Prof. Dermot Hurley

Prof. Dermot Hurley

Associate Professor

Office: W255
Phone: 4331

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry
Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry
Term:  July 1,2022- June 30, 2025


  • University College, Dublin - BA
  • Wilfrid Laurier University - MSW



A three-year interdisciplinary retrospective investigation of 1000 child protection files identifying multiple adversities in children’s lives including intergenerational poverty, parental mental health and addictions, exposure to violence, chronic unemployment, inadequate housing, and income insecurity. This seminal interdisciplinary study led to several important publications in child and family social work journals (2003-2005).


A multi-site project, focusing on how practitioners in the field of child protection avoid burnout and emotional exhaustion. The work included field visits with colleagues in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Dublin, Ireland, where much of the original material was collected. The study highlights the importance of vicarious resilience and how it operates in the lives of children and families facing adversity. Findings from the original studies have been published in journals in Argentina and Canada and further collaboration has resulted in a related study looking at resilience based supervisory practice in child protection in Argentina, Canada, and Ireland (2008-2009).


A clinical research program examining narrative constructions that children employ in the service of adapting to the reality of living with violence. The process involves “internalized other interviewing,” which allows the clinician and child to access the inner voice of the child, in order to distinguish the child’s voice from other more powerful internalized voices that inform and condone violent behavior. This clinical research approach has informed social work clinical practice with trauma victims and is highly compatible with Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy (2012). Links to resilient functioning in children in care was the subject of a half-day conference given by the author (DH) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2019), where he continues to provide consultation to the Department of Social Work.


The author has investigated community mental health teams from an international perspective including ACT teams in Canada as well as community-based teams in Ireland and Argentina (2018). More recently DH has completed a study in Buenos Aires on the effects of deinstitutionalization on people living with serious and persistent mental health problems (2020). Prior to that in May 2019, DH was an invited keynote speaker at a conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on "Resilience and Intergenerational Trauma."


King’s University College has approved funding for a project investigating the link between resilience and mental health, which is an extremely important area in the promotion of wellness and positive mental health. Currently a research project (principal investigator DH) is underway with the University of Malaga and Maynooth University, Dublin, to investigate "Climate Anxiety & Youth: Promoting Resilience & Positive Mental Health in Social Work Practice" (2022).

Selected Publications

Hurley, D., M. Agrest (2019) Argentina: A mental health system caught in transition, International Journal of Mental Health.

Hurley, D. (2019) Resilience and vulnerability in social work education. European Association of Schools of Social Work Conference, Complutense University, Madrid Spain. Published Abstracts

Hurley, D. (2019) Intergenerational trauma and resilience. Conference, Initiative of healing a society for better future generations. Kigali, Rwanda. Keynote address. May 30, 2019

Hurley, D. (2019) Working with families in the aftermath of trauma. Conference, Initiative of healing a society for better future generations. Plenary speaker, Kigali conference, May 31, 2019

Hurley, D. (2019) Building resilience in families. Neuro-Psychiatric conference, Kigali, Rwanda, Guest speaker & panelist, June 2, 2019

Hurley, D. & Taiwo, A. (2018). Critical social work and competency practice: A proposal to bridge theory and practice in the classroom. Social Work Education. The International Journal. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2018.1533544

Hurley, D. & Kirwan, G. (2018) Exploring resilience and mental health in service users and practitioners in Ireland and Canada. European Journal of Social Work, DOI:10.1080/13691457.2018.1530644

Hurley, D. (2018) Resistance and work in adolescent groups.  In Kolodny & Garland (Eds). Group work with children and adolescents. Routledge, New York.

Hurley, D. & O; Reilly, R. (2017) Resilience, mental health and assertive community treatment. Social Work in Mental Health, Taylor & Francis

Hurley, D. (2017) Critical social work and competency practice. European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW), Universite Rene Descartes, Paris, France

Hurley, D., Alvarez, L., Ragno, R. & Gimenez Velo, A (2017) Acerca de la relacion entre resiliencia y salud mental en un dispositivo neuropsiquiatrico del la Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Revista Cientifica. UCES Vol. 21, No 1

Hurley, D., Alvarez, L. & Buckley H (2015) From the Zone of Risk to the Zone of Resilience: Protecting the Resilience of Children & Practitioners in Argentina, Canada & Ireland. International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies, 6 (1): 17-51

Hurley, D., Martin, L. & Hallberg, R. (2013). Resilience in child welfare: A social work perspective. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies. 2, 259-273.

