Profile image of Dr Noreen Giffney

Dr Noreen Giffney


Profile image of Dr Noreen Giffney


Centre for Media Research


Room 17E13 Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB



Life Before Ulster

Dr Noreen Giffney BA Hons, PhD, MSc, Clin Dip, MIFPP, MICP, MNIIHR, MCPJA, MUKCP is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and psychosocial theorist. Before taking up the position of Lecturer in Counselling at Ulster University in 2017, she worked at a number of universities in Ireland and the UK, including University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Limerick, and Birkbeck, University of London.

She has worked in the third-level sector since 1997, specialising in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies and critical theory. Noreen is a founding scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), a member of the Association for Psychosocial Studies (ASP), and a fully-accredited clinical member of the Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations (NIIHR), the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IFPP), the Psychoanalytic Section of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP), the College for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis (CPJA), and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).


Noreen is committed to facilitating students learning from experience through developing their observation, analytical and interpretive skills and their capacity for self-awareness, self-reflectivity and insight.

She specialises in teaching psychoanalytic and psychosocial theories with the use of cultural objects (film, art, literature, music) as case studies. She developed the “Non-Clinical Case Study Method”, which brings together clinical concepts and cultural objects as creative sites for playing with ideas through encounter and experience. In opening up spaces for thinking and feeling, the “Non-Clinical Case Study Method” provides opportunities to work towards integrating theoretical knowledge with capacities and skills required for clinical practice.

Noreen is the External Examiner for the MA Psychoanalytic Studies in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex. Noreen welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in undertaking theoretical and/or clinical research in one of the following fields: psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychosocial studies, visual culture.


Noreen’s research engages with clinical psychoanalysis and the field of psychosocial studies to explore the central importance played by cultural objects in the unconscious lives of patients and psychoanalytic psychotherapists inside and outside the consulting room. She is completing a sole-authored book entitled “The Culture-Breast: Cultural Experiences and the Psychoanalytic Clinic”, which is contracted to be published by Routledge. She is also interested in the impact of psychosocial factors on the unconscious dynamics – transference and countertransference – underpinning the therapeutic relationship.

Her most recent book is Clinical Encounters in Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Practice & Queer Theory (2017, co-ed. Eve Watson). She has co-edited a further five books on feminist and queer theories of gender and sexuality, and has held editing positions: Contributing Editor, Studies in Gender & Sexuality (Routledge); Series Co-Editor, Queer Interventions book series (Ashgate); and Humanities Book Review Editor, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies (Duke University Press).

Civic Roles

Noreen is the Director of “Psychoanalysis +”, an international, interdisciplinary initiative that brings together clinical, academic and artistic approaches to, and applications of, psychoanalysis. Large public events have taken place in, for example, the Freud Museum in London, the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, Science Gallery Dublin, Filmbase, and IMMA – The Irish Museum of Modern Art. She was commissioned by IMMA to develop Unconscious Objects: A Series of Conversations around Art & Psychoanalysis, which she facilitated with Curator Lisa Moran. Noreen is the Co-Director (with Maggie Long and Jolene Mairs Dyer) of “Mental Health & the Arts”, an interdisciplinary, cross-border initiative that convenes public events on psychosocial issues in cultural institutions in partnership with community groups/organisations.

Noreen was the convener (with Michael O’Rourke) of “The(e)ories: Critical Theory & Sexuality Studies” (2002-2013), which brought many of the world’s most eminent theorists on feminism, queer theory, sexuality, gender to Ireland.