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Dr Marion gibson

Dr Marion GibsonIntroduction

Marion Gibson started her career as a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast. Following marriage she worked alongside her husband in community work in Liverpool and Belfast. This included work within traumatised communities during the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. Following the premature death of her husband she trained as a social worker and has worked in both hospital and community settings. As part of her social work training she did a residential placement in a Psychiatric hospital in Indianapolis (USA) that was pioneering work with Vietnam Veterans. This experience enhanced her interest in the psychosocial impact of trauma on people especially in the Northern Ireland context.

Career Path

Trauma has remained central to all her professional work and in 1989 Marion was one of the two social workers sent from Northern Ireland to assist colleagues in the East Midlands area of England following an air disaster. This disaster involved many families from Northern Ireland. Following this experience she was involved in the setting up of Crisis Support Teams in Northern Ireland to respond to the needs of their communities in the aftermath of primarily terrorist attacks and civil disturbance. Marion represented Northern Ireland as a member of the National Disasters Working Party which produced the report 'Disasters - Planning for a Caring Response' (1991).

Through experience of responding to actual events Marion learnt to adapt her original training to meet the new demands of practical work at the scenes of tragedy. Further, after discovering the lack of relevant literature available to her, she was prompted to write a book. The first edition of 'Order from Chaos - Responding to traumatic events' was published by Venture Press in 1991. The third edition was published in January 2006 by The Policy Press. She has also contributed to other books and published several journal articles on trauma related subjects.

Her research, publications, training and continued practical experience has led to the opportunity of lecturing worldwide in such countries as the Philippines, Poland, Estonia, Belarus. Africa, Australia, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, the USA and South America.

In 1992 Marion established the organisation 'Staffcare' (under the auspices of the then South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust in Northern Ireland), to assist organisations with 'their duty to care' for their employees in terms of their psychological well-being. From small beginnings Staffcare developed into an all Ireland service which also undertook project and consultancy work throughout Great Britain.

dunblaneIn 1996 Marion had trained the local authority Crisis Support Team in the Stirling area of Scotland. Following the tragic shooting of 16 Primary School children and their teacher in Dunblane she was asked to undertake research to enable her to write a proposal for inter-agency working between education, local authority and health authorities to support the bereaved and injured. Marion also travelled to Dunblane monthly for a period of two years to support the Local Authority staff who were working with those individuals and families who had been directly affected. She returned to support these staff at the time of the Tenth Anniversary in 2006.

During this period Marion obtained an Advanced Diploma in Psychological Trauma Management form Nottingham University (1996).

In 2000 her Doctorate was completed following extensive research into the impact on the personnel and professional lives of ambulance personnel, social workers, nurses and clergy who responded to those affected in the aftermath of the Kegworth air disaster (1989) and a terrorist bombing in Northern Ireland. This research highlighted the pervasive nature of the psychological stress that can result not only from providing a response to a major disaster but also from repeated exposure to multiple smaller incidents. As a practical result of this replica watches uk research she designed a modular training programme to help organisations and staff to cope with the impact of trauma. This model has been used to inform the design of all the courses which she currently designs and delivers.

Marion was one of the two experts chosen to assist Sir Kenneth Bloomfield in his production of a Report into the efficacy of the NI Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (2002) which involved many interviews with victims of terrorism and made recommendations to Government which resulted in new legislation. As a result of this work she was asked to become one of the members of the Compensation Advice Committee established by the Irish Government following the apology by the Taoiseach to Cheap Mido those who, as children, had suffered abuse while in residential institutions under State supervision. The findings of this Committee lead to the publication of the Report 'Towards Redress and Recovery' (2002) and the establishing of the Redress Board to administer the compensation payments.

At the invitation of the Charity 'Leaves of Hope' Marion went to Belarus in May 2005 to offer training to medical, nursing, social work and psychology Staff involved in dealing with trauma, loss and grief inherent in the care of children with disabilities and the placement of abandoned babies.

On the 7th July 2005 she was providing training in the Headquarters of the London Resilience Team when the attacks by suicide bombers occurred. Theory was quickly changed in to practice as she provided support to the team responsible for the initial response, the establishing of the Support Centre and the Mortuary.

Earlier in 2005 Marion was deployed to Thailand, to work under the auspices of the British Red Cross in collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami (26th December 2004). This work included assisting the repatriation of the injured, support to the bereaved (especially those who were still seeking the bodies of their loved ones) and support to volunteers and Embassy staff. She returned to Thailand, with the newly formed Psychological Support team of the British Red Cross to assist at the time of the replica watches first Anniversary (December 2005) to provide support to those attending the various memorial ceremonies.


As a result of this work and of her pioneering work in the specialist field of psychosocial trauma, her Alma Mater, Queens University of Belfast, honoured her with the 'Graduate of the Year' award in June 2005 for promoting the ideals of the University in service to others within Ireland and beyond .

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Current Work

Marion is an accredited Counsellor but provides counselling only in cases associated with traumatic incidents where she has a wider involvement.

ICISFAwardOver the years Marion 's special interest in psychosocial impact of traumatic incidents has led to further training with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation ( USA ) (ICISF). As a Trained Trainer for the ICISF she has helped to establish Crisis Support Teams in many areas of the United Kingdom and Ireland . These teams are used to provide response in accordance to statutory requirements and new legal requirements on organisations which followed 9/11, e.g. such as the Civil Contingency Act in UK .


Marion provides training to community, voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations in responding effectively to crisis. She is a frequent speaker at multidisciplinary conferences on the impact of trauma on individuals, organisations and communities.

Since 1990 she has travelled with the Crisis Preparedness Team from the International Christian Maritime Association to provide training on a global basis for clergy and lay personnel involved in the care and support of international seafarers who use their centres throughout the world. This work currently involves work on an interactive Training CD which will be translated into five languages.

Marion is now one of the tutors involved in the training of the British Red Cross Psychosocial Support team for their work in collaboration with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in responding to the needs of British citizens who are affected by traumatic incidents anywhere in the world. Marion is also currently an active member of the British Red Cross Psychosocial Support Team and in this way continues to link theory to practice as a means of Preparing, Responding and assisting in the Rebuilding process.

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