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More information about the day's speakers and seminars

Keynote[ 9.00 -9.45]: Negotiating art and science in psychotherapy research, by Dr Felicitas Rost

Dr Felicitas Rost holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is a Lecturer in Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Open University. She is a past president of the SPR UK Chapter (2017-2020). Until recently, Felicitas was research lead and supervisor at the Tavistock and Portman NHS FT where she was involved with the Tavistock Adult Depression Study (TADS) and set up an enhanced ROM for individuals who present with sexual problematic and violent behaviours, and a pilot study on psychodynamic couples psychotherapy. Felicitas also works as an honorary psychodynamic psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Camden Psychotherapy Unit. Her current research interests are shaped by two beliefs: The need to build bridges between counselling and psychotherapy research and clinical practice; and the breaking down of arbitrary dichotomies between types of research


Seminar 1: The Influence of Supervisory and Mentoring Relationships on the Research Journey 

This session will explore the influence of supervisory and mentoring relationships on a researcher. You will be invited to explore your own experiences, hear of Lisa’s experience, learn from Sofie about the TRP group’s studies into supervision and join a discussion about how these crucial relationships can either help or hinder your growth and development as a researcher.  

Lisa Champion

Lisa is a third year PhD candidate at Metanoia Institute. Her research is a hermeneutic phenomenological exploration of how the self of the therapist appears in their therapeutic practice. She is also an individual and couple therapist in private practice in Sydney, Australia. 

Sofie Bager-Charleson

Sofie Bager-Charleson works as Director of Studies for PhD and Doctoral Development at the Metanoia Institute, chairing the Metanoia research group “Therapists as Research-informed Practitioners (TRP)” aimed to support psychotherapists and counselling psychologists to become confident researchers. She is also the co-editor with Dr Alistair McBeath of the recently released Supporting Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Research, with Palgrave MacMillan. You can access the TRP group on this link https://www.metanoia.ac.uk/research/research-groups-events


Seminar 2: Taking decolonisation in research further: who says what things ‘are’?

Professor Divine Charura and Professor Rachel Wicaksono, authors of “Doing arts-based decolonising research’*

Charura, D. and Wicaksono, R. (in print). ‘Doing arts-based decolonising research’, in S. Bager-Charleson and A. McBeath (eds) Supporting research in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Divine and Rachel about their duo-ethnography seminar: In this seminar, we briefly present some dilemmas we have faced in interpreting data collected with participants who had experienced migration. Using our perspectives from counselling and psychotherapy, and from applied linguistics, and incorporating aspects of our life histories and the various events that occurred during our study, we took a duo-ethnographic approach to our project. We show how we reflected on our desire to understand the meanings of our data, our life histories and events, and how the achievement and presentation of understandings can be (or always is?) an ontologically colonising move.

The seminar activities offer some points of reflection for all researchers; but especially for those researchers who work with participants whose meanings are generally less likely to be heard. We hope to be able to briefly raise, from a post-humanist perspective, the issue of what it means to have our ‘own truth’, and how this idea might help, and hinder, our efforts to de-colonise our research and our professional practice.

Preparative reading will be shared in advance, with the chapter titled Doing arts-based decolonising research’.

*Charura, D. and Wicaksono, R. (in print). ‘Doing arts-based decolonising research’, in S. Bager-Charleson and A. McBeath (eds) Supporting research in counselling and psychotherapy. Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Research. London: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Also follow this link for more information about the studies https://www.yorkshiddenstories.org/

Divine Charura


Divine Charura is a Professor of Counselling Psychology and programme director for the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at York St John University.

He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Counselling Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. He is registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in England. Divine is also an Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and an adult psychotherapist.  As a psychologist, psychotherapist and researcher, Divine’s work focuses on the impact of trauma across the lifespan. His pedagogical research interests are in qualitative, mixed, relational, constructivist, duoethnographic, and decolonial approaches. Divine has co-authored and edited numerous books in counselling, psychology and psychotherapy. These include Love and Therapy: In relationship [co-edited with Stephen Paul] and [co-edited with Colin Lago] the following books: The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook: Origins, Developments and Current Applications (2016) and recently: Black Identities + White Therapies: Race, Respect and Diversity (2021).  For a complete list of Divine’s publications please see: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/profile/2104


Rachel Wicaksono


Rachel Wicaksono is a Professor of TESOL and Applied Linguistics, and Head of the School of Education, Language and Psychology, at York St John University. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2013.

