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Programme details: seminars (1-5)

Keynote [9.30 – 10:15] ‘How to do research that makes a difference’ by Professor Naomi Moller

Professor Naomi Moller is Head of Discipline in the School of Psychology and Counselling at The Open University. She started at The Open University in July 2014 as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, became a senior lecturer in 2016, and became a professor in 2021. Her previous academic job was at the University of the West of England (UWE), where she was associate head of the Department of Psychology and, later, associate head of the Department of Health and Social Sciences. She has also previously worked (part-time) as Joint Head of Research (2016-2018) and (subsequently) as a Research Consultant (2018-2020) for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. A counselling psychologist by training, she sees a small number of therapy clients weekly (pro bono) through the charity Listening Post in Gloucestershire. She has published various journal articles and books and is a reviewer for several psychotherapy journals. Naomi has a deep belief in the value of research for counselling and psychotherapy practice.


Seminar 1: Participative research models - how to bring in the client voice.

Participative research methods originate in social sciences and education have been linked to action inquiries involving iterative cycles of reflection, implementation and evaluation within social, educational and organisational. An essential characteristic of participative research is meaningful engagement of all stakeholders, and this has implications for research design, research process and ethics. In that sense, participative research has a role in many methods used in psychotherapy research in developing and evaluating treatments and developing insight into the client experience.

In this workshop, I will present some of the principles of participative action research, and you will have an opportunity to explore how to develop meaningful engagement.


Dr Biljana van Rijn is a Faculty Head of Research and Doctoral Programmes at Metanoia Institute in London, where she leads the research centre and doctoral programmes in psychotherapy and counselling psychology. Biljana conducts practice-based research projects with a particular interest in theory-building case study research and the process of assimilation. She has authored numerous research publications using the qualitative, mixed method and quantitative methodologies as well as book and book chapters on clinical assessment and working with sexual attraction in counselling and psychotherapy. She is currently a President of the UK Chapter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research.

Seminar 2: Research is like wild swimming - the development of a Relational '3C'-model for Research Supervision.

Research supervision remains an under-theorised, under-regulated, and often unsupported profession. This seminar focuses on what research supervisors and research supervisees regard as ‘helpful’ supervision on doctoral programmes in the field of counselling, psychotherapy, and counselling psychology. The seminar refers to a mixed methods study consisting of an online survey (N=226) with closed and open questions and optional interviews (10) analysed by ‘artfully interpretive reflexive thematic analysis’ (Braun, Clarke et al 2022). It describes the development of a suggested ‘relational 3C model’ with clarity, containment, and compassion as key supervisory tenets across at least 8 stages ranging from supervisory contracts to research completion. In the quantitative data research knowledge and empathy were rated almost as equally important by both supervisees and supervisors. The free text comments and the interviews resonated with that, expanding on what research knowledge and empathy meant for different people. The interviews added metaphors to explain and represent something abstract or “difficult to explain” and, in some cases, adding context to the experience. The metaphors ranged from describing the supervisor to a ‘telescope’ that helped to see far, to her/him ‘acting like a stethoscope’ to connect the supervisees with her/his inner resources. A wild swimming metaphor which emphasised a balance between clarity, containment and compassion helped to shape our suggested 3C model, subsequently explored in a focus group of 10 supervisor trainees as described at the end of the paper


 Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson is a UKCP- and BACP-registered psychotherapist and supervisor. She works as Associate Supervisor and Senior Fellow (SFHEA) at the Metanoia Institute. She co-founded the Research Academy in 2017 and chairs the research group “Therapists as Research-informed Practitioners (TRP)” to support psychotherapists and counselling psychologists to become confident researchers.

Sofie is also an honorary Senior Research Fellow at City, University of London, and has published 8 textbooks - including the complementing ‘Enjoying Research’ (2020) and ‘Supporting Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy’ (2022) covering qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research, by Palgrave McMillan.





Seminar 3: 'Researcher Reflexivity: Working with multiple lenses'.

