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A portrait of Nicola McCarthy, a TIGALA Guardian ad Litem.

Nicola McCarthy

Guardian ad Litem


Nicola has 20 years’ experience of working in the area of child protection and welfare. Nicola has worked in a number of areas in this field including residential care, as a child and family worker in a community based family centre and as a social worker and social work team leader in the area of child protection social work.

Nicola has extensive experience of completing child centred need and risk assessments, parenting capacity assessments and experience of providing comprehensive assessment reports to assist Court decision making. Nicola also has experience of providing individual and group therapeutic support to children and families. Nicola adopts an attachment and trauma informed, child focussed approach to her work.


2016–2017 | Masters of Science in Attachment Studies, University of Roehampton, London

2005–2007 | Masters of Social Work, National University of Ireland Cork, College Road, Cork

1997–2000 | Bachelor of Social Science

Further Education and Training

2020 | Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Practicum commenced

2019 | Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Level 2

2018 | Just Right State Programme and Sensory Processing Trauma and Attachment Training (Level 1) with Eadaoin Breathnach (EBSAI)

2018 | Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Level 1

2018 | Marschak Interaction Method – Dyadic Emotional Interaction Scale

2017 | Adult Attachment Interview – Attachment Assessment

2017 | Meaning of the Child Parent Development Interview

2017 | Child Attachment and Play Assessment

2016 | CARE-Index Parenting Assessment

2010 | Parents Plus Programme Facilitator Training

2010 | ‘Seasons for Change’ therapeutic group work programme facilitator training

Employment History

2016–Present | Guardian ad Litem, Tigala. Skills and experience: Court appointed voice of the child in Court proceedings. Understanding the wishes and feelings of the child and assessing the best interests of the child. Completion of child focussed, comprehensive assessments to assist Court decision making.

2014–2016 | Social Worker, Children in Care Team, Dublin North City

2013–2014 | Acting Social Work Team Leader, Children in Care Team, Dublin North city

2010–2013 | Social Worker, Children in Care Team, Dublin North city

2009–2010 | Child and Family Worker, Rialto Family Centre, Rialto, Dublin 8

2008–2009 | Social Worker, Child and Family Services, Dublin North City, Ballymun

2006–2008 | Relief Social Care Worker, Shearrad House, Upper Sherrard St. Dublin 1

2003–2005 | Social Care Leader, Sherrard House, Upper Sherrard St. Dublin 1

2000–2003 | Social Care Worker, Sherrard House, Upper Sherrard St. Dublin 1

Voluntary Work

2007–2008 | Volunteer with the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation Vietnam

2004–Present | Camp Leader, St. Vincent de Paul, Residential Summer Camp for children aged 7-12years.

Nicola has completed studies in the area of attachment receiving a Master’s of Science in Attachment Studies in 2017. This course has deepened her understanding of the importance of attachment relationships and the impact of trauma on brain development and relationships. Nicola has been trained to administer a number of attachment procedures and uses this knowledge to inform all her assessments.

Stemming from her interest in the area of attachment Nicola has trained in Sensory Processing, Trauma and Attachment (level 1) and the Just Right State Programme with Eadaoin Breathnach in 2018. In 2018 and 2019 she completed level 1 and 2 respectively in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and is currently undertaking the practicum training in this intervention to become a fully accredited DDP therapist. The knowledge gained from these therapeutic interventions has enhanced Nicola’s ability to engage and understand children and families in distress to undertake supportive and comprehensive assessments.

Nicola McCarthy

Guardian ad Litem

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