Faculty Directory

Thomas O'Hare

Associate Professor


As a social worker since 1980, Thomas O'Hare, PhD, has worked as a clinician for 15 years, as a quality assurance evaluator in community mental health for three years, and as a social work instructor and research scholar for over 25 years. As a clinician, Dr. O'Hare worked with adults, children, adolescents, and their families covering an array of mental health concerns. As an instructor he has developed and taught courses on clinical practice, research and evaluation methods, and substance abuse with MSW students, and behavioral science theory with PhD students, many of whom he has successfully mentored through completion of their doctoral degrees.

Dr. O’Hare’s research interests have included substance abuse and mental health concerns in young people. However, during the past ten years he has focused on co-occurring substance use, trauma, and posttraumatic stress symptoms in people with severe mental illness. Given his commitment to integrating research and practice, most of these studies (both funded and unfunded) have been conducted collaboratively with other mental health professionals as part of routine care within the community mental health system. As Dr. O’Hare is equally committed to applying what is currently known about effective practice, he has also authored two well-reviewed texts: Evidence-based practices for social workers: an interdisciplinary approach, and Essential skills of social work practice: assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Lastly, having recently completed a Fulbright-Nehru Grant and qualitative study in Kerala, India, Dr. O’Hare’s interests have expanded to include the way mental health services are delivered in other cultures.

Selected Publications

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2017). Subjective distress from trauma in older clients with severe mental illness. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 27.

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2017). Trauma and Health Risk Behaviors in People with Severe Mental Illness. Social Work in Mental Health, 15.

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2017) Correlates of practitioners’ risk assessments of self-harm in people with severe mental illness. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal,13, 1-10.

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2017). Post-traumatic stress and trauma-related subjective distress: Comparisons among Hispanics, African-Americans, and whites with severe mental illness. Community Mental Health Journal, 53(7), 778-781.

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2018). Lifetime trauma and suicide attempts in older clients with severe mental illness. Social Work in Mental Health, 16, 505–517.

O’Hare, T., Shen, C., & Sherrer, M. (2019) Physical and sexual abuse and self-harming behaviors in women with major mood disorders. Best Practices in Mental Health, 15, 32-40. Single-authored texts

O’Hare, T. (2020) Essential Skills of Social Work Practice: Assessment, Intervention, and Evaluation, Third Edition. Oxford University Press.

O’Hare, T. (2021) Evidence-based Practices for Social Workers: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Third Edition. Oxford University Press.

Selected Grants

Principal Investigator: Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals, State of Rhode Island: Treating co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. 2001-2004; $330,000.

Selected Awards

Fulbright-Nehru Scholar: teaching and research at Rajagiri College School of Social Work, Kerala, India. January to April, 2013.

professional activities

Research and evaluation consultant in community mental health.

clinical practice experience

Out patient clinician in community mental health and private practice.