Jonathan Wyatt

Professor of Qualitative Inquiry and co-director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry


Jonathan trained as a counsellor, part-time, at the Isis Centre in Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, completing his MSc in 2001. For ten years, until July 2011, he worked one day a week in the NHS as a counsellor in primary care and, until moving to Edinburgh in September 2013, ran a small private counselling and supervision practice. He originally worked as an English teacher, then subsequently in youth and community work, before moving into staff development and training (most recently as Head of Professional Development at the University of Oxford).

He completed his doctorate at Bristol in narrative and life story research in 2008. Jonathan is an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and a member of the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry and the Collaborative and Narrative Inquiry Network (CANI-NET).


EdD, MSc, MEd, PGCE, BA (Hons)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Accredited Member, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy


Postgraduate teaching

Between Counselling and Research (1)

Autoethnographic Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Jonathan is interested in PhD proposals that involve one or more of the following: 

Writing as inquiry; collaborative writing as inquiry; autoethnography ('assemblage/ethnography'); Deleuze and Guattari; post-structural, post-humanist, new materialist, and 'post-qualitative' inquiries; the experience of loss; the therapeutic encounter

Current PhD students supervised

Cassie Li, DPsychotherapy, Relations: Becoming with

Kelly Stewart, PhD, Exploring the intergenerational trauma of suicide running in families

Alex Romanitan, PhD, Man-to-man: How do I tell you you’re beautiful? Using performative writing to come to terms with intimacy between men

Andrew Seed, PhD, Decentring the self: A journey or wanderings into the beyond

Anna Planedin, DPsychotherapy, Encountering shame and sex: Storied assemblages

Marie Meechan, PhD,  An insider’s narrative on the experience of ‘unexplained’ infertility: inquiring into a controversial diagnosis of reproductive technologies

Jay Myles, PhD, Soul-searching: Autoethnographic exploration of transformational change in and through therapy

Karen Kaufman, PhD, Writing loss: Conjuring curses, words, silences

Katherine Porter, PhD, The learner-teacher relationships of looked-after children considered using the concepts and processes described in the writings of Wilfred Bion  

Benedicate Sanio Ala-Oborie, DPsychotherapy, Possessed: Merman or mental health illness? An autoethnographical account of my encounter with mental health challenge in a family imbued with traditional and religious beliefs

Sydney Millman, PhD, Growing from grief: An emerging underground exploration of psilocybin mushrooms, motherhood, and psychedelic feminism

Mai Tran, PhD, On homing: Exploring belonging between cultures through film and writing (with Edinburgh College of Art)

Mia Livingston, PhD, title to be confirmed but "if there's a long word for wearing my research like a giant sock followed by turning myself inside out, that's what I'm doing"

Caren Christie, PhD, title to be confirmed

Andrew Noland, DPsychotherapy, title to be confirmed 

Dominica Hamilton-Leathart, PhD, title to be confirmed 

Panu Sahassanon, DPsychotherapy, title to be confirmed

Kelly-Rose McNeil, DPsychotherapy, title to be confirmed

Barbara Erber, PhD, title to be confirmed 



Past PhD students supervised

Tim Vermeulen, DPsychotherapy, Melancholy and the loss of self: A nomadic inquiry (Principal, full-time, 2023)

Melissa Dunlop, PhD, Auto/fictioning (the) contemporary (in) human relations and psychotherapeutic purposes (Principal, part-time, 2023)

John Malherbe, DPsychotherapy, Troubling the golden thread: A postqualitative inquiry into the tacit dimension (Principal, full-time, 2023)

Audrey McFarlane, DPsychotherapy, A posthuman therapeutic encounter: Reconceptualising a counselling session as entangled performative encounter (Principal, part-time, 2023)

Andrew Gillott, PhD, Where are all the bodies buried: Towards a creative-relational inquiry, (Second, part-time, 2023)

Elif Zapsu, PhD, The lover: Exploring Sufi concepts of love and death in psychotherapy (Principal, full-time, 2023)

Sui-Ping Chan, DPsychotherapy, An exploration of the trajectory of being a breast cancer patient through collaborative writing in imaginal dialogue (Principal, 2021)

Gabriel Soler Santibañéz, PhD, Towards a holding-machine: A transitional inquiry into transitional phenomena (Principal, full-time, 2021 Principal’s Career Development Scholarship)

