Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Sciences

Relationships and identities

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

Our research in this area engages with questions about therapeutic relationships and professional identities within counselling and psychotherapy. It also applies theories and insights from counselling and psychotherapy to relationships and identities in a variety of other spheres of life.

Therapeutic Relationships

Informed by first-hand experience, our research explores a variety of themes and dynamics characteristic of therapeutic relationships between practitioners and clients. Some studies draw primarily on the perspectives and experiences of practitioners, others on the perspectives and experiences of clients. Our research also investigates the therapeutic potential of a variety of other kinds of relationships.

Child and Family Relationships and Identities

Our approach to counselling and psychotherapy emphasises the importance of self-awareness in the development and practice of counsellors and psychotherapists. Consequently, as researchers, we often turn to our own and to others’ experiences of growing up, adult life and growing old. We explore how our relationships with significant others shape our identities and how our identities shape our family relationships.

Professional and Community Identities

What makes us who we are, whether as practitioners within and beyond counselling and psychotherapy, or as members of professional and non-professional communities? Our research examines the formation of counsellors and psychotherapists and uses ideas from counselling and psychotherapy to explore how other community identities unfold and are lived.


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


Academic staff who work and study within this research theme.