About Maureen

Maureen Gaffney is a psychologist, author, consultant and broadcaster.

Born in Midleton, Co. Cork, the daughter of a bus driver and a homemaker, Maureen was educated in St. Mary’s High School. The first in her family to attend university, she obtained a honours Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UCC. She went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Behavioural Sciences at the University of Chicago was awarded a Ph.D. by Trinity College in 2000 on the basis of her research on mother-child attachment in infancy and adolescence. 

An expert in the area of positive psychology, she has a longstanding interest in the relationship between individual psychology and public policy. She has written and spoken extensively on current affairs and social justice. She was active in supporting the introduction of divorce in Ireland in the 1986 referendum,  worked on expanding the legal definition of rape through her work with the Law Reform Commission (1987), and supported the Marriage Equality Act (2015).

As Chair of The National Economic and Social Forum (2005-2010), she oversaw research in such diverse areas as mental health in the workplace, child literacy and social inclusion, early childhood care, and community participation in local governance. She also chaired the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development Programme (RAPID), working to improve disadvantaged communities throughout Ireland. 

Maureen has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin, and Chair of the Board of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland. She served on the board of the Health Service Executive  and on the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute. She was appointed for two terms as a Law Reform Commissioner.

Maureen has brought the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with organisations including Intel, Boston Scientific, Microsoft and Google . She is a much sought-after speaker and has  addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain. 

An abiding interest in Women’s Leadership led her to complete Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School, and the Kellogg School of Management.

Maureen has written three best-selling books on psychology: The Way We Live Now (1996), Flourishing (2012) and Your One Wild and Precious Life (2021). She is a regular contributor to national debate on radio, television and in print.


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