ABOUT Athena, The Academy for Mental Health and Well-Being

Athena was founded in 2018 by Cindy O'Connor, Marguerite Kiely and Noeleen Devlin.

The three directors of Athena Training Workshops

Cindy, Marguerite and Noeleen have worked together for more than a decade as three very experienced accredited counsellors, psychotherapists, supervisors and trainers. They have worked at the coalface of self-harm, suicide and bereavement by suicide and were responsible for the clinical services of Pieta House (Centre for Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm) since its inception. These three women decided that they wanted to bring their skill set to a much wider audience both nationally and internationally.

                                             OUR LOGO

Athena is known as the Goddess of Wisdom. The Owl was her traditional companion and the Olive Tree is synonymous with compassion and generosity and is in keeping with the style and ethos of how these women deliver their services.

                                                  Logo of Athena Academy for Mental Health - the Owl and Olive Branch      


 Cindy O'Connor Director of Athena Academy

Cindy O'Connor   Director

MA Supervisory Practice

BA Counselling & Psychotherapy. 

IACP Accredited

Cindy O'Connor has a BA in Counselling & Psychotherapy and an MA in Supervisory Practice. She is currently in her final year Doctoral candidate in DCU and is researching "Therapists Experiences of Witnessing the Physical Manifestations of Self-Injury". 

Cindy has worked as Chief Clinical Officer with Pieta House for the past 13 years and has been instrumental in developing the Clinical side of the service. Cindy was the first employee of Pieta and co-authored the Pieta House Suicide Intervention Model that is used by all Pieta House therapists. She also devised and delivered bespoke training workshops in the area of suicide, self-harm and mental health and has been a guest lecturer in DIT, UCD  and Trinity Colleges.
She created a bespoke training workshop on positive mental health and self-care and presented this workshop to the staff of the Oireachtas in the Government Buildings Mental Health Forum. Cindy oversaw the running of 15 Pieta House Centres in Ireland and grew the Clinical side of the organisation whilst earning Pieta a reputation of clinical excellence. She also held responsibility for Pieta's 24/7 phone line and oversaw all clinical services provided for people bereaved as a result of suicide.
Cindy has presented at Conferences in Ireland and abroad and has appeared on both TV and Radio discussing Suicide/ Self-Harm and Mental Health issues.
She has also worked with Barnardos and has a background in Welfare Rights.

Cindy also trained as a Relationship Counsellor and worked for 2 years with Accord, the Marriage and Relationship Service.


 Marguerite Kiely Director of Athena Academy

Marguerite Kiely   Director

MSc Child & Adolescent Therapy

BSc Psychotherapy     

Dip. Clinical Supervision.   Dip. Play Therapy

IHIP Accredited

Marguerite Kiely holds a MSc in Child and Adolescents Psychotherapy and was Clinical Director and Head of Child and Adolescents in Pieta House, The Centre for Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm, for the past 13 years. 

Being Head of the Child and Adolescent Department, Marguerite had responsibility for the development and implementation of staff training in Child Protection Policies across 15 centres in Ireland as well as training staff regarding risk assessment for suicidal risk. Marguerite was also instrumental in the development of the School Resilience Academy and having conducted research, devised and delivered the programme, and has contributed to the publication of Scientific Contribution Research Papers.
Marguerite has presented at conferences in Ireland, the UK and the USA. She has appeared on  TV Radio and Newspapers discussing mental health and self-harm issues and is a strong advocate on Youth Mental Health. She has delivered workshops to both Corporate, Health and Mental Health Sectors, addressing Workplace Burnout and the importance of Employee Self-Care. Marguerite has also presented to parents and teachers in schools at both Primary and Secondary level nationally, providing guidance and support concerning Child and Adolescent issues and also to College Students.

Read Athena's Child Safeguarding Statement here ...

Marguerite is also an author having penned the book 'Aaron's Legacy' charting the considerable emotional, physical and mental strain when a loved one was seriously ill in hospital, away from home, and how comfort and refuge was afforded her through the availability of accommodation at An Bru Columbanus Hostel, Cork.


 Noeleen Devlin Athena Director

Noeleen Devlin   Director

MSc Child & Adolescent Therapy

BSc Counselling & Psychotherapy

Dip. Supervision.   HDip. Suicide Studies.    Dip. ABA

IACP Accredited

Noeleen Devlin holds a BSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a MSc in Child and Adolescents Psychotherapy. She has also worked extensively with private clients in therapist and supervisory roles since 2007.
Noeleen worked as a Clinical Director with Pieta House, the Centre for Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm for 10 years and held responsibility for the recruitment and training of clinical support staff as well as therapists in the Pieta House model, across five centres in Ireland. She also provided mentoring and training to managers and was involved in Conflict Resolution.
Noeleen contributed to the development of the Pieta House Model, used by therapists to work therapeutically with clients in crisis. She also provided training with external agencies in the area of mental health and training in assessing suicidal risk.

Noeleen has extensive experience of working with High Functioning Aspergers clients.



JAmes Byrne Counsellor

James Byrne   Counsellor Psychotherapist



James is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist working toward accreditation with IACP. James’ educational background is in nursing, addiction and homeless services. He has been working with various NGO’s and state agencies since 2011 and is currently completing further studies in adolescent psychotherapy.

James provides specialist and affirming counselling services to members of the transgender and gender expansive communities and is a member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). James also provides support and counselling for family members and loved ones of those who are on their gender journey.

James also has in depth experience working with adults and adolescents who have ADHD. In supporting clients, James spends time working on coping strategies and skills improvement and adopts the ‘Don’t try harder, try different’ approach, he also provides ongoing support for parents and loved ones.


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