Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences


The University of Edinburgh is a leading research university and an international centre of academic excellence, and therefore provides an excellent environment and outstanding resources for undertaking research.

It is Scotland's premier research University, and is graded within the top five British Universities.

Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences has a long standing commitment to original empirical and theoretical research that engages critically with the practices of counselling and psychotherapy. We are especially keen to encourage research concerned with the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life. We also specialise research that draws directly on practitioners’ own therapeutic work and professional experience.

Our expertise lies in qualitative, reflexive and critical research approaches. Methodologically we draw upon autoethnographic, arts-informed, narrative and collaborative traditions. Our research portfolio is interdisciplinary, integrating concepts, practices and scholarship from counselling and psychotherapy with a range of disciplines including sociology, human geography, philosophy, theology, religious studies, education and cultural studies.

Research areas

Advancing methodologies

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

Emotional geographies

People's emotional lives impact upon how they interact with and within the places they move through every day. In turn, the way space has been organised and places shaped can impact upon people's emotions.

Gender, sexuality and the body

The ways in which the development of gender and sexual identities are represented and experienced throughout the life course are key areas for therapeutic work and important processes in therapeutic relating.

Loss and trauma

Loss - everyday yet pivotal - is at the heart of much work within counselling and psychotherapy.

Relationships and identities

Relationships and identities lie at the core of theories and practices of counselling and psychotherapy.

Spirituality, theology and therapy

Religion, spirituality, counselling and psychotherapy are all concerned with meaning-making, which has led some to declare counselling and psychotherapy to be a replacement for religion and spirituality.

Related Links

Research funding for doctoral students

School of Health in Social Science research pages

Studying - Counselling & Psychotherapy