Hurley, D. (2018) Promoting resilience with people experiencing serious and persistent mental ill health.  World Conference on Social Work Education and Social Development (SWSD) Dublin, Ireland. Invited paper

Hurley D. & Kirwan, G. (2018) Exploring resilience and mental health in service users and practitioners in Ireland and Canada. Social Work Education and Social Development (SWSD), Dublin, Ireland

Hurley, D. Protecting the resilience of children and practitioners in different cultural settings. Joint Social Work & Education Research Conference at the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, July, 2016. (Accepted Paper)

Hurley, D.  Re-processing children’s trauma narratives in cases of domestic violence 11th International Conference on Child & Adolescent Psychopathology, Roehampton University, London UK, July, 2016.  Invited Paper, based on Hurley D. (2006) Internalized other interviewing of children exposed to violence. Journal of Systemic Therapies, Vol 25 (2)

Hurley, D. From the Zone of Risk to the Zone of Resilience; Investigating Resilience in Child Protection in Argentina, Canada & Ireland.  XX1st International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect. Invited Paper: Calgary August 28-September 1st.

Hurley, D. Presentation: Family Systems Intervention: Theories and Methods of Practice.  Masters of Education in Counseling, February 2016. Faculty of Education Western University.

Hurley, D. Mediation & Conflict Resolution Skills. Application to Inter-professional Teams. Presentation: Ivey Institute of Business at Western, December, 2016

Hurley, D. Presentation. Resilience and Community Mental Health Teams, Parkwood Institute, Continuing Professional Development Program, September, 2015

Hurley, D. Invited Paper, Resilience, mental health and community treatment. Mental Health Congress, Lille, France, April 2015

Hurley, D., Ferreira, S, Brideau, M, & Pain, C (2013).  Critical Incident Stress Management. In R. Csiernik (Editor) Wellness and Work, Canadian Scholars Press

Hurley, D. From the Zone of Risk to the Zone of Resilience. 4th European Conference for Social Work Research, Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, 2014

Hurley, D. Narrative Internalized Interviewing with Families Exposed to Domestic Violence. Paper accepted for the International Conference for the Advanced Professional Practice of Clinical Social Work. 52 Annual ICAPP Clinical Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, July 2013

Hurley, D. Narrative Internalized Interviewing of Children Exposed to Violence.

X1X International Society of the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect. Istanbul, Turkey September 2012

Hurley, D. (2011) Narrative internalized interviewing of children exposed to domestic violence. In Alvarez & Abelleira (Eds) Historizando una Decada de Produccion en el Campo de las Psicologia Forense. Editorial de la Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales Y Sociales

Hurley,D. Resilience and Mental Health. Presentation for students of Regina Mundi High School, London Ontario, Canada. May 2013

Didham, S, Dromgole, G., Csiernik, R., Karley, M.L. & Hurley D. (2011) Trauma exposure and the social work practicum. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 31: 523-537.

Hurley, D. Resilience among Child Protection Workers in Argentina, Canada and Ireland. University of Dalhousie, Nova Scotia, Canada, Pathways to Resilience Conference, June 10, 2010

Hurley, D. From the Zone of Risk to the Zone of Resilience. Conference “Resilience Why bother? Brighton University, April 6-7, 2011 (invited paper)

Hurley, D. Results of an investigation into resilience and child protection in Argentina, San Isidro Youth Court, Buenos Aires, April, 2011                          

Hurley, D. Resilience and Child Protection Practice in Ireland; Invited Lecture, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 30th, 2010

Hurley, D. Resilience and Child Protection Practice in Ireland; Invited Lecture, School of Social Policy and Social Science & Centre for Children’s Research, Trinity College, Dublin, April 29th, 2010

Hurley, D. Resilience and Child Protection Practice in Ireland; Invited Lecture, National University of Ireland, Galway April 27th, 2010

Hurley, D. Resilience in Mental Health Practitioners. Canadian Conference on Collaborative Mental Health Care. Canadian Psychiatric Association & College of Family Physicians of Canada, Winnipeg, May 15th, 2010. Plenary Speaker

Alvarez, L, & Hurley, D. (2010). Desde la zona de riesgo a la zona de resiliencia. Revista Cientifica de UCES, Vol. X1V, No 2-Primavara Hurley, D. & Alvarez, L. (2010) From the Zone of Risk to the Zone of Resilience; Child Protection Practice in Argentina; publication of the Universidad De Ciencias Empresariales Y Sociales, Buenos Aires, Argentina