Susan Mackay, PhD, Troubling pleasures: A creative-relational inquiry (Principal, full-time, 2021, Kerr-Fry scholarship)

Jan Bradford, PhD, Family secrets: Keeping the home fires burning (Second, part-time, 2020)

Christina Sachpasidi, PhD, Exploring how psychotherapist in the free-of-charge services of Athens understand and respond to political dimensions of their work (Principal, full-time, 2019)

Nicky Haire, PhD, Humour in music therapy (Third, full-time, 2020, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Award)

Sue Chapman, PhD, Changing the discourse: Self-cultivation for a sustainable teaching profession (Principal, full-time, 2019)

Elise DeFusco, DPsychotherapy, Experiencing Azeroth: A narrative inquiry into the playing the massive-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft (Principal, full-time, 2019)

Karen Serra, PhD, Making sense of ourselves: Reconceptualising reflexivity and experience (Principal, full-time, 2020, Principal’s Career Development Scholarship)

Jason Holmes, DPsychotherapy, What is the experience of being inside, outside and in-between gay worlds? July 2018 (Principal)                

Pat Bond, PhD, Wound meets wound in the counselling room, April 2018, (Principal)

Edgar Rodríguez, PhD, Understanding gay men’s identities, December 2017 (Second)

Natasha Thomas, DPsychotherapy, Between dissociation and oneness: Shifts in consciousness in the therapeutic encounter, October 2017 (Principal)

Carrie Applegath, DPsychotherapy, Remembering, reclaiming, re-remembering: An autoethnographic exploration of professional abuse, October 2017 (Second)

Krista Ann Hilton, PhD, Georgia State University, A nodal ethnography of a (be)coming tattooed body, December 2016 (Member, Advisory Committee)

Zoi Simopoulou, PhD, Reveries of the existential: a psychoanalytic observation of pre-school children’s existential encounters at their nursery, November 2016 (Second)

Hsin-Shao Chang, DPsychotherapy,“If We Hug? A Counsellor’s Exploration into Her Perceptions of Hugging a Client”, January 2016 (Principal)

Research summary

Jonathan’s research examines the entanglement of self and other within and beyond the therapeutic encounter; and it troubles what we mean by ‘self’ and ‘other’. He undertakes this research through autoethnography (or, better, 'assemblage/ethnography'), collaborative writing as inquiry and through bringing these together with performance, including stand-up comedy, dance/movement, and film. His work connects the dots between collaborative inquiry in the context of research and collaborative inquiry in the context of therapy, searching for – and doubting – the transformative resources in each.

He grapples with the ethics of what is his to tell: how to write stories of the counsellor – and the son, husband, father, brother, friend – ‘becoming’ in and with relationships and spaces. He’s working at an approach to theorizing experiential accounts without depersonalizing them.

His research examines the links between research and therapeutic practice, provides exemplars to write with and against, and makes explicit some methodological possibilities and limitations.

Current research interests

Jonathan is a co-director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry. His book, 'Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry', was published in 2019 by Routledge and won the 2020 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry book award. He has been working slowly on a new book, which might be a follow-up, provisionally titled 'Writing, the Everyday, and Creative-Relational Inquiry'. He hasn't ventured back into stand-up (yet). Jonathan is involved in a number of research collaborations: with Karen Serra (Edinburgh) on post- and de-colonial challenges to the new materialisms and posthumanism; with Fiona Murray (Edinburgh) on creative-relational inquiry; with Ken Gale (Plymouth) in a continuation of their work on Deleuzian collaborative inquiry; and with Keith Tudor (Auckland University of Technology) on an edited book project, 'Qualitative Research Approaches for Psychotherapy: Reflexivity, Methodology, Criticality', published by Routledge in July 2023.

Affiliated research centres

View all 89 publications on Research Explorer

Conference details

International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

International Conference of Autoethnography

Invited speaker

Keynote speaker at 2021 Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference

Keynote speaker at 2020 European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Keynote speaker at 2018 National Annual Conference of India Association of Clinical Psychologists

Keynote speaker at 2017 UK Council for Psychotherapy annual research conference

Keynote speaker at 2017 British Conference of Autoethnography


The Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry hosted the European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in February, 2019: 



Papers delivered

Multiple - see Researcher Explorer page for selection.