Carmel O'Brien is a counselling psychologist. For more than twenty-five years she has worked predominantly with people who have lived with violence at home. Her special clinical interest is the recovery of women and children from family violence.
Carmel has worked in child protection and women’s correctional services, in relationship and general counselling services, in the community sector and in private practice.
From 2001 to 2015 Carmel was Director of Clinical Services for a large community agency, managing counselling and recovery programs, and developing a suite of services for women and children who have experienced abuse. Carmel initiated some unique models of service provision including utilizing trained mentors to aid recovery, commencing a domestic violence prevention program for girls in schools, and starting a successful choir for survivors. In this role she also launched two iPhone Apps (LiveFree and iMatter) delivering information to the public about domestic violence issues and healthy relationships. She has spent 16 years serving on various Boards in the education and welfare sector.
Carmel has received a Menzies Award (2009) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Elaine Dignan Award for her contribution to women through her profession (2010). She is also a Fellow of both the Australian Psychological Society and the Cairnmillar Institute. In January 2017, Carmel was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contribution to mental health and social welfare organisations.
Carmel has extensive experience delivering training and offering supervision to therapists, and is a sought after speaker on topics related to family violence. Her book “Blame Changer: Understanding Domestic Violence” was released in October 2016. Her second book, which looks at survivors’ experiences in the justice system, is due for release in early 2019.
Carmel lives in Rosebud, Victoria and has seven adult children.