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Counselling, psychotherapy and mental health

A significant development in the School of Psychology’s research is in the area of counselling and psychotherapy. As with other areas, the approach here is one of theoretical and methodological innovation that is grounded in the world of practice (all staff working in this area are engaged in practice). There is an exciting range of approaches, including existential, psychodynamic, systemic, mindfulness, and integrative, as well as a broad-based research expertise which includes quantitative and qualitative methods. The School also has an interest in methodological innovation and expertise in the related arena of self-help and advice-giving.

The School has strong links with the nationwide Association of Psychosocial Studies which brings together researchers adopting various psychosocial approaches, many of whom are also clinical practitioners. These links make the School an exciting and innovative place to conduct research with a counselling and/or psychotherapy focus and there are active and on-going relationships with non-statutory sector agencies working in this field.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, or some evidence of substantial experience in doing independent research at postgraduate level A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships.

Potential research projects

  • Process research in psychodynamic therapy
  • Sexual and relationships therapy
  • Life course transitions and intimacies
  • Alternative structures and sites for intimacy
  • Infidelity and internet infidelity
  • Working with gender and sexual diversity, particularly openly non-monogamous relationships, BDSM, and bisexuality
  • Working with families and other systems beyond the individual
  • Existential, systemic, mindfulness, and integrative approaches
  • Use of new technologies for the provision of counselling and/or psychotherapy
  • Psychotherapy and racialised minorities
  • The impact of body shape in the context of counselling
  • Therapy research which uses session transcripts as the core data
  • Analyses of self-help or advice, particularly relating to sex and relationships
  • Salutogenesis: promoting health and resilience in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Mental health problems - that might be related to the 'Personality Disorder' diagnoses.
  • Mental disorder and criminal offending
  • Families experiences of 'mental illness'

Current/recent research projects

We have had a number of externally and internally funded research projects, including:

  • ‘Cross Disciplinary Thinking about ‘‘Anti-social Personality Disorder’
  • 'Internet infidelity: Creating partnerships'
  • ‘Charting the links between community therapies, psychiatric diagnosis and Mental Health policy’

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Discipline Convenor
+44(0)1908 652589

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.