Having studied music and Irish at Trinity College Dublin, Tríona completed the MA Music Therapy programme at the Irish World Academy. She then developed a full-time music therapy post at Mayo Mental Health Services, working in the areas of recovery, community mental health and psychiatry of old age. As a mental health practitioner she gained considerable experience from working in a recovery-oriented service, which was then an emerging field in statutory mental health services.
After extensive collaboration with the MA Music Therapy programme as music skills tutor, placement supervisor and guest lecturer, she joined the teaching faculty of the Irish World Academy in 2010. Her research interests focus on the role of music therapy in mental health, particularly in that of mental health recovery. In 2014 she completed her PhD on the topic of service user evaluation of music therapy in mental health. She also holds a Diploma in Psychology from the Open University.