Paula Shields

Paula Shields, Exceptional Recognition

Paul Shields has led a fascinating career in the rehab industry. Through her years of employment in the industry, Shields has worked as a counselor, clinical manager, and currently, as the Head of Therapeutic services for the Abbeycare Foundation. In May 2021, Shields was appointed to the position of Head of Therapeutic Services for the organization, a role that has come from years of experience.


She began her career in substance abuse and mental healthcare due to an interest in women’s health. Shield’s desire to work with women initially stemmed from having lived with addiction and trauma. Her addiction issues and personal trauma was a powerful driver for change. Once she recognized that recovery was a possibility, Shields accepted it with open arms. She educated and empowered herself to work with women and enable them to recover from addiction and trauma as well.


Shields started her career in addiction treatment in 2001. She initially worked in an HIV support center as an Auricular Acupuncturist in Ireland. Her career journey moved on to the role of Support Services Coordinator. Shields’ experience enabled her to work with a variety of clients including those suffering from HIV to people living homeless due to their mental health and/or addictions. Shields later returned to education to gain a Teaching and Management of Literacy and Essential Skills qualification and Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) qualification to work with those people to help them further their abilities to read and write.


In 2009, Shields joined Youth at Risk, a charity in the United Kingdom, as a Trainer and Enrolment Manager. She provided intensive personal development classes to young adults at risk along with educators.


Her career continued to advance until 2017 when Shields was offered a position with Thailand’s the Cabin Group. There, she was the Program Director and helped design and implement the organization’s gender-responsive, trauma-informed treatment program, known as Rise. The 10-week program became one of the cornerstones of Cabin Group’s recovery treatment. Rise is a gender-responsive addiction treatment model that integrates DBT skills modules, therapeutic process groups, art therapy, mindfulness, Yoga, TRE, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing Therapy.


Paula Shields counseled clients while working as the rehab’s Program Director. Working at the Cabin Group, Shields’ mission was to empower people to seek recovery and live in possibility. It was a mission she took very seriously and thousands of clients experienced recovery with her help.


At the end of 2020, Paula Shields left the Cabin Group after more than three years of working with the rehab. She joined Scotland’s Abbeycare Foundation. Initially as a therapeutic lead, Shields moved into the role of Head of Therapeutic Services a short time later.


Located in Scotland, Abbeycare Foundation offers accommodation for clients with 34 large individual rooms and en suite facilities. The drug and alcohol rehab provides clients with treatment to end their dependency on substances.


Shields’ work at Abbeycare Foundation has continued her long journey in the substance abuse and mental health sector. She continues to grow within her roles while helping others get the treatment they need to recover and live a fulfilling life.

Paula Shields

Paula Shields in the Press

South China Morning Post


John Derry Serenity Vista