Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Strathclyde Institute of Education. My research, teaching and knowledge exchange is in the field of education and psychology. I am a chartered psychologist specialising in psychotherapy. My research interests primarily relate to three areas: emotional psychology, an emotion-focused-experiential approach to psychotherapy, counselling and coaching, and trauma and post-traumatic growth. While these areas may be considered discretely, my work often demonstrates the overlap between these. My PhD Counselling & Psychotherapy:  'Enhancing Emotional Processing in Emotion-Focused Therapy for Clients with Autistic Process' received the Outstanding Research Award by The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2017). I welcome opportunities to discuss collaboration around areas that align with my research interests. 

My current research projects are focused on exploring trauma, transformative emotional healing, human flourishing and compassionate practice:

  • PI on Exploring how Emotion-Focused Therapy impacts mental health, trauma & healing and empathy & compassion in clients with autistic process 
  • PI on Creating Autistic Trauma Stories exploring the impact expressive & creative art has on trauma sense making and healing funded by The John & Lorna Wing Foundation
  • PI on HEART (Healing Emotions and Relational Transformation) an Emotion-Focused Therapy workshop for parents of autistic children

I have established and lead the TLC Network. This group brings together interdisciplinary practitioner researchers with an interest in understanding Trauma through lived experience, Love and Compassion focused practice. 

Internal positions:

  • 2019 - Lead for the EdD (Autism) and PhD in Applied Autism Research
  • 2010 -2020: Course Leader for the MSc/MEd in Autism Studies
  • Executive Committee Member: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • In 2022/23 Development of a new Post Graduate Certificate (PgCert) / EdD specialist pathway in Neuro-Affirmative Creative-Relational Inquiry through participatory co-design

External positions:

  • 2023 - 2026 NUI University of Galway: External Examiner for the DPsychSc Clinical Psychology
  • 2020 – 2023 Liverpool John Moore University: External Examiner for the MA Counselling & Psychotherapy
  • 2018 – 2022 University of Swansea: External Examiner for the MSc Autism & Related Condition
  • Editorial Board Member: Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders
  • Committee Member: Scottish Autism Research Group (SARG)
  • Associate Consultant: AT-Autism, International Autism Consultancy
  • Research Associate: Centre for Practice Innovation, Scottish Autism

I am a member of the British Psychological Society, British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Society for Psychotherapy Research and the International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy. 

Autism Practice: Prior to joining the University I was the Head of Autism Expertise and Knowledge Exchange; Head of the Centre for Education & Training in Autism and the Autism Family Advisory & Consultancy Service for Scottish Autism.  I was a member of the Senior Management Team responsible for the design of the first Autism School in Scotland (New Struan School: A Centre for Autism) and an author for the original 'The Autism Toolbox: A Resource for Scottish Schools'.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • emotional psychology
  • emotion-focused-experiential psychotherapy, counselling and coaching
  • trauma, healing & post-traumatic growth
  • counselling clients with autistic process
  • emotion-focused & compassion-focused practice: parents, teachers, practitioners 
  • expressive/creative methods and affective technology

Teaching Interests

My teaching focus is around autism, emotional psychology, factors that contribute to stigma, social exclusion, trauma and how to promote positive psychological growth. I predominantly teach Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills for Autism Spectrum and for other hard to reach populations. In 2022-2023 I am the academic lead for the new participatory co-design PgCert Neurodiversity-Affirmative Creative-Relational Inquiry

I supervise PhD in Applied Autism Research/EdD Education (Autism) & PGT Masters research projects that align with my own research interests: Emotion-Focused Counselling and Coaching Skills; humanistic-experiential psychotherapy; pre-therapy; trauma; creative methods to support voice, self-expression and healing emotional injuries and compassion focused practice. 

