Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences

Advancing methodologies

Our work in this area concerns ‘arts-based’ and collaborative research methodologies, and engages creatively with more traditional methodological approaches.

We call into question and blur the boundaries between the arts and the social sciences, challenge the individualism of the academy, and seek to find fresh and effective ways both to carry out and report on inquiry.

Amongst other methodologies and approaches that our work draws on are magical realism, collaborative writing, story-telling, dance/movement, film and autoethnography. Our work also applies ideas from counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalytic thinking to a range of methodological debates.

Collaborative writing

There is a growing interest within the social sciences in collaborative writing. In our work in this area we study how collaborative writing is in itself a method of inquiry, how it can be an approach to developing communities of writers, how it challenges the individualism of the academy, and how it has the potential to disrupt, challenge and open possibilities both in the academy and the wider world.


An increasingly popular way to approach research in counselling and psychotherapy is by using our own experiences as the source material through which rich examples can be explored. The developing tradition of autoethnography is an influential way of conceptualising such an approach, and our research seeks both to extend and to critique it.

Creative genres

Expanding understandings of the nature of “data” is central to our work, which experiments with a variety of traditions including story-telling, magical realism, the use of poetic form and the generation of scripts. We have experience of Reader’s Theatre, narrative analysis and creative applications of phenomenology.

Case study methodologies

Knowledge in the field of counselling and psychotherapy originated in discussion of and reflection on clinical cases. The history of the clinical case study is fraught and in many contexts case studies are devalued. However case studies continue to be powerful aids to learning and we seek to reunite learning and research by bringing new thinking and practice to what case study methodologies might mean.


A list of current and archived research projects undertaken by staff under this theme.


Academic staff who work and study within this research theme.