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Posted on 5 March 2024

Dr Lisa Olgivie’s journey to achieving her PhD

Nearly three years ago, Lisa Ogilvie embarked on her PhD in psychology… and now she’s officially completed her studies, we can finally call her Dr Lisa!

Proudly graduating from The University of Bolton, Lisa specialised her PhD in the use of positive psychology in addiction recovery. During her studies, she created her own model of positive addiction recovery, which she’s now using to help more people during recovery.

Discussing her achievement, Dr Ogilvie said: “A PhD is something I didn’t think I was capable of. I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved. My PhD allows me to look at the theory behind addiction and see where it can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Lisa’s positive recovery approach focuses on identifying people’s unique character strengths and qualities. So far, nearly 100 of Acorn’s service users have already benefited from Lisa’s work. Many of them have left with a real desire to enjoy their recovery, empowered by the positivity, strength and confidence they gained during their time at Acorn.

“We identify people’s internal and see how they can build a plan which will work for them. We build what’s strong instead of fixing what’s wrong”, continued Lisa.

Building what’s strong instead of fixing what’s wrong

Lisa, who also has an MSc in Counselling and Positive Psychology and is a qualified Chartered Psychologist, wants to use her new positive approach to help reduce the stigma surrounding recovery and reduce the rates of relapse.

According to UK Rehab, it’s estimated that 40-60% of people struggling with substance use disorders will relapse at some point in their recovery process – reducing these rates is a big motivation for Lisa as she continues her amazing work at Acorn.

She said: “There’s a gap in addiction treatment and recovery. It’s still heavily stigmatised and rates of relapse is still very high. We want people to be in recovery because they want to be, not because we have to be.

“Working with people’s unique strengths and making them proud enables people want to maintain their recovery and realise what life has to offer.”

Helping other through lived experience

Having had problems with alcohol herself for many years, Lisa now lives in recovery. She uses her lived experience to support and empower people, channeling her own past to offer empathy and understanding.

She continued: “My own recovery is a huge motivation. Having lived experience is so important, it’s helped me to develop understanding and empathy and helps people feel secure in talking to someone who understands.

“I’m fortunate to work with people who I really benefit. Acorn is a wonderful place to work, and we’re focused on each individual. We see the person, not the addiction.”

Lisa also writes a series of short recovery stories, which are published in professional journals. These stories not only help professionals understand more about positive recovery, but they also empower those seeking help or currently in addiction recovery.

“It’s a remarkable achievement to seek recovery – that’s why we need to get rid of the stigma, so more people seek the help they need.”

Congratulations Lisa, and thanks for all of your amazing work! You can learn more about the recovery services provided by Acorn Recovery Projects here.

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