We will explore into the intricate world of researcher reflexivity - an awareness of the researcher's self (or selves) within the research process - guided by the mantra "You've got to know the rules to break them." Bager-Charleson (2014) advocates for multiple lenses. The presenter, through autoethnography, duoethnography and case study, unveils the practical application of these concepts in studies concerned with modelling change in psychotherapy and exploring power dynamics in the therapeutic space. Autoethnography as methodology is presented as a gateway to uncharted meanings, offering unique insights often elusive in traditional research methods. The reflexive researcher may immerse themselves in the power of imagery, metaphor, and theatricality (Croke and Freshwater, 2024) to communicate subtle changes and make visible the implicit processes of knowledge construction.


Dr John Hills is the Director of Studies for the MSc Integrative Psychotherapy at the Metanoia Institute. Holding a PhD from the University of Leeds, his dissertation focused on autoethnography and a multi-case study, exploring the modelling of change in self-narratives and embodied experience. Since 2019, he has led postgraduate research degrees at Leeds Beckett University, where he also served as the research coordinator for the Psychological Therapies and Mental Health subject group. John's research interests span heuristic methods, systems thinking in representing complex interventions, and theories of change in psychotherapy. He recently served as local host for the Society for Psychotherapy Research's 2022 UK conference in Leeds and currently supervises four PhD. students. His latest research article is 'A Duoethnographic Study of Power and Privilege in the Psychotherapeutic Space: Dialogical Research as Professional Development


Seminar 4: The importance of being earnest - clarity of alignment between epistemology and design'.

Research is a beautiful journey of discovery but can be a treacherous path. The path chosen is informed by the findings desired, or the answer to the research question, which, in turn, is informed by our views on acquisition of knowledge, or epistemology.  Since the findings are intended to be communicated to others, this view and the path taken also need to be made explicit, for others to follow our way of thinking or argue against it. The presentation will explore the options of available paths, depending on the view on acquisition of knowlwdge.



Dr Cristina Harnagea is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the BPS and HCPC registered psychologist. At Metanoia Institute, she is Director of Studies for the Doctor of Psychotherapy by Professional Studies programme and the MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapeutic Theory and Practice programme. Cristina supervises projects and conducts research in the field of interpersonal psychology, the dynamics of power and proximity in relating behaviour, relating styles, parental relating and emotional regulation.

Seminar 5: Argumentation in academic writing: from literature review to research question.

Therapists are not strange to the argumentation process, including, for example, the concepts of changing perspective (e.g. reframing), integrating opposing polarities (e.g. self-part theories), reflexivity, and intra and interpersonal dialogue. Such concepts could be seen as transferable to academic writing and research. In this seminar, we will discuss argumentation as a process and outcome underpinning the qualitative researcher’s critical thinking. In particular, we will discuss the process of critically reading research, promoting dialectical thinking, and synthesising research findings. This process should hopefully lead to formulating the research gap as a central argument supporting a proposed research study. Argumentation models will be used to help represent the process of critical thinking at the macro (e.g., chapter level) and micro (e.g., paragraph level) level. A typology of types of research gaps will be discussed to help inform the outcome of the argumentation process.


Dr Evi Chryssafidou is a lecturer at the DPsych in Psychotherapy by Professional Studies and in the MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapeutic Theory and Practice at the Metanoia Institute. Evi has an interdisciplinary research background (BA in Media Studies, MSc in Human-Computer Interaction, University of Sussex) and a PhD in the psychology of writing from the University of Birmingham. She has a long experience conducting research projects and raising research funds. Her research has always focused on evaluating the impact of interventions using quantifiable outcomes and systematic qualitative analysis in various areas, such as counselling, social interaction skills, and academic writing. Since 2016, she has engaged in research in counselling and psychotherapy. She has previously taken up research posts at Metanoia Institute, Roehampton University, the UCL London Institute of Education, and the Birmingham University Medical School. She is a BACP-registered integrative psychotherapist.