Seamus Prior

Senior Lecturer, Counselling and Psychotherapy


Seamus Prior is a Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is a psychodynamic psychotherapist with 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 psychotherapy with adults. Seamus maintains a practice base as a therapist and supervisor 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 and an accredited member of BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He is also a Certified Practice Supervisor with COSCA. 

Seamus teaches across a number of CPASS programmes. He also supervises PhD and DPsychotherapy theses, and masters and undergraduate dissertations. Seamus has served as External Examiner and External Assessor at a number of institutions, including the University of Leicester, the University of Cambridge, Human Development Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Middlesex, the Metanoia Institute, the University of Waikato, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and the University of Essex. He is currently External Examiner to the University of Worcester's MSc in Counselling and External Assessor for the Counselling Certificate and Diploma at the Garnethill Centre, Glasgow. Seamus served on the Advisory Board for the Quality Assurance Agency's first Counselling and Psychotherapy Subject Benchmark Statement.


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

Certificate in Counselling Supervision, COSCA, 2023




Undergraduate teaching

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.

Postgraduate teaching

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.   

Due to high numbers of doctoral supervisees at present, Seamus is not able to commit to serve as principal supervisor to new students in 2024. He may be able to serve as an assistant supervisor and will be happy to refer inquirers to other colleagues who can offer to be a principal supervisor. 

Current PhD students supervised

Nour Alrasheed (current) Attachment theory and Islamic spirituality: An exploration of Muslims’ attachment to God and their resilience to suffering

Ela Altin (current) Bilingual Psychotherapists’ Experiences of Conducting Bilingual Therapy

Perry WT Chan (current) Plugging into Dreaming Machines: A Rhizomatic Exploration of the Hong Kong Psyche Through Creative-Relational Inquiry

Mu-Fan Chen (current) Ripples of trauma: an investigation of intergenerational trauma on the descendants of the victims of the White Terror in Taiwan

Melissa D’Angelo (current) Mental Health TikTok in the Age of Uncertainty: Exploring the Impact of Adolescent Social Media Self-Diagnosis in the Therapeutic Relationship

Frederikke Blom Haure-Petersen (current) International Baccalaureate students’ experiences of emotional well-being

Peter Hellsten (current) Men engaging in high risk sex with other men: a qualitative, phenomenological and intersubjective enquiry

Marie Meechan (current) A qualitative inquiry into the psychological effects of an unexplained infertility diagnosis and loss: A response to counselling intervention

Moniq Muyargas (current) Navigating and Negotiating Identity while Aging: Narratives of Aging Gay Men and Lesbians for Health and Social Justice

Kevin O'Donnell (current) How do childhood experiences influence the narratives of adults with spina bifida?

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

Louise Prendergast (current) YO-CREATE: Yogic sleep, awakenings and creativity in trauma and addiction recovery

Kate Puglia (current) Performance Anxiety and Competitiveness in Counselling and Psychotherapy Training

Anita Rampat (current) Prisoners’ experiences of therapy and mental health care in Scottish prisons

Duncan Roebuck (current) How novice therapists experience the transition from training to practice: a phenomenological enquiry

Kayla Roden (current) Being the daughter of an incarcerated father: an autoethnographic journey

Anjum Shah (current) Mental Health & Shi’ism: a phenomenological analysis of Shia Muslim psychotherapy

Nikos Tsogkas (current) Transactional analysis for grief: a phenomenological study of transactional analysts' experience with grieving clients

Kate Uher (current) The experience of hurt, misunderstanding and misrepresentation of people with autism in education, health and social care

Buddhini Withana (current) Sociocultural pathways that shape children’s social and emotional functioning and their resilience to violence in an urban poor community in Sri Lanka

Isaac Yu (current) The development of a culturally-grounded psychotherapeutic model for Hong Kong

Maorr Zadok (Current) Show and tell: a psychoanalytic reflection on photography as a tool for unconscious story-telling in personal and clinical development


Past PhD students supervised

Jonathan Stockwell (2024) Making sense of father-son estrangement

Keith Evans (2024) Womb-life and Birth Stories: How explorations of our pre- and perinatal experiences can contribute to narratives of our Self

Joel Liwanag (2023) Shadows and silences: A creative-relational self-inquiry into the liminal space between what is seen and not seen, what is said and not said

Mounira Aldousari (2023) “Oh no! I think I am mentally colonised!” A Phenomenological Exploration of the Governmentality of Western Discourses in Shaping Counsellors’ Experiences in Kuwait

Nandini Manjunath (2023) Knowing-in-Being: A De/Colonial-New Materialist Collective Biography

Beverley Bruce (2022) Walking the Bridge between Yoga and Psychotherapy

Sui-Ping Chan (2022) An exploration of the trajectory of being a breast cancer patient through collaborative writing in imaginal dialogue

Junmei Wan (2022) Finding Father, finding Mei Mei: a Chinese Christian counsellor’s exploration on integration of Emotion Focused Therapy and Christian spirituality

Mariya Levitanus (2020) The negotiation of LGBT identities in post-soviet Kazakhstan

Holt Hauser (2020) Cardstock and Containment: Exploring Therapeutic Affect in 'Magic: the Gathering' for Adults 

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

Research summary

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

View all 16 publications on Research Explorer