I am a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and the Medical Lead for the ASD Pathway in Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
I was born in Spain but I have lived my entire professional life in the UK where I combine my work in the NHS with teaching and research in the fields of Cultural Psychiatry and Medical Anthropology, for which I was awarded a PhD in 2015 which came out as a book Sadness, Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul. Transcending the Medicalisation of Sadness in 2017. I trained in Psychiatry at the Royal Free Hospital and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at St Mary’s Hospital in London. I completed an MSc and a PhD in Mental Health at University College London.
I was runner up for the National Autistic Society’s prestigious Autism Professionals Awards 2019 in the category of Outstanding Mental Health Professional.
The impact of my clinical work goes well beyond Surrey, reaching a national and international level, through teaching, interviews and publications. I am a visiting lecturer at University College London and Queen Mary University of London (I was previously Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College London). My passion for communicating the Autism diagnosis in the best possible manner compelled me to write My Autism Book: A Child's Guide to their Autism Spectrum Diagnosis which has sold well over 9,000 copies worldwide, with 29 five-star reviews on Amazon (becoming a best-seller for publisher Jessica Kingsley); this book is established as a valuable resource for parents and professionals to explain ASD to a child with the diagnosis and was recently translated into Indonesian (2018). My new book Me and my PDA: A Guide to Pathological Demand Avoidance for Young People came out in November 2018 to great acclaim from professionals, young people with PDA and their families. For more information and reviews of my books please see the “Books” section.
I have an exciting role at the Royal College of Psychiatrists where I often present and organise conferences, I am a member of the executive committee of the Special Interest Groups of the Royal College of Psychiatrists for Spirituality and Psychiatry, and Transcultural Psychiatry. Besides my NHS and private practice, I also offer consultation and training to schools.
My Autism Book. A Child’s Guide to their Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis
For some time, I had been trying to find a book I needed for my patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which I hadn’t been able to find. I had been looking for a book to help parents to explain their child what their ASD diagnosis meant and to encourage an exploration of the child's strengths and difficulties, a book that was tailor-made for the children with autism.. I had witnessed again and again in my clinical practice that when I diagnosed a child with ASD, parents often felt – understandably - overwhelmed and uncertain about how to communicate the diagnosis to their child and that sometimes these feelings meant that the diagnosis was not communicated well to the child or even not communicated at all (I have many “horror stories” of patients finding out about their diagnosis in horrible way such as by reading “Autism” next to their names in a classroom list left unattended by a teacher).
I had found many good books explaining the diagnosis to their parents, their teachers, their siblings, their classmates,… but I could not find a good book for the children with autism! I asked Jessica Kingsley Publishers to help me to find such book (Jessica Kingsley Publishers is a multi-award-winning Independent Publishers which publishes books in the field of mental health with a special attention to autism). To cut the story short, they offered me a contract to write the book myself!
‘My Autism Book. A Child’s Guide to their Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis’ became a reality in December 2013. It has become a best-seller, selling world-wide, this little book has made me feel incredibly useful as a doctor: I have received cards, testimonies and even presents from grateful readers telling me such wonderful things…. on the line of children saying that the book has helped them to understand themselves, to like themselves; also parents, grandparents, teachers… even a godmother… thanking me for the book and telling me that they were using the book as a platform to explore the very personal characteristics of their child with autism (in the book the child can tick the characteristics that apply to you, defining what autism means for you).
If you want to read more about the importance of talking to your child about their diagnosis see my interview at NHS CHOICES: Interview with Dr Gloria Dura-Vila: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Autism/Pages/talking-to-your-child-about-their-autism.aspx
Available in amazon, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and online bookshops: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Autism-Book-Spectrum-Diagnosis/dp/184905438X/ref=sr_1_2 ie=UTF8&qid=1530017662&sr=8-2&keywords=gloria+dura-vila https://www.jkp.com/uk/my-autism-book-2.html
Me and my PDA: A Guide for Pathological Demand Avoidance for Young People.
Forthcoming in November 2018.
This beautifully illustrated guide helps young people with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) to understand their diagnosis, develop self-awareness and implement their own personalised problem-solving strategies. Written in consultation with young people with PDA and their families, this book recognises the importance of handing control back to the young person, and that there is no one-size-fits-all PDA profile. Readers are encouraged to engage throughout with interactive writing, doodling and checklist exercises to explore their own particular characteristics, strengths and challenges. Me and My PDA is sensitively tailored to the needs and experiences of young people (aged 10+) with PDA. The guide is designed to grow with the reader, and can be used for many years as the young person develops and changes - making it invaluable to PDA-diagnosed individuals and their families.
You can pre-order: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-My-PDA-Pathological-Avoidance/dp/1785924656/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530018325&sr=1-1&keywords=me+and+my+pda https://www.jkp.com/uk/me-and-my-pda-1.html