Gillian Rhydderch


Research group:
Developmental & health psychology
029 208 75493
Tower Building, Park Place


I am currently seconded to the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, where I am the Academic Director and Programme Co-ordinator of the Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy) Professional Training Programme. I was involved in setting up the DEdPsy Programme and have worked on it since it opened in 2006. I also worked as an educational psychologist in the Swansea Educational Psychology Service from 1990 to 2015.


Before training as an educational psychologist in 1989, I worked as a qualified teacher for nine years within a variety of educational settings, including:

  • four years in a mainstream secondary school;
  • two years in an authority-wide project to encourage girls to study science;
  • two years as a home tutor working with pupils unable to attend school due to illness or exclusion;
  • one year teaching Psychology in a FE college.

For the past twenty one years I have worked as an educational psychologist in a Local Authority Psychology Service. For the majority of that time I have also been seconded on a part-time basis to contribute to the initial professional training of educational psychologists. This work has included:

  • three years as a professional tutor with the Master’s Degree Programme of Professional Training in Educational Psychology at Swansea University;
  • nine years as a professional tutor with the Master’s Degree Programme of Professional Training in Educational Psychology at Cardiff University; and
  • five years as a professional tutor and academic director with the DEdPsy Professional Training Programme at Cardiff University.

As an educational psychologist I am applying psychology, working as a practitioner with pupils in a group of schools; with pre-school children living in the catchment areas of those schools; with the staff in those schools; with the parents and families of the pupils; and with other professionals working with those pupils, families and schools. The work can be with individuals, groups (of pupils or staff), with whole classes or year groups, and with organisations and is based on the promotion of positive change that individuals or groups choose and create themselves. In addition, I have been involved with strategic work for the local authority, for example on a project to promote and highlight teacher research taking place within schools in Swansea and I was also a member of a multi-disciplinary family therapy team working with families in the local area for several years.

Whilst some of my work as a practitioner is in direct response to a specific consultation request, planning with schools has enabled preventative work to be carried out, training teachers and teaching support staff, or preparing Year 6 pupils for the transition from primary to secondary school, for example.

In my work, I draw upon positive psychology; theories of change; therapeutic approaches such as family therapy, narrative therapy, solution-oriented brief therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy; motivational interviewing; choice theory; the psychology of groups and organisations; and social constructionism.

Together with my colleagues, I am developing and using the Constructionist Model of Informed Reasoned Action (COMOIRA). This is a flexible, integrated model that offers a framework for professional practice and informs teaching and supervision on the DEdPsy programme. The model is concerned with change processes and has at its core informed, reasoned action based on psychology. The concepts, theories, structure, functions, processes and practice issues associated with COMOIRA are discussed in a series of publications listed below.

Professional Activities and Interests

  • Member of the national group of directors for programmes of training in educational psychology in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Regular attendance at meetings of the National Association of Principal Educational Psychologists - Wales (NAPEP-W).
  • Contributor to ‘Supervision Development Days’ for fieldwork supervisors and other qualified EPs who engage in the process of supervision within their services.
  • Using COMOIRA to contribute to whole service and team development sessions for educational psychology services in Wales and England.
  • Publicising COMOIRA at local and national level via conference presentations.