Rachel is currently a member of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Executive Committee. As a teacher of, and researcher into, the uses of English(es) for (international) communication, Rachel’s work focuses on the construction of meaning in contexts where difference (languages, cultures, educational traditions) are thought, by individuals and institutions, to be relevant. Her pedagogical research interests are in the practical/professional applications of thinking about ontology, and transformative research designs. Rachel has co-authored and edited journal articles, books and web-based CPD resources on Englishes, applied linguistics and research methods. These include [with Christopher J. Hall and Patrick H. Smith] Mapping Applied Linguistics: A Guide for Students and Practitioners (2017, second edn, Routledge), [with Christopher J Hall] Ontologies of English: Conceptualising the Language for Learning, Teaching and Assessment (2020, CUP), and [with Dasha Zhurauskaya] York’s Hidden Stories: Interviews in Applied Linguistics (Palgrave, 2020).  For a complete list of Rachel’s publications, please see: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/profile/1008 



External participants £40 – early bird up to 31st Dec. £30.

Students and Metanoia members £10

Click here to buy your ticket

Payment is accepted via credit or debit card.


Seminar 3: Drawing on Afrological conceptions of music to understand therapeutic improvisation. A constructivist grounded theory study.

In this seminar, Nicola presents her inter-disciplinary constructivist grounded theory of therapeutic improvisation. She proposes a model of therapy-as-art-making, bringing to light the central aesthetic practice employed by therapists: conversational improvisation.

Like artists in other fields, therapists conceive of improvisation as an embodied practice, in which something new or previously un-symbolised is realised. Therapists and artists provided rich accounts of how this happens, enabling Nicola to articulate three dialectical aspects of improvisation in therapy and in art-making across disciplines. Because therapeutic improvisation is not concerned with the production of a final object (such as a painting or a poem), its aesthetic dimension is often overlooked. But (as articulated by aesthetic philosopher George Lewis), this narrow conception in art is founded on a Eurological lens that only legitimises concrete forms as art such as a musical score. By contrast, the Afrological diasporic sense of music (from which, for example, jazz and blues emerge) is not located in composed objects, but in the experimental, radical, and social practice of music-making.

This reading of improvisation can afford therapists a language to understand and deepen their own artistic and emancipatory therapeutic practice.

Nicola Blunden

Nicola Blundenis Director of Studies for the BSc in Person-Centred Pluralistic Counselling at Metanoia Institute. She has been a therapist and supervisor working for two decades in the economically deprived South Wales valleys. In addition to private practice, Nicola’s work has often been inter-disciplinary, traversing professional silos. She has supervised domestic and sexual violence advocates and medical geneticists, she has been a member of multi-disciplinary teams for women with metastatic cancer, and she has trained a wide range of professionals (such as nurses, sign-language interpreters, priests, and educators) to become consultative supervisors in their fields. Her interest in inter-disciplinarity is pluralistic and person-centred, valuing the diverse forms of knowledge and phronesis that live at the heart of professional human practice. She is currently authoring the third edition of Next Steps in Counselling Practice for PCCS Books.


Seminar 4: Trying Something Different! Conducting relational research using Free Association Narrative Interviews

“In this seminar, I will provide a reflexive, first person account of the process of conducting and publishing my doctoral research on the role of sexual attraction is psychotherapy. The focus will be on the process of deciding on the methodology and method, given that this task can be particularly complex and anxiety provoking for new researchers and doctoral students. Because of the sensitivity of my research topic and my desire to find a way of researching which would be more congruent with my therapeutic work, I was interested in finding and developing research methodology which would broaden the epistemological position to include the notions of ‘unknown’, ‘embodied’, and ‘unconscious’ knowledge. My ultimate choice and the topic of this seminar was a relatively seldom used Psychosocial Methodology (Clarke and Hoggett, 2009; Cummins and Williams, 2018; Stamenova and Hinshelwood, 2018) and Hollway and Jefferson’s (2008) hybrid method ‘Free association narrative interview’ which I found particularly well suited for bridging the practitioner-researcher gap (Archard, 2019) in counselling psychology and psychotherapy”.

Dr Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood

Dr Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood is a BPS Chartered Counselling and Occupational Psychologist and a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist, working in a variety of occupational roles: as a therapist in private practice, as a lecturer and as an organisational consultant and a coach. She teaches Research Methods on DCPsych programme at Metanoia Institute. Read more about the programme on this link https://www.metanoia.ac.uk/programmes/counselling-psychology/

Jasenka is also the co-editor of the book by Van Rijn, B. and Lukac-Greenwood, J. (eds) (2020) Working with sexual attraction in psychotherapy and supervision, A Humanistic – Relational approach. London: Routledge 


Seminar 5: Reducing Stigma: Using Avatars in Counselling with Autistic Adults from Black and Ethnic Minority Backgrounds.

