Senior Lecturer, Counselling and Psychotherapy
Seamus Prior is a Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is a psychodynamic counsellor trained within the dialogue between the person-centred approach and psychodynamic perspectives.
He has a background in mental health social work, in counselling children, young people and adults who have experienced sexual abuse, in group work, family therapy and generic counselling work with adults. Seamus maintains a practice base as a therapist in a community mental health setting and in private practice.
Seamus is a registered independent counsellor/psychotherapist on the United Kingdom Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an accredited counselling trainer with COSCA, the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland. He is a member of COSCA, BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Scottish Association for Psychodynamic Counselling, having also served on the latter's Executive Committee.
Seamus is programme director for the Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue). He also supervises PhD and DPsychotherapy theses, and masters and undergraduate dissertations. Seamus served as External Examiner to the Counselling and Psychotherapy programmes at the University of Leicester (2008-12) and to the MEd in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling at the University of Cambridge (2013-16). He is currently External Examiner to the Postgraduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling at Human Development Scotland. He has served on numerous external and internal academic review panels, including the programme revalidation of the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2014.
BSc (Hons) Mathematical Physics, First Class, The University of Edinburgh, 1989
MSc Sociology of Science, The University of Edinburgh, 1990
MSW/ DipSW Social Work, The University of Edinburgh/CCETSW,1995
Practice Teaching Award in Social Work, CCETSW, 1998
Pg Diploma in Counselling, The University of Edinburgh/COSCA , 2003
Professional Certificate in University Teaching, The University of Edinburgh, 2009
Counselling Trainer Accreditation (Certificate Level), COSCA, 2007
Counselling Trainer Accreditation (Diploma Level), COSCA, 2010
Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2010
Independent Counsellor/Psychotherapist Accreditation, BACP, 2010
Seamus organises and teaches the undergraduate honours course SHSS10003 Ethical Values and Challenges in Care. This course uses dialogical approaches, debate, discussion and group work projects to explore and analyse contemporary ethical issues in health and social care. The course is a popular choice for undergraduate students across many disciplines. He also contributes to teaching on other courses within the MA in Health, Science and Society and offers dissertation supervision to MA students.
Seamus teaches across all the Counselling and Psychotherapy postgraduate programmes: Pg Certificate in Counselling Studies, Pg Diploma in Counselling, Master of Counselling and DPsychotherapy. He provides core psychodynamic input, facilitates professional development and research supervision groups and runs counselling practice workshops. He also supervises Masters dissertation projects.
Open to PhD supervision enquiries?
Areas of interest for supervision
Seamus Prior has been supervising, supporting and examining doctoral candidates since 2005. While the majority of his students are qualified therapists undertaking post-qualifying doctoral research, he is committed to interdisciplinarity and enjoys working with students from other disciplines who build bridges into the concepts and practices of counselling and psychotherapy. Seamus supervises across a broad range of topics, including conceptual exploration of the therapeutic process, the contribution of faith and spirituality to health and healing, the lived experience of mental distress and recovery, creative approaches to emotional well-being, and the experience of training in counselling and psychotherapy. This list is not exhaustive and Seamus welcomes enquiries from potential candidates who see possible connections between their interests and his. He is happy to enter into informal discussion prior to the production of a formal proposal or submission of an application. Seamus established Edinburgh’s DPsychotherapy, the Professional Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapy, in 2010, and continues to teach and supervise on that programme, along with the PhD programme. He also contributes to doctoral supervision and examination in other disciplines and welcomes enquiries from students and staff based in other disciplines, Schools and Institutions.
