Anna Robinson


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Autism; Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills (process and outcome; emotional injuries; trauma; emotion regulation; interpersonal relating in group therapy; autistic process; psychopathology; stress and coping; care dynamics)


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined the University in 2013, as a Teaching Fellow, leading the Masters in Autism programme. Then moving to an academic position in 2018, as a Lecturer in Autism. I am a developmental psychologist and person-centred experiential therapist. 

I received my PhD in Counselling and Psychotherapy from University of Strathclyde (2014) entitled 'Enhancing Emotion Processing within Emotion-Focused Therapy for Clients on the Autism Spectrum.' This research received the Outstanding Research Award by The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2017). Collaborative research partnerships with Scottish Autism and HOPE for Autism are curretntly underway, researching further the process and outcome of Emotion-Focused Therapy for Autism Spectrum. 

My research focus is two-fold: first, exploring emotional injuries and trauma, emotion regulation and interpersonal relating within group therapy, and second, exploring the impact of training practitioners (and family members) emotion-focused counselling skills in enhancing relational dynamics and in the reduction of trauma-related experiences.  

Prior to joining the University I was the lead of Autism Expertise and Knowledge Exchange for Scottish Autism, as the Head of Centre for Education & Training in Autism and the Autism Advisory & Consultancy Service. 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 Autism Toolbox: A Resource for Scottish Schools'.  In 1997 I developed a counselling service for clients with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) working individually, with couples and small groups.

Internal positions: 

2010 - 2020: Course Leader for the MSc in Autism

2020 - Lead for the EdD (Autism) and PhD in Applied Autism Research 

2021 - Course Leader for the Post Graduate Certificate (PgCert) in Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills for Autism Spectrum

External positions:

University of Swansea: External Examiner for the MSc Autism & Related Conditions

Liverpool John Moore University: External Examiner for the MA Counselling & Psychotherapy

Centre for Practice Innovation, Scottish Autism: Research Associate

AT-Autism, International Autism Consultancy: Consultant Associate

Committee Member:

Inclusion, Diversity & Wellbeing: Executive Committee Member

Scottish Autism Research Group (SARG): Committee Member 

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Trauma Informed Practice
  • Therapeutic approaches to promote emotion regulation, resiliency, stress & coping;
  • Expressive/creative methods for expression and healing;
  • Autism, Disability and Mental Health
  • Emotion-Focused Counselling/Coaching Skills: parents, teachers, practitioners

Teaching Interests

I am a Lecturer in Autism with a teaching focus around affective theories, factors that contribute to social exclusion, trauma and how to promote emotional wellbeing. I predominantly teach Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills for Autism Spectrum and for other hard to reach populations. 

I supervise Masters/EdD and PhD research that aligns with my own research interests: Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills including pre-therapy and the impact this training has on practitioner relational dynamics. As well as factors that contribute to painful and tramua-related experiences and the use of creative methods to support self-expression and how this can help in recovery. 

I supervise PhD in Applied Autism Research and would be interested to discuss research proposals that align with my own research interests. 

Research Interests

My research mainly focuses on autism, disability and mental health issues, specifically issues around social exclusion, emotional resiliency and wellbeing. This includes accessibility of counselling, group psychotherapy and the use of expressive and creative arts to explore self-representation, trauma-related difficulties and how to work with emotional injuries. I am interested in giving voice to clients’ experiences and use creative methods to aid those who have difficulties speaking, exploring non-verbal strategies of expression and narration. Of particular interest is empathic relating of self-other, sexual self-identity, gender differences and the mechanisms that facilitate change within group therapy. 

PhD Students: 


  • Micaela Jimenez Borja (Ecuador PhD Scholarship, 2013-2016) On Measuring client modes of engagement in humanistic experiential psychotherapy


  • Christine, Sousa Marmoy (Applied Autism Research, University of Strathclyde, 2020 -) On Sensing the Meaning: Visual conceptualisation underlying sensory experiences in autistic young people
  • Mert Ozakca (Turkey PhD Scholarship, 2019-2022) On A Cross-Cultural Analysis Exploring Emotion-Focused Parent Coaching for Emotional Resiliency in Autstic Children and Families
  • Charlotte Wilson (Social Work, University of Strathclyde, 2019 -) On Adjusting the Volume: Reflecting Young People's Experiences of Secure care
  • Gillian McConnell (Education, University of Strathclyde, 2020 -) On Epilepsy, Autism and Learning Disability 
  • Owen McGill (Education, University of Strathclyde, 2017-) On Autistic Girls and Early Education: Investigating Identity and Experiences Through A Feminist Standpoint Lens
  • Thalia Nicolaou (Counselling, University of Strathclyde, 2012-2015) On The Personal Presenting Meaning of Physical and Psychological Symptoms: Their Function and Implications for Therapy

EdD Students:

  • 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:

  • autism, disability, mental health;
  • Trauma-Informed Practice;
  • therapeutic/creative/expressive methods supporting inclusion, resiliency and healing;
  • coping and stress reduction
  • parent coaching
  • nurture practice and Teacher wellbeing 



As the Head of the WE:FOCUS lab we are conducting research 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 Group Therapy

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


Selected Masters Supervision: 

Selected Alumni:

  • Caseman, Rony (MEd 2019) on Investigating whether a strength based mentoring facilitated from within the autistic community promotes holistic wellbeing for autistic women 
  • 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
  • McConnell, Leona (MEd 2019) on an Autoethnographic exploration of creative practice experiences of autistic artists and designers
  • Yong, Ennie (Chevening Scholarship MSc 2019) on Developing an Emotion-Focused Skills Training for Parents from Experiences of Expert Trainers 
  • Cross, Sheila (MSc 2018) on Experiences of Peer Relationships and Self-Identity of Young Autstic Girls in Mainstream Schools in Northern Ireland 
  • Galbraith, Ian (MSc 2018) Practitioners Experiences of Applying Person-Centred and Pre-Therapy Counselling Skills with Clients with Autstic Process
  • Mitsakou, Georgia (MSc 2018) Teachers Expriences of Learning and Applying Person-Centred and Pre-Therapy Counselling Skills with Children with Autism
  • Scott, Rachael-Anne (MEd 2018) Leisure Pursuits and Happiness in Autistic and Typical Development (TD) Adolescents



Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.
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