In this seminar I will present our BACP-funded pilot research project which aims to explore whether the use of avatars and a virtual world can make counselling more accessible and effective for autistic adults from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds. Typically, this population is less likely to seek counselling and therapy services - partly due to the stigma sometimes attached to seeking psychological support in these communities, but also because traditional methods used in counselling do not sit well with typical autistic ways of thinking.  

The project is a collaboration between Metanoia and three community organisations:


  •        Autus (an autistic peoples user led charity),
  •        3DNovations (an autistic led social tech firm) and
  •        A2nd Voice (supporting African, Caribbean, Asian and minority ethnic [ACAME] autistic people and their families in accessing and gaining support).


Autistic individuals are involved in various stages of the design, from the therapeutic intervention to the training of the therapists to be able to use the virtual world. 

In this seminar, I will highlight methodological decisions made to ensure that the procedure, data collection and analytic strategy

a) meet the needs of our participants, while also

b) capturing meaningful data that is robust enough to produce publishable results. 

Dr Ariana Jordan

Dr Ariana Jordan is a chartered counselling psychologist and systemic practitioner. She is Director of Studies of the DCPsych programme at Metanoia (Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy). In addition to her DoS role, Ariana has a private practice where she works with individuals, families and couples. Her two key specialisms and research interests are in improving accessibility to psychological therapies for those with autistic traits and also the interaction of the developmental stage of midlife with key relationships, including with oneself.

You can read more about the DCPsych programme on this link https://www.metanoia.ac.uk/programmes/counselling-psychology/


Seminar 6: Doing Longitudinal Research into the Role of Loneliness among Partnered Dementia Caregivers.

Julian-Pascal’s seminar revolves around a study published in 2021 about the role of loneliness in mediating the development of depressive symptoms among partnered dementia caregivers. Alongside his colleagues, they collected prospective data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing which consisted of 4,672 partnered adults between the ages of 50-70 in England and Wales. Data spanned the years 2006-2015 allowing them to track changes in depressive symptoms across time and to investigate the influence of loneliness on this outcome. They used a binary logistic regression model to analyse the data, and found that loneliness partially mediated depressive symptoms in partnered dementia caregivers at follow-up, but not among caregivers of partners with other conditions (e.g. cancer, stroke…etc.). They highlight the importance of considering loneliness among partnered dementia caregivers when delivering public health interventions, policies and for therapeutic intervention.

Dr Julian-Pascal Saadi 

Dr Julian-Pascal Saadi is a Specialist Counselling Psychologist working in a Secondary Care NHS service. He specialises in Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversity and so much of his clinical expertise is related to LGBTQIA+ mental health. Julian also runs a private practice and is a lecturer on the DCPsych course at Metanoia.



External participants £40 – early bird up to 31st Dec. £30.

Students and Metanoia members £10

Click here to buy your ticket

Payment is accepted via credit or debit card.


Seminar 7: Creative use of Outcome Research - Why therapy outcomes matter (and why not)

This seminar will discuss the outcomes of psychological therapies: why we should/should not examine outcomes, and how we can measure them. First, we will examine why it can be helpful to examine outcomes, such as justifying our practices and getting accepted by health services and insurances. Second, we will look at an overview of research on therapy outcomes. Yes, the conclusions are friendly: we will see that most bona fide types of therapies have equivalent positive effects on clients. Third, we will examine what types of outcomes we can measure with questionnaires. Fourth, we discuss how we can design a research project to examine outcomes, including the importance of not merely looking at the statistical significance of our outcomes but also at reliable and clinically significant improvements. Fifth, we will discuss how we can evaluate or audit our own clinical practices (thus, outcomes in clinical practice instead of a research project). Sixth, we will discuss that outcomes are not the panacea: outcomes should be seen as one part of a larger story of psychological therapies. The presentation will finalise with the example of the therapeutic outcomes in the Metanoia Counselling and Psychotherapy Services (MCPS).

Dr Joel Vos PhD MSc MA CPsychol FHEA is a Senior Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the Metanoia Institute. He has published over 120 articles and chapters and nine books. Most of his publications focus on humanistic and existential therapies, social justice, and the impact of politics/economics on mental health. Joel has published ten randomized controlled trials, and has supervised 60 doctorate students investigating the processes and outcomes of psychological therapies. Key books are ‘Meaning in life: an evidence-based handbook for practitioners’; ‘The Economics of Meaning in life’; ‘The psychology of COVID-19’ and ‘Mental health in crisis’. In 2023, Sage will publish his book that will guide students in developing their research projects: ‘Doing research in psychological therapies: a step-by-step guide’. Read more on joelvos.com Joel is also Director of IMEC International Meaning Events and Conferences: meaning.org.uk


Seminar 8: The benefits of harvesting both qualitative and quantitative data in psychotherapy research.


