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Seminars & Speakers 2017 - Day 1

Day 1 - Monday 5th June 2017 Research and Relational Knowing

09:00-10:00   Keynote Lecture with Dr Linda Finlay

‘Embodying research in relational and phenomenological ways’

Then choose ONE(1) Methodology for the rest of the day

Option 1


Linda Finlay

Option 2


Saira Gracie Razzaq

Option 3


Claire Asherson Bartram

Option 4

Thematic Analysis

Nikki Hayfield


Option 1: PHENOMENOLOGY– Speaker: Dr Linda Finlay

Linda Finlay, Key Note Theme:

‘Embodying research in relational and phenomenological ways’ 

Phenomenology is an umbrella term encompassing a philosophical movement and a range of research approaches. It is a way of seeing how things appear to us through experience. More than a method, phenomenology demands an open way of being—one that examines taken-for-granted human situations as they are experienced in everyday life but which go typically unquestioned.

Phenomenological researchers seek to return to embodied, experiential meanings of the world directly experienced. We strive for fresh, complex, rich description of phenomena as concretely lived. We ask, “What is this kind of experience like?” “How does the lived world present itself to me?”  Yet when it comes to deciding how best to carry out this research in practice, debates abound. Researchers vary in how they enact phenomenological being and seeing. Some approaches to phenomenology emphasize description; others interpretive layers. Some insist on a rigorous, scientific method; others seek poetic, artistic flourish.

Whatever variant of phenomenology is practiced, there are underlying commonalities in the research process. The researcher begins with a phenomenological attitude, which is one of openness and wonder. This special way of ‘seeing with fresh eyes’ savours the phenomenon being described and focuses on the meaning of situation as implicitly lived rather than on what people say or any abstract generalisations. Then in the analysis and writing up phases, the researcher aims to describe and evoke the phenomenon in a deep way to capture something of its complexity, layers and ambiguity.

The aim of this workshop is to introduce some of the key ideas in phenomenological research.  Through a mixture of demonstration and practical activities, the nature of phenomenological data collection and analysis will be explored. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges of engaging phenomenological research and to explore the relevance of phenomenological ways of being in psychotherapy practice.

Dr Linda Finlay, biography:

Department of Psychology, The Open University, UK



Linda Finlay, is a relational-centred, existential Integrative Psychotherapist in private practice. She is also a leading figure in phenomenological research and she both supervises/mentors students’ doctoral research and teaches qualitative research methodology in institutions across Europe. In addition, she teaches psychology and writes with the Open University. Her research interest is in applying hermeneutic, reflexive-relational phenomenological approaches to exploring the lived experience of disability and trauma.

Linda has published widely including two research orientated books: Phenomenology for therapists (Wiley, 2011) and Relational-centred research for psychotherapists (co-authored with Ken Evans; Wiley 2009). Her latest book practice-orientated book is titled Relational Integrative Psychotherapy: Process and theory in practice (Wiley, 2016).




Option 2: AUTOETHNOGRAPHY– Speaker: Dr. Saira Gracie Razzaq 

Autoethnography has been developed from ethnography, anthropology and sociology studies and it serves to challenge traditional historical relations of power. Autoethnograpy is the study of the awareness of the self (auto) within culture (ethnic); it is a way to connect the personal within the cultural and socio-political context and explores how one becomes Othered within this.  This allows for the remaking and understanding of subjective experience from creative and analytic first-person accounts through the use of use of interviews, dialogues, self-conscious writing and other creative forms to facilitate an expanded awareness for the author and audience.

I would describe Autoethnography as the evocative making of a 'heartfelt space' where woundedness and complexity can be illuminated and uncovered. Where the relationship between the researcher and the researched is made transparent in the work and as a researcher you to intrapsychically travel to places that have yet to be visited in this way.

Dr. Saira Gracie Razzaq biography

BSc, MA, MSc, Dip. Psych, DPsych, C.Psychol, AFBPsS

BPS Chartered Psychologist, HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologist, UKCP Registered Psychotherapist



Saira has been the Director of Psychology and Well-being Services (NHS) for over the last twenty years, where she has gained considerable experience in providing therapy for a wide range clients groups; she also has a long established private practice in psychotherapy and supervision. In addition, Saira is currently a primary tutor on the DCPych programme and offers training, clinical and research supervision to help trainees nurture their skills and reflect on their clinical practice, competencies and the journey of integration. 

Saira’s research project was an authoethnographic exploration into transforming the wounds of racism that attempted to produce new ways of thinking about the familiar and bridge the divide between psychotherapy and creative autoethnographic methodologies.

This was done in order to find the subjugated voices of racist trauma that could reflect an evocative, situated, lived and critically edged experience that is sometimes absent within the research endeavour. The research was a collaborative activity that interweaved her own own story, that of her family and professional group to produce a multi-voiced narrative account and the potential for healing and connection.




Option 3: HEURISTIC RESEARCH into stepfamilies – Speaker: Dr. Claire Asherson Bartram

Heuristic Inquiry is described as a series of six stages of processing moving from initial engagement, through immersion, incubation, illumination, explication and creative synthesis (Moustakas, 1981; Barber, 2006). The person of the researcher is recognised as the primary research tool; a crucible for processing data.

