supervision. She has supervised many assistant psychologists, psychologists in clinical training, and staff grade psychologists throughout her career to date. Rachel places huge value on clinical supervision and its critical role in career development and on-going reflection and she receives her own supervision in order to continue to develop as a psychologist.

Rachel has a passion for working with individuals to help them understand and work with their suffering so that they can live a more meaningful life. Her therapeutic approach draws from evidenced based therapies such as CFT, CBT and DBT. She believes in the importance of providing a safe and nurturing therapeutic space and working collaboratively with clients to better understand and address their difficulties. She helps clients build on their courage, strength, and compassionate motives to face life’s difficulties. She also helps people understand and work with their fears, blocks and resistances. 

Rachel has a keen interest in working with individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives and those who struggle with shame and self-criticism. She believes that shame urges us to close down and shut off, but therapy helps us to open up again and reclaim our lives. Rachel is also very interested in working with people who struggle with emotional overcontrol to help them connect with their emotions, build more meaningful relationships in their lives, and develop flexibility and curiosity about what life has to offer. Rachel is often described by those who know her as authentic, caring, wise, patient, and steadfast.

Memberships

Rachel is a Chartered Member of the Psychological Society of Ireland and a member of the British Psychological Society. 

Publications

  • Booth, R., Egan, R., & Gibson, J. (2018). Group Radical Openness. the Behavior Therapist. Special Issue: Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Vol 41(3), 154-156.  
  • Byrne, G., Bogue, J.B., & Egan, R. (2014). Identifying and describing emotions: Measuring the effectiveness of a brief, alexithymia-specific intervention for a sex offender population”. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol 28(7), 599-619. 
  • Egan, R., Sarma, K., & O Neill, M. (2012). Factors influencing perceived effectiveness in dealing with self-harming patients in a sample of emergency department staff. Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol 43(6),1-7. 
  • Egan, R., & Wilson, J. C. (2011). Rape victims’ attitudes to rape myth acceptance. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, (i1),1-13. 
  • Egan, R. (2010). Early loss of significant others and the later risk of psychological distress. Irish Psychologist, Vol 36 (5),133-139. 
  • Egan, R., O Neill, M., & Cregg, G. (2009). Quality of life and Intellectual Disability: Changes over time from residential to community living. Irish Psychologist, Vol 35 (10),274-280. 
  • Egan, R. (2006). Trafficking in women and children (Part 2): Strategies and responses. Community Safety Journal, Vol 5(2), 14-16.
  • Egan, R. (2006). Trafficking in women and children (Part 1): A literature review of contributory factors. Community Safety JournalVol 5(1), 4-11. 

Hours of work

Rachel offers appointments on Mondays and Fridays.  If you would like to book an appointment with Rachel, you can call the clinic on 091 727777 or get in touch via the contact page.