Dr Noreen Giffney


School of Communication and Media

Belfast campus

Room BC-06-123,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Centre for Media Research


Dr Noreen Giffney


Life Before Ulster

Dr Noreen Giffney BA Hons, PhD, MSc, Clin Dip, MIFPP, MICP, MNIIHR, MCPJA, MUKCP is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a 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.

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


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

Noreen specialises in teaching psychoanalytic and psychosocial theories with the use of cultural objects (film, art, literature, music) as case studies. She formulated and developed the “Cultural Encounters 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 Method provides opportunities to work towards integrating theoretical knowledge with capacities and skills required for clinical practice.

Noreen welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in undertaking theoretical and/or clinical research in one of the following fields: psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies, critical theory, visual culture.

Noreen is an External Examiner at Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Essex.


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 clinical practitioners inside and outside the consulting room. She is the author of the book, “The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis: Cultural Experiences and the Clinic” (Routledge 2021).

Noreen is also interested in the impact of psychosocial factors on the unconscious dynamics – transference and countertransference – underpinning the analytic relationship. She is the co-editor of “Clinical Encounters in Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory” (2017).

She has published many peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, co-edited a further five books on feminist and queer theories of gender and sexuality, and held editing positions with international publishers: 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 +” (2013- ), an international, interdisciplinary initiative that brings together clinical, academic and artistic approaches to, and applications of, psychoanalysis. Large public events have taken place in the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, Science Gallery Dublin, Filmbase, IMMA – The Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the Freud Museum in London.

Noreen has been a member of a number of clinical committees, including the Education Sub-Committee, the Trauma Working Group, and (as Chair) the Accreditation Review Working Group in the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

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 sexuality and gender to Ireland.

Further information about Noreen’s work