 

Research Interests

My research mainly focuses on Humanistic-Experiential Autism Research Therapy (HEART) with a particular emphasis on exploring emotional processing, trauma-related experiences, and psychological growth. I have particular interest on process and outcome research in Humanistic-Experiential Psychotherapies (HEPs) for clients with autistic process. This includes accessibility of counselling, group psychotherapy and the use of expressive and creative art to explore emotional experiences, self and other intersubjectivity. I am interested in giving voice to clients’ experiences and use creative methods and affective technology to aid those who have difficulties speaking, exploring non-verbal strategies of expression and narration. 

PGR Supervision: I am the primary supervisor to the following doctoral students:

PhD Students: 

  • Elise, Stirling (Applied Autism Research, 2021 -) on exploring authentic autistic play and teacher professional learning to promote successful inclusion of autistic children in education
  • Christine, Sousa Marmoy (Applied Autism Research, 2020 -) on exploring how autistic players relate to their avatars to learn and collaborate in MPOGs
  • Mert Ozakca (Turkey PhD Scholarship, 2019-2022) on exploring cross-cultural analysis of parenting autistic children and emotion-focused parent coaching 
  • Owen McGill (Education, 2017-) on exploring autistic girls experiences of education through a feminist lens to inform teacher professional learning

EdD Students:

  • Kat McClure (2022) On exploring of how to elicit voice of autistic young people with complex communication needs to influence educational experiences
  • Lynn McNally (2021) On investigating autistic children exploring me with mum and art
  • Kerrie Highcock (2021) On exploring experiences of 'autism support' in mainstream secondary school
  • David Duncan (2019-) On Capturing the voice of bereaved children through a participatory and arts based approach 

PhD/EdD Recruitment:

Please contact me if you would like to pursue a PhD in Applied Autism Research or PhD/EdD in Education, with focus on areas related to: 

  • Promoting positive outcomes in the lives of autistic people through Humanistic-Experiential practice;
  • Emotional Processing;
  • Trauma-Informed Practice;
  • Therapeutic/creative/expressive methods to enhance relational connections; 
  • Emotion-Focused and HEPs skills training: parents, teachers and practitioners; 
  • Affective technology for supporting emotional healing and psychological growth;

HEART

Head of the HEART Hub conducting research and Knowledge Exchange in the following areas:

  • Positive therapeutic approaches to healing trauma and emotional injuries 
  • Training Parents, Teachers and Practitioners in Emotion-Focused Counselling/Coaching Skills
  • Emotion-Focused Therapy for clients with autistic process

We have collaborative research partnerships with Scottish Autism and HOPE for Autism; AT-Autism and Donaldson School.

International collaborators: Universidad Autónoma de Chile; Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.

Selected Masters Supervision (Alumni): 

  • Anna, Stopinska-Lewucha (MEd 2021) "My Child is a Happy Flapper": Parents celebration of happiness in autistic children 
  • Christine, Sousa Marmoy (MSc 2020) The World I Sense is the World I Live in!
  • Highcock, Kerrie (MEd 2019) on Young Autistic Activists Use of Art for Self-Expression 
  • Friedman, Samantha (USA Fulbright Scholarship MSc 2019) on Exploring Outdoor Learning Environments on Emotional Processing Skills in Students with Autism
  • Yong, Ennie (Chevening Scholarship MSc 2019) on Developing an Emotion-Focused Skills Training for Parents from Experiences of Expert Trainers 
  • Galbraith, Ian (MSc 2018) Practitioners Experiences of Applying Person-Centred and Pre-Therapy Counselling Skills with Clients with Autistic Process
  • Owen, McGill (MSc 2017) Autistic Adult Reflections of Applied Behavioural Analysis Experiences in Childhood: A Thematic Analysis
  • Christina Symeonidou (MSc 2017) An Investigation into the effectiveness of nurture groups in supporting autistic children: A Scottish teacher’s perspective

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Keywords

  • Humanistic-Experiential Psychotherapy
  • Emotion
  • Trauma
  • Empathy
  • Autism
  • Embodiment
  • Sense Making
  • Meaning creation

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