Paul Stevenson

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{EngvarB|date=September 2014}} Paul Joseph Stevenson OAM (born 12 September 1955) is an Australian psychologist and a recognised authority within the fields of psychological trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, stress management and psychological recovery from disaster incidents.


Stevenson holds a Certificate in Social Welfare from the Southbank Institute,[1] a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Queensland,[2] a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from the University of Queensland,[3] and a Master of Psychology degree from the University of Queensland.[4]

Professional career – disaster intervention and support[edit]

Stevenson has wide experience in general and trauma counselling and is widely recognised as an international trauma psychologist.[5][6][7][8] His experience includes on-site involvement with the Moura Mine Disaster in 1994, the Port Arthur Massacre (Australia) in 1996, the Thredbo landslide in 1997, the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005, the Marriott bombing (Jakarta) in 2003, the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta, the Indian Ocean tsunami recovery in 2004–05, the Victorian Bushfires in 2009,[9][10][11][12] the 2010-2011 Queensland floods,[13][14] the 2013 Bundaberg floods,[15][16][17] and support for the families of those lost in Malaysia Airlines Flight 370[18]

Professional career – refugee support and advocacy[edit]

Stevenson has worked as a clinical psychologist at the Manus Regional Processing Centre and the Nauru Detention Centre, providing support to both staff and detainees.[19] He maintains that the levels of psychological trauma at these Centres are the worst he has ever seen, and that Australia has an ethical responsibility to ensure these Centres are closed down.[19] As a result of speaking out, Stevenson had his contract to work on Nauru summarily terminated by PsyCare.[20]

Professional views[edit]

Stevenson suggests that the traditional method of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing needs to be used with caution, and suggests that an eclectic and humanitarian approach is necessary for stress and trauma response.[21] Stevenson believes that to some extent psychological trauma may be a natural reaction to extreme circumstances, and we need to de-stigmatize this, as indeed we need to de-stigmatize mental illness.[22]


Stevenson was an Independent Candidate for the Senate (Queensland) in the Australian federal election, 2016. He is a member of the Australian Democrats.[23][dead link][24][dead link][25]

Critical recognition[edit]


  • Stevenson, Paul. 2008. Best Practice for Human Services. Southport: Access Psychology.
  • Stevenson, Paul. 2006. Are We There Yet? A Brief Strategy for Planning and Evaluation for the Human Services. Southport: Access Psychology.
  • Stevenson, Paul. 2006. Postcards from Ground Zero. Burleigh: Zeus Publications.


  1. ^ Kangaroo Point TAFE. 1979. List of Graduates. Kangaroo Point: TAFE.
  2. ^ University of Queensland. 1987. Graduation Handbook. St.Lucia: University of Queensland; see also, accessed 6 May 2010
  3. ^ University of Queensland. 1989. Graduation Handbook. St.Lucia: University of Queensland; see also, accessed 6 May 2010
  4. ^ University of Queensland. 1993. Graduation Handbook. St.Lucia: University of Queensland; see also, accessed 6 May 2010
  5. ^ "Lennon call for ban blasted", by Sue Neales. Hobart Mercury. 23 November 2006. Accessed 15 January 2013.
  6. ^ ABC radio report, accessed 18 December 2012
  7. ^ "No evidence for claim: psychologist", Star Observer, Issue 1125, 25 May 2012. Accessed 10 January 2013.
  8. ^ Interview (within current affairs report), "The Great Pretenders", by Damien Hanson, A Current Affair. Channel 7 TV. 11 March 2013, accessed 14 March 2013.
  9. ^ Queensland Government. Psychosocial Response and Recovery Symposium, accessed 19 April 2010.
  10. ^ a b Australian Honours Listing, accessed 19 April 2010.
  11. ^ "Footage of the aftermath of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre has appeared on YouTube", by Meryl Naidoo and Barian Ward. The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia). 28 July 2011. Accessed 9 January 2013
  12. ^ ABC radio interview on the 10th anniversary of the Bali Bombings, 17 October 2012, accessed 19 October 2012
  13. ^ a b "Selfless work recognized", Southern Star (Brisbane), 5 September 2012, p.12, accessed 5 September 2012
  14. ^ "Stress goes up at flood times", South-West News (Brisbane), 3 October 2012, p.11., accessed 5 October 2012
  15. ^ Radio interview with 4BU on 6 February 2013, accessed 17 February 2013
  16. ^ "Bundy under the pump", by Bill Hoffman, Sunshine Coast Daily, 9 February 2013, accessed 17 February 2013
  17. ^ Interview, "Bundaberg Floods", with Damien Hanson. Today Tonight (TV current affairs programme, Channel Seven). 26 February 2013.
  18. ^ Deutrom, Rian. 2014. "Trauma psychologist says family of Mary and Rod Burrows and Cathy and Bob Lawton 'unified and doing OK'". Brisbane Courier-Mail, 2 April 2014, accessed 4 May 2014.
  19. ^ a b Doherty, Ben; Marr, David (19 June 2016). "The worst I've seen – trauma expert lifts lid on 'atrocity' of Australia's detention regime". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  20. ^ Doherty, Ben (21 June 2016). "Offshore detention whistleblower loses job after condemning 'atrocity' of camps". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  21. ^ Stevenson, Paul. Postcards from Ground Zero. Burleigh: Zeus Publications.
  22. ^ Ibid.
  23. ^,38277,2837
  24. ^…/australian-demo…/37896/
  25. ^ Lester, Sophie. "Candidate keeps bastards honest". 
  26. ^ Councillor Margaret de Wit presents United Nations Awards, 30 August 2012.
  27. ^ "International Acclaim" Style Magazine (Brisbane), September 2012. p.20
  28. ^ "Go-to-Guy when Disaster Strikes", by Heather Grant-Campbell, The Senior, 31 October 2012, accessed 17 November 2012
  29. ^ "United Nations Association of Australia Queensland – Community Award Presentations", United Nations Association of Queensland Newsletter, Vol.8, No.8, October 2012. p2. Accessed 8 May 2013.
  30. ^ Counselling Australia: Australian Counselling Association Journal, accessed 6 May 2010
  31. ^ Australian Association of Psychologists, accessed 6 May 2010
  32. ^ Australian Democrats Queensland Division Newsletter, Vol.5, No.2, October, 2014. p2.

External links[edit]