Published:

For over twenty years, she has specialized in clinical work with survivors of sexual abuse.

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Clinical Psychologist and Author

Favorite Professor: George Stricker

Favorite Supervisors: Bob Mendelsohn, Marty Fisher

Why she became a psychologist: “Something was always missing in my previous career as a businesswoman. I used to read every page ofNewsweek except the business section! At some point, I realized that Psychology had always been in the background and it became my passion. Although I became a professor and an author, I knew from the beginning that I most wanted to be a clinician.”

Advice to Derner students: “Don’t always read professional materials. Read plays and books; watch movies, go to the theater. Often, you find metaphors that work best for your patients in everyday life.”

Clinician, Author, Advocate

Dr. Frawley-O’Dea was drawn to trauma psychology in the mid-1980s when that field was in its infancy. For twenty years, she has specialized in clinical work with survivors of sexual abuse. Her first book, Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Psychoanalytic Perspective, co-authored in 1994, has become a classic text.

In 2002, Dr. Frawley-O’Dea was the only psychologist invited to address the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as they crafted a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. Her conference comments were broadcast on C-SPAN television, and she was soon inundated with letters, emails, and phone calls from survivors around the country who felt for the first time that someone could understand their experiences. 

Two 2007 books emerged from Dr. Frawley-O’Dea’s involvement in the Catholic abuse scandal: Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church and a co-edited volume, Predatory Priests, Silenced Victims: The Sexual Abuse Crisis and the Catholic Church.  Perversion of Power was excerpted in The Boston Globe Magazine and was recommended as a “fair, broad, well-supported and passionate work” by the American Psychological Association Review of Books. She also appeared as herself in the 2006 Oscar-nominated documentary film, Deliver Us From Evil, which relates the story of one abusive priest and his victims.

Dr. Frawley-O’Dea’s response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church led her to assume a more public role as victim’s advocate. She has been quoted in newspapers across the country commenting on sexual abuse of young people, holds advisory roles on a number of boards of organizations committed to the protection of children, is a member of the practice committee of APA’s new Division of Trauma Psychology, has served as an expert witness for plaintiffs in litigation with the Church, and testified before the Alaska State Senate Judiciary Committee in support of legislation removing the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse. 

In addition to her activity in the trauma field, Dr. Frawley-O’Dea was an adjunct faculty member in the Derner doctoral program for 10 years. She also taught in the Derner post-doctoral program before moving to Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis where she was co-director and executive director of their Trauma Treatment Program. During her own post-doc years, she developed an interest in the supervisory relationship, which resulted in the 2001 co-authored book, The Supervisory Relationship: A Contemporary Psychodynamic Approach

Today, Dr. Frawley-ODea maintains a private practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is also faculty and supervisor at the North Carolina Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training.  She lives with her husband, their two daughters, two Portuguese Water Dogs, and two Bombay cats.

When she’s not busy with her work, Dr. Frawley-O’Dea enjoys gardening, especially since North Carolina weather affords her two planting seasons, cooking, and her monthly book club meetings. She especially loves history conveyed in both fiction and non-fiction.


For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e – twilson@adelphi.edu

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