Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Professor Cherie Armour is the Associate Dean for Research & Impact in Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University and the Director of Ulster Universities Institute of Mental Health Sciences. Professor Armour has a strong research portfolio in the field of mental health sciences and to date has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications in world leading Psychology and Psychiatry journals. Most of these publications focus on a sub-field of Psychology termed Psychotraumatology which assesses key pre-, peri-, and post- trauma factors related to mental health outcomes. Professor Armour is also particularly interested in the classification of psychiatric diagnoses in psychiatric diagnostic manuals such as the ICD and the DSM. In addition to this, Professor Armour applies advanced statistical methodologies to answer a wide range of research hypotheses; recently Cherie has been exploring the use of network analyses. Other research interests include the impact of trauma on specific populations such as maltreated children, victims of interpersonal violence, and special occupational groups with increased risk of traumatic exposures. Professor Armour has been involved in the acquisition of over £5.7 million pounds in research funding from prestigious sources such as research councils, Ministry of Defence, and the European Commission. A large programme level grant currently underway is the Northern Ireland Veterans Health and Well-being study (NIVHWS) on which Cherie is the principal investigator.  Professor Armour regularly supervises postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in the field of Psychotraumatology and mental health sciences.

Anssi Leikola, Carita Kilpinen and Mai Peltoniemi, Finland. The Peaceful Impact Movement: Creating Sustainable Psychiatry

In order to create sustainable psychiatry, we first need to understand emotional trauma and structural dissociation and how they affect human life.

Anssi Leikola, Psychiatrist, therapist, author and trauma survivor. Anssi Leikola is a psychiatrist devoted to the treatment of emotional trauma, i.e. various dissociative disorders. For a long time, he has also been striving to find theoretical understanding of trauma, or the logic behind dissociative disorders. How can they be understood effectively and treated in a holistic way? How to provide sufficiently individualized treatment? Learning to apply the theory of trauma into practice will be a lifelong journey for anyone, especially for all of those working with traumatized individuals. Anssi possesses long experience of working with dissociative patients, both as a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. In recent years, he has also been training advanced-level psychotherapists and leading supervisory groups. Anssi has written a lot about the subject, including the preface and epilogue of the English book Five Survivors, a Hundred Lives – Stories about Trauma and Dissociation. Anssi is also featuring in the short Documentary about Trauma and Dissociation. ”By spotlighting the problem concerning the theoretical foundations of psychiatry, I am providing people with tenable hope – hope of better treatment, better psychotherapy, better realization of human rights, better life. Reclaiming these promises is the mission of sustainable psychiatry.”

Carita Kilpinen, Entrepeneur, graphic designer & trauma survivor. Carita is a mother of two and CEO of Peaceful Impact Publisher Oy. She considers herself fortunate in many respects, most importantly due to her personal path of treatment and recovery from a trauma induced dissociative disorder but also having to encounter a less unfortunate case in her closest circle. Carita got into proper trauma psychotherapy at the verge of adulthood, her treatment was not centered on pharmacotherapy and diagnosis. Later, as the question of diagnosis emerged, being diagnosed with DID was serving her rehabilitation. Carita is one of the authors in the English book Five Survivors, a Hundred Lives – Stories about Trauma and Dissociation. Carita is also featuring in the short Documentary about Trauma and Dissociation.


Mai Peltoniemi, Master of Social Services, community coach, experiential researcher, trainer, neuropsychiatric coach. Mai is a social work professional, a brave fighter of taboos and stigma, and a highly skilled, inspiring trainer. Combining expertise and experiential knowledge, Mai is reviewing the conventional roles and relationships within the field of healthcare and social work in a refreshing way. Insight and expertise in addictions and trauma are of great advantage in almost all social and healthcare services. For effective treatment and successful recovery, it is essential to recognize traumatization as well as have profound understanding of the effects of traumatization and the logic of structural dissociation of the personality. Understanding and appropriate information allow quality professional-client encounters, resulting in successful outcomes and work satisfaction. Mai has been developing a model of therapeutic community for addictions, improving the effectiveness of treatment and producing success stories in drug addiction recovery. Successful outcomes with the challenging client group are linked to the understanding and treatment of early traumatization as an underlying factor in drug addiction. Safe and equal professional-client encounters provide restitutive experiences that are essential for successful drug rehabilitation. Mai’s theoretical specialization involves the methodology of critical social work. Her personal studies combine expertise and experiential knowledge, drug addiction and emotional trauma, and social work and psychotherapy.