The six stages of Heuristic Inquiry are more the description of a learning process than a blueprint for research, they emerge organically and need not be imposed by the researcher.  Also describing the heuristic process as a journey, Barber writes ‘In heuristic inquiry, autobiographical and ‘meditative’ reflections come especially to the fore (Douglass and Moustakas 1984) as the researcher questions ‘What is my experience of this phenomenon?’ and ‘What is the essential experience of others who share a similar experience to my own?’ Indeed the researcher’s effort to travel ever deeper into his/her inner experiencing of a specific theme surrenders him/her to an experiential journey sign-posted by six interrelating phases' (Barber, 2006, p78).

Dr. Claire Asherson Bartram, biography:



Claire Asherson Bartram is a psychotherapist, group facilitator and supervisor in private practice.  She teaches Counselling Skills at the Minster Centre and supervises MA and doctoral dissertations.  She qualified with a diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy in 1991.  In 2009 she completed her doctorate at Metanoia Institute, which focused on the experiences of Mothers in Stepfamily Situations. 

Arising from her research she created a method of depicting complicated family relationships: a version of genograms which she calls ‘Family Biograms’.  She runs workshops exploring the dynamics of what she now calls ‘Free Form’ families and founded ‘StepIn ASAP Advancing Stepfamily Awareness in Practice. Her work and interests have always been influenced by the course of her personal life important factors of which include being a hippy when she was young, music, meditation, a mother, stepmother and grandmother. 


Further Reading:

Asherson Bartram, C. (2009). Narratives of Mothers in Stepfamily Situations; an Exploratory Investigation. Institute of Work Based Learning. London, Middlesex University and Metanoia Institute. DPsych.

Barber, P. (2006). Becoming a Practitioner Researcher. A Gestalt Approach to Holistic Inquiry. London, Middlesex University Press.

Belenky, M. F., B. M. Clinchy, et al. (1986). Women's Ways of Knowing, The Development of Self, Voice and Mind, London: Basic Books.

Denzin N. K. and Y.S. Lincoln (2005). The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research. In The Sage Handbood of Qualitative Research N. K. Denzin and Y.S. Linkoln, Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications.

Douglass, B. G., & Moustakas, C. E. (1984). Heuristic inquiry: The internal search to know. Detroit, MI: Center for Humanistic Studies.

Etherington, K. (2004). Becoming a Reflexive Researcher. Using ourselves in research. London and Philadelphia, Jessica Kingsley.

Finlay, L. and K. Evans, Eds. (2009). Relational-centred Research for Psychotherapists; exploring meanings and experiences, London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Moustakas, C. (1981). Heuristic Research. In. Human Inquiry: A source book of New Paradigm Research. J. R. Peter Reason. NY: J. Wiley.

Portwood, D. (2009). Assesment of DPsych Final Project, Middlesex University



Option 4: THEMATIC ANALYSIS– Speaker: Dr Nikki Hayfield

Early use of the term thematic analysis could refer to a wide range of methods for analysing data. However, since the publication of Braun and Clarke’s (2006) paper, their approach has become the most commonly used within and beyond psychology.

Thematic analysis provides a six phase approach to coding and analysing qualitative data, that enables researchers to be systematic and rigorous in their identification of themes. It offers a great deal of flexibility, particularly in relation to the range of theoretical approaches and methods of data collection that can be suitable for thematic analysis.

This means that thematic analysis can be realist, critical realist, or constructionist, and used to analyse many types of data, including interviews, focus groups, and qualitative surveys. Due to this flexibility, there are a number of choices that need to be made by researchers when designing the study, collecting the data, and analysing the dataset.

Thematic analysis is suitable for those who want to engage in research around experiences and understandings as well as practices and behaviours, and requires those who use the method to reflect upon their part in the process of data analysis.

Dr Nikki Hayfield, biography:

BSc, PhD, C.Psychol



Dr Nikki Hayfield is a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. She teaches social psychology, sexualities, and qualitative research methods on undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Nikki’s research interests are sexualities, relationships, and alternative families and she uses qualitative methods of data collection (e.g., interviews, focus groups, and story completion tasks) and analysis (e.g., thematic analysis). Nikki’s PhD, completed in 2011, was a feminist mixed-methods exploration of bisexual women's (visual) identities (completed in the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE). She is currently undertaking UWE funded research that explores how bisexual people form and maintain intimate relationships within the wider context of 'biphobia' and bisexual marginalisation.

Nikki is also continuing to disseminate findings from British Academy funded research, with Victoria Clarke, Sonja Ellis, and Gareth Terry, on the lived experiences of heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual and queer women who choose not to have children. In 2014 she organised a week long residential Qualitative Research Methods Summer School with Victoria Clarke and Virginia Braun at UWE. She also recently contributed to a BPS funded seminar series entitled New Frontiers of Family with Victoria Clarke, Naomi Moller and Fiona Tasker, exploring non-traditional family forms.

Nikki has published on a range of topics including bisexual identities, bisexual marginalisation, and childfree identities. She has also published book chapters and journal papers on qualitative research methods, including thematic analysis, insider/outsider research, and story completion tasks. She acts as a reviewer for a number of journals, including Feminism and Psychology, Psychology and Sexuality, and Gender and Society. Nikki is a chartered psychologist and a committee member of the British Psychological Society's (BPS) Psychology of Sexualities Section.