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Dr Olivia Hurley, IADT

Dr Olivia Hurley, IADT


Dr Olivia Hurley, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Sport Psychology, IADT

Dr Olivia A. Hurley is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Sport Psychology at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT, Dun Laoghaire). She is also a guest lecturer in UCD and RCSI. Olivia holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MSc and a PhD in Sport Psychology from University College Dublin (UCD). She is a Chartered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI Council member; 2019 to present). She is also one of Sport Ireland’s Approved Sport Psychology Consultants. In that applied role, Olivia works with top athletes and performers to help them to enhance their performances, while prioritising their wellbeing in those endeavours also. Olivia has published numerous academic papers, book chapters and blogs, as well as speaking at many national and international conferences. She is also a frequent guest on various media outlets and podcasts. Her first solo book, ‘Sport Cyberpsychology’, was published by Routledge (March 2018). A former international sprinter and a holder of one of the longest standing juvenile Irish sprint records (60m indoor sprint event), Olivia is passionate about all things sport and psychology related.  

"The past year has been one filled with great challenges and uncertainty. On the 16th March 2020, at the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I received the devastating news that my fabulous mentor and ‘Academic Dad’, Professor (‘Prof’) Aidan Moran had passed away. At the same time, we entered the pandemic. I, very actively, aimed to take all of the advice I frequently impart to the students and athletes I work with in my roles as a sport psychology academic and applied consultant. With no one allowed to even touch me for more than 12 weeks, I entered ‘survival mode’, establishing a very structured daily routine of: (i) work (researching, writing and teaching), (ii) exercise (indoors and outdoors -> lots of walks around my local area) and (iii) social contact (via my various social media platforms, WhatsApp, email and phone). I set targets for myself (SMART ones: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-phased). That is how my ‘Brave Action’ project was born. It consists of: (i) my new e-book, just published, which contains my sport psychology knowledge, plus the advice I impart to the athletes and performers I work and (ii) my You-Tube channel, consisting of video recordings with lots of my elite sport friends telling their real-life ‘Brave Action’ stories. I hope they inspire people during this very difficult time to set their own targets for 2020/2021 and beyond. A paper I wrote on sport cyberpsychology ‘in action’ throughout the pandemic was also published last month in the open-access, peer-reviewed, high-impact online journal, Frontiers in Psychology.

"Focusing on these work targets really helped me to cope with the lockdowns and to honour Aidan’s memory. My family and friends have been wonderful supports throughout the past year. I am a talker and they have all been there for me to reach out to any time for a chat. We are social, moving beings. As a psychologist, I’m very aware of this so some form of social contact, and exercise, has been an important part of every day for me to help me maintain my well-being during the pandemic. Rest and recovery is also important. I signed up to Netflix soon after the first lockdown started. Having movies and TV shows to become absorbed in has helped me to ‘switch-off’. When elite sport returned too, that was fantastic. To be able to support the athletes via TV, even if we cannot do so in person is great.

"I know I’m incredibly lucky to have parents, siblings and friends, like ‘Prof’, who have helped to instill in me a sense of self-belief and self-strength so that I could navigate this difficult time. I hope my ‘Brave Action’ project will do that for other people too. I aim to keep ‘marching to the rhythm of my life’ by ACTing – Accepting the things I cannot control, Controlling the things that I can and continually Training (reminding) myself to know the difference!"

#IWDResilience #ChooseToChallenge


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