Gabriel Soler (PhD researcher)

Thesis title: A Transitional Inquiry into Transitionality


I was born in Santiago, Chile in 1983, in the middle of a dictatorship. After many years of mobilizations and coordination of many different organisations, democracy was re-established in the country. My family was involved in different movements against the dictatorship and my dad was part of the government that followed. We lived some time in Concepcion (another city of Chile) following my dad's job. I studied in private schools and then entered to psychology at the Catholic University of  Chile. After that, I completed a diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Chilean Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy in Santiago, followed by a Masters in Clinical Psychology at the Adolfo Ibanez University. I practised as a therapist for five years and then decided to continue my studies in Edinburgh, where I finished a  Master by Research and am currently working on my PhD thesis. My project takes into account the history of my country and the impact of that on my family dynamics. I delve into my own crises and my work with clients, to think on the places between the personal, collective and material. In this way, I start from my own stories to understand broader phenomena. 

I have always had a love of art practices as a way of exploring my emotions and ideas. In my research, I consider art as my transitional place, where I am in between the external and internal. Painting from my emotions and free associations, my unconscious finds a place that is at the same time inside and outside. These practices challenge the traditional distinctions that trace a clear line between the ego and reality, or the internal world and the external. I follow paradoxical thinking, not avoiding the contradictions but assuming that they are constitutive of a complex topic.



MScR in Counselling Studies

Research summary

The main focus of my research is to create the concept of 'transitionality', which refers to a place in-between the personal, collective and material. This place invites us to think on an 'unconscious-in-the-world', where the inner and the outer dynamics are overlapping. The concept is born in the thinking of Donald Winnicott, inside the psychoanalytic tradition. I make a dialogue between his theory and other postmodern authors and methods. I am using Deleuze and Guattari and Karen Barad, to make a thinking-with, reading one author with the help of the other. I use writing as a method of inquiry and autoethnography to build engaging stories and thick descriptions of what is/could be transitionality. I follow the distinction between concept and conception, being the first clearly defined and static, while the second always fresh and productive. Hence, I try to keep thinking in a way that the concept-creation keeps alive, which means that I need to make them new again. 

Past research interests

2020Soler, Gabriel. A Gunshot, Dying and Living: Writing into Activism. International Review of Qualitative Research. DOI: 10.1177/1940844720968177 2020Soler, Gabriel; Purnell, David; Clarke, Daniel. Facing Father Absences and Troubling Memories of our Fathers. International Review of Qualitative Research. DOI: 10.1177/1940844720968201. 2020Mackay, Susan; Soler, Gabriel; Wyatt, Tess. Aesthetic Intervention: Lines of Flight. International Review of Qualitative Research. DOI: 10.1177/1940844720968200.

Knowledge exchange

I have been working on a series of workshops that invite to a 'transitional' experience. I have called them Synesthesia. The workshops have been running for 2 years.  

Affiliated research centres