Dr Emma Ronayne
Senior Clinical Psychologist/Clinical Team Lead
Emma is a Senior Clinical Psychologist and the Clinical Team Lead for CHIPPS. Emma trained in the UK and worked 11 years in the National Health Service (NHS) before returning to Cork to set up this new service for children in care. Since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist, Emma has worked in CAMHS as well as a Parent-Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS) before joining a specialist Child in Care (CIC) CAMHS team in Norfolk (UK). During the 2.5 years working in this CIC service, Emma offered therapeutic input to many children and young people in care as well as their carers and residential support workers. Emma also provided regular consultation to social workers in the local Child in Care and Fostering departments.
Senior Occupational Therapist
Banu Balaji is a Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist who has been in practice in Ireland for the last 20 years. She began her career in Adult Mental Health and moved on to Child and Adolescent Mental Health. She has 16 years of experience in the Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams as Senior Occupational Therapist, including a brief period in the CAMHS inpatient unit in Cork.
Banu’s work involved the traditional OT approaches using Sensory Integration, Model of Human Occupation and Neuro-developmental approaches when she realized that these traditional approaches did not meet the needs of some of the families and young people, especially those in care and/or those who had a history developmental trauma. Subsequently Banu trained in the Sensory Attachment Intervention model and also completed Patricia Crittenden’s DMM training and Stephen Porges Polyvagal theory to inform her current practice. She has various certifications such as Sensory Integration, Therapeutic Listening, SOS approach to Feeding, and Circle of Security.
Her practice is trauma-informed and attachment-focused, working towards sensory self-regulation to improve emotional regulation and functional abilities. Her current special interests include infant mental health and the impact of culture, ethnicity and race on mental health.
Dr Alasdair Ross
Alasdair is a Clinical Psychologist who works with CHIPPS as well as the residential and community parental capacity assessment teams within Childhood Matters. He has been based within the service since qualifying through UCC (Cork) two years ago. During his training, Alasdair gained assessment and therapeutic experience with children, adolescents and families in a number of community-based services. He has developed a strong interest in approaches that are relational and that consider the impact of an individual’s early life experiences on social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Child Art Psychotherapist
Laura has qualifications in social work and child art psychotherapy. Laura worked as a social worker with children in care in the UK for 2.5 years. Laura subsequently trained in child art psychotherapy for 4 years whilst working with a CAMHS team for 2 years and with Tusla for 2 years as well as working with adolescents in residential care for 4 years. More recently Laura worked as Deputy Manager of a therapeutic service for children and families in Dublin for 3.5 years, which involved working therapeutically with children in care and children known to Tusla as well as their parents/ carers. Laura has also worked within the field of adoption, offering therapeutic support to adopted people and birth family members. Laura has worked in private practice for several years and lectures on some psychotherapy courses in UCD and The School of Psychotherapy in Dublin.
Dr Eimear Ruane-McAteer
Eimear is an Assistant Psychologist for CHIPPS where she supports clinicians in their therapeutic and assessment work, as well as managing the service evaluation of CHIPPS. Eimear holds a BSc Psychology (2014) and PhD in health research (2018), both awarded by Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Since 2014, Eimear has worked in various Associate Lecturer, Research Assistant, and Postdoctoral Researcher roles in the Open University, QUB, and University College Cork across a number of areas including: psycho-oncology, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and suicide and self-harm (including suicide bereavement). Eimear has co-authored 14 peer-reviewed publications and presented at national and international conferences. Eimear has worked with various charities including Samaritans, Sólás (a special education needs charity in Belfast support children with additional learning needs through Irish), and Cancer Focus NI (lifestyle interventions for people living with and beyond cancer).