Dr Alistair McBeath champions mixed methods research to challenge classic paradigmatic divides, drawing on qualitative and quantitative data to add value and depth of meaning in psychotherapy research. He details the development of the Reflective Online Practitioner Survey (ROPS) and offers expert teaching about how to produce an effective survey. The seminar starts with some early research findings around the motivations of psychotherapists which first drew his attention to the possible benefits of following a mixed methods approach to research. Alistair will present some later research on the challenges that faced therapists during the Covid pandemic and also research around students’ experience of research supervision to further illustrate the value of mixed methods research. Some ongoing research will be presented to illustrate the power of the qualitative story completion method in which research participants have the opportunity to provide their own account of how a possible presented scenario might play out.

Dr Alistair McBeath

Alistair McBeath is a chartered psychologist and UKCP registered psychotherapist. He is a Director of Studies at the Metanoia Institute. Alistair is a senior practitioner member of the British Psychology Society’s directory of psychologists specialising in psychotherapy. As an active researcher Alistair is keen to promote the concept of the researcher-practitioner where research is an activity possible for all practitioners and not the preserve of distanced academics. Most of Alistair’s research follows a mixed methods approach where both quantitative and qualitative data are harvested and valued for providing added understanding of research questions. Most of Alistair’s research is done in collaboration with his Metanoia colleague Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson and together they have co-edited two notable research focused books – Enjoying Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Supporting Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy. For a complete list of Alistair’s publications please see this link: Dr McBeath publications.


Final session: Book launch for Supporting research in counselling and psychotherapy*.

How can we support counsellors, psychotherapists, and counselling psychologists to thrive as research-informed practitioners? Following up the ‘Enjoying Research’, the book ‘Supporting Research in counselling and psychotherapy’ book obstacles and opportunities for therapists when seeking to inhabit the space between art and science to develop psychotherapy.

*Bager-Charleson, S. and McBeath, A.G (eds) (2022, in print) Supporting research in counselling and psychotherapy. Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed methods Research. London: Palgrave, Macmillan.

The book ‘Working with Sexual Attraction in Psychotherapy Practice and Supervision’ addresses challenges associated with sexual attraction in psychotherapy practice and supervision, and helps therapists, supervisors, and managers to navigate them with openness and self-reflection. It draws on Lukac-Greenwood’s research, illustrating how research can trigger new angles to practice. The book focuses on practical and applied issues, relational humanistic-integrative theoretical approach as a backdrop for understanding. Split into three parts, it deals with issues related to clinical practice, supervision and ethical issues.

*van Rijn, B & Lukac-Greenwood, J (2020) Working with Sexual Attraction in Psychotherapy Practice and Supervision: A Humanistic-Relational Approach. London: Routledge



9.00 – 9.45

Keynote (and discussion)

Dr Felicitas Rost – “Negotiating art and science in psychotherapy research”.

9.45 – 10.00



10.00 – 11.30

1. A phenomenological experience of research and research supervision, by Lisa Champion 


5. Reducing Stigma: Using Avatars in Therapy with Autistic People from Black and Ethnic Minority Backgrounds, by Dr Ariana Jordan




12.00 -13.30

2. Taking decolonisation in research further: who says what things ‘are’? by Professor Divine Charura and Professor Rachel Wicaksono

6. Evidence from Longitudinal Study of Ageing: The role of loneliness in the development of depressive symptoms among partnered dementia caregivers, by Dr J. P. Saadi




14.00 – 15.30

3. Drawing on Africological music for theory about ‘presence’ in therapy. A constructivist grounded theory study, by Nicola Blunden.

7. Creative use of Outcome research, by Dr Joel Vos

15.30- 15.45



16.00 -17.30

4. Trying Something Different! Conducting relational research using Free Association Narrative Interviews, by Dr Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood


8. Mixed methods Research. Theories for integration and examples from ‘qualitative surveys’ with story completion questions. by Dr Alistair McBeath

17.30 – 18.00

Final discussions and Book launch!




External participants £40 – early bird up to 31st Dec. £30.

Students and Metanoia members £10

Click here to buy your ticket

Payment is accepted via credit or debit card.