Current PhD students supervised
Mounira Aldousari (current) Being A Counsellor in Kuwait: Challenges and Aspirations in the Light of Stigma
Beverley Bruce (current) Walking the Bridge between Yoga and Psychotherapy
Mu-Fan Chen (current) Ripples of trauma: an investigation of intergenerational trauma on the descendants of the victims of the White Terror in Taiwan
Keith Evans (current) Coming into being: the significance of pre- and perinatal experiences on our relationality and meaning-making processes throughout life
Peter Hellsten Hiebl (current) Attachment trauma in men who engage in (self-)harming, high risk sexual behavious with other men: a qualitative, phenomenological and intersubjective enquiry
Yuqing Huang (current) Foreign counsellors' experiences of training, practice and supervision in a second language
Mariya Levitanus (current) The negotiation of LGBT identities in post-soviet Kazakhstan
Joe Kai Chung Poon (current) Storytelling as a means of building character in children: Using Chinese Classics in bibliotherapy
Katherine Porter (current) The learner teacher relationships of Looked After children, considered using the concepts and processes described in the writings of Wilfred Bion
Duncan Roebuck (current) How novice therapists experience the transition from training to practice: a phenomenological enquiry
Andrew Seed (current): A post-structural hauntology into the work of mourning
Jonathan Stockwell (current) Estrangement between parents and adult children
Nikos Tsogkas (current) Transactional analysis for grief: a phenomenological study of transactional analysts' experience with grieving clients
Kate Uher (current) A look at how relational therapy can support autistic clients with secondary mental health challenges
Past PhD students supervised
Jane Andrew (2019) Befriending relationships in the experience of people with dementia
Ying Liu (2019) Sky seen through trees: Rethinking narrative coherence in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Sarah Quinley (2019) Songs of self: An heuristic inquiry into voicework as therapeutic
Jess Erb (2018) Diving into shallow depths: Nomadic embodiment through female counsellors' exploration of their physical appearance in the counselling relationship
Joan Jamison (2018) Authentic Space
Edgar Rodriguez-Dorans (2017) Understanding gay men’s identities through narratives of their erotic and romantic relationships
Fiona Murray (2017) The Porn Factory: A feminist dystopian affective inquiry into porn (re)produced worlds
Fejer Almajed (2017) In/coherence: A layered account of a Kuwaiti woman’s post-psychotic self-in-progress
Natasha Thomas (2017) A therapist's use of the disintegrated self: Getting lost in power, vulnerability and incoherence
Linda Talbert (2016) Inside Jacob’s story: Exploring counsellor contribution to narrative co-construction using imaginary dialogues with a Biblical character
Nini Fang (2016) From instinct to self: A psychoanalytic exploration into a Fairbairnian understanding of depression through an imaginary dialogue with my Virginia Woolf
Jenna Daku (2016) In Pursuit of Meaning: Eating Disorder Recovery and the Re/construction of Self
Panita Suavansri (2016) Comfortable in your own skin: Becoming a trainee therapist of colour in the context of internalised racism
Chomphunut Srichannil (2014) Healing through culturally embedded practice: An investigation of counsellors’ and clients’ experience of Buddhist counselling in Thailand
Zoe Sehn (2013) Creating meaning in the face of bereavement: An adult child’s perspective
Michelle Ramage (2013) Tales from the edge: Sufferers’ perspectives of the role of psychotherapy in recovery from anorexia nervosa
Chin-Ping Liou (2013) A new way of healing: Experienced counsellors perceptions of the influence of ch’i-related exercises on counselling practice in Taiwan
Hillarie Higgins (2011) Primary school children’s processes of emotional expression and negotiation of power in an expressive arts curricular project
Seamus' research interests include young people's experiences of counselling, therapy for abuse survivors, gender issues and evaluating the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy.
He is also interested in how students learn therapeutic skill and competence. His methodological approaches are primarily qualitative and sociological, with an interest in narrative and discourse
Islamic Faith as a facilitator for accessing counselling
A palimpsest narrative of becoming a therapist
Revisioning person-centred research
“I have to hear them before I hear myself”
Challenges of supervision and ethics in experience near research
Spaces of dissociation
Searching for safe space
Practise what you preach: Counsellors’ experience of practising Buddhist Counselling in Thailand
Developing therapeutic listening
Overcoming Stigma: How Young People Position Themselves as Counselling Service Users