Professor Denis O'Hara - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Denis O'Hara

Adjunct Professor

Professor Denis O'Hara is chair of the PACFA Professional Standards Committee and has been chair of the National Heads of Counselling Educators. Professor O’Hara began his higher education teaching career in 1993, and has taught across psychology, counselling and education disciplines. Professor O'Hara's extensive academic experience in course development of undergraduate and postgraduate counselling programs has taken him to roles in the Australian Catholic University (School of Psychology), the University of Abertay (Scotland) (School of Social and Health Sciences) and the Australian College of Applied Psychology.

Outside of higher education, Denis operates a private psychotherapy and counselling practice.


PhD, NE; Graduate Diploma of Counselling Studies, Christian Heritage College; Master of Education (Educational Psychology), Deakin; Bachelor of Education, Griff.; Diploma of Teaching, James Cook.

Teaching areas
  • Counselling theories

  • Communication skills

  • Research methods in psychology

  • Psychology of religion

  • Psychological theories and interventions

  • Cross-cultural psychology

  • Ethics and professional practice in psychology

  • Educational psychology

  • Developmental psychology

  • Group processes

  • Pastoral counselling

Research areas
  • Hope studies
  • Differentiation of self
  • Trauma studies
  • Psychotherapy integration
  • Reflectivity
  • Therapeutic change
  • Chair, National Heads of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators
  • Chair, Professional Standards Committee – PACFA
  • TEQSA Expert – External Reviewer "Psychology Review” (2012-2015)
  • Registered Counselling Psychologist - Health and Care Professions Council UK (HCPC)
  • Member of editorial board, Counselling Psychology Review, British Psychological Society (Associate Editor, 2012-2014)
  • Reviewer, Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia
  • Reviewer, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, BACP
  • British Psychological Society – Chartered Psychologist
  • Member, American Psychological Association
  • Associate member, Australian Psychological Society
  • Clinical member, Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia (PACFA)
  • Clinical member, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • Australian Association of Family Therapy
  • Queensland College of Teachers
  • Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (International) (SEPI)
  • Insight Counselling/Big Lottery (Scotland) for ‘The therapeutic benefits of the development of hope and reflective thought capacity in people bereaved by suicide’ (2012)
  • Christian Heritage College Research Committee grant for 'The differentiation of self and the capacity to tolerate interpersonal difference and societal expectations' (2010 and 2007)
Key Research Publications

O’Hara, D 2017, 'Depression', in T Hanley, L Winter & C Feltham (eds) Sage Handbook of Counselling & Psychotherapy, 4th ed, Sage Publications, London.

Meteyard, J & O’Hara, D 2016, 'Community counselling: direction and focus', in C Pratt (ed) The diversity of university-community engagement: An international perspective (pp. 83-94), Asia Pacific University-Community Engagement Network, Penang, Malaysia.

Hanley, T., Steffen, E., & O’Hara, D. J. (2016). Chapter 32: Research: from consumer to producer. In Barbara Douglas, Ray Woolfe, Sheelagh Strawbridge, Elaine Kasket and Victoria Galbraith (Eds.). Handbook of counselling psychology. London: Sage Publications.

O’Hara, D 2015, 'Editorial: An international perspective of counselling psychology', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.30(2), 2-4.

Meteyard, J & O’Hara, D 2015, 'Counselling psychology in Australia', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.30(2), 20-31.

O’Hara, D 2014, 'The question of the self', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.29(2), 67-69.

O’Hara, D 2014, 'Three spheres of hope: Generalised, particularised, and transformative', in L Ortiz and D O’Hara (eds) Phoenix rising from the contemporary global society (pp. 3-14) Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press.

Ortiz, L & O’Hara, D (eds) 2014, Phoenix rising from contemporary global society, Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press.

O’Hara, D 2013, Hope in counselling and psychotherapy, Sage, London.

O'Hara, D, Meteyard, J, & Andersen, K, O'Hara, E 2013, 'Therapist characteristics of self-differentiation and epistemic style and their relationship with therapist dispositional hope', Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology, Autumn, 33-39.

O’Hara, D 2013, 'Review of the people bereaved by suicide project', Insight Counselling, University of Abertay, Tayside.

O’Hara, D & O’Hara, E 2012, 'Towards a grounded theory of therapist hope', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.27(4), 42-54.

O’Hara, D 2012, 'Editorial: Common factors of therapeutic change in counselling psychology', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.27(4), 3-6.

O’Hara, D 2012, 'Reconciling technical and practical knowledge in psychotherapy through Polanyi’s tacit knowing', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.27(1), 64-72.

Hanley, T, O’Hara, D & Steffen, E 2012, 'Editorial: Considering collaboration and ‘crodswoggle’', Counselling Psychology Review, vol.27(1), 3-7.

O’Hara, D 2011, 'Coaching philosophy, eclecticism and positivism: A commentary', Annual Review of High Performance Coaching & Consulting 2011. Multi-Science Publication, 53-57.

O’Hara, D 2011, 'Psychotherapy and the dialectics of hope and despair', Counselling Psychology Quarterly, vol.24(4), 323-329.

O’Hara, D & Meteyard, J 2011, 'The differentiation of self and the capacity to tolerate interpersonal difference and societal expectations: An exploratory study', Asia Pacific Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, vol.2(2), 1-12.

O’Hara, D 2000, In search of hope, Drynie Enterprises Brisbane.

Contact Professor Denis O'Hara via email