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Therapists as Research Practitioners

Therapists as Research Practitioners (TRP)

Chair: Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson

Dr Alistair McBeath

Professor Simon du Plock

Dr Marie Adams

Dr Biljana van Rijn

Dr Julianna Challenor



Mental health research has “lagged behind many other areas in terms of priority, funding, and therefore discoveries” (Department of Health 2017, p.2)1. The TRP group focuses on how psychotherapists and counselling psychologists can progress as confident research practitioners. What are the opportunities and obstacles, personally, professionally, and academically for therapists in their transition into research? How can clinical practice and research be linked, and what support may be required for that to happen? Research supervision and teaching, academic writing and support at work have been some of our research themes so far.

The TRP group aims to enhance research training for counsellors, psychotherapists, and counselling psychologists by providing learning and professional development events, supporting research and best-practice developments, and making policy recommendations to promote effective and sustainable research training for therapists. These goals are valued as means to enhance the capability of therapists to engage with research-led knowledge with benefits both for themselves and, ultimately, for their clients.

Completed projects so far

· A narrative thematic inquiry into counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ engagement with research

· A mixed methods exploration of practitioners’ views on the relationship between psychotherapy practice and research

· A mixed-methods inquiry into counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ engagement in academic writing.

· A large scale research study exploring the motivations of psychotherapists including implications for training.

· Becoming a Research Practitioner. A meta-synthesis into therapists’ transitions in postgraduate research

· The challenges and experiences of psychotherapists working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic

Ongoing projects:

· A Mixed-method study into Research Supervision

· Making the transition from therapist to research practitioner: The role of reflective writing in postgraduate research

Recent TRP research impact and output:

·Peer reviewed articles and guest editorials

Bager-Charleson, S., McBeath, A, and Vostanis, P. (2020 November). Guest editors for Special issue for the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal (CPR) about ‘Mixed methods research’. Winter issue

Bager-Charleson, S., du Plock, S., McBeath, A and Adams, M. (2020 August). Therapists as research practitioners. A qualitative meta-synthesis through the lens of transition. European Journal Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy. Summer issue

Bager‐Charleson S, McBeath A, du Plock S (2019) The relationship between psychotherapy practice and research: A mixed‐methods exploration of practitioners’ views. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 2019;19:195–205. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12196

Bager-Charleson S. (2019) “She was on my side, and grounded me when I needed it:” Research supervision in the field of therapy, based on counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ views on their engagement with research. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 2019;19:358–365. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12258

Bager-Charleson, Du Plock, McBeath (2019) Guest editors for two Special issues for the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal (CPR) about “Therapists and Knowledge” Volume 3 and Volume 4. November and December 2019

Bager-Charleson, S., du Plock, S., McBeath, A (2018) “Therapists have a lot to add to the field of research, but many don’t make it there”. A narrative thematic inquiry into counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ embodied engagement with research. Journal for Language and Psychoanalysis, (7) 2018, http://www.language-and-psychoanalysis.com/article/view/2603

Bager-Charleson, S., Dewaele, J., Costa, B. & Kasap, Z. (2017) A Multilingual Outlook: Can Awareness-Raising about Multilingualism Affect Therapists’ Practice? A Mixed-Method Evaluation. Language and Psychoanalysis, 2017, 6 (2), 56-75 http://www.language-and-psychoanalysis.com/article/view/1900

Bager-Charleson & Kasap, Z. (2017a) Embodied Situatedness and Emotional Entanglement in Research. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 190–200, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/capr.12122/full

McBeath A. G. (2019). The motivations of psychotherapists: An in-depth survey. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 19(4), 377–387.

McBeath, A., Bager-Charleson, S., and Abarbanel, A. (2019) Therapists and Academic Writing: “Once upon a time psychotherapy practitioners and researchers were the same people”. European Journal Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy, Volume 9, 103-116. Vol. 9, 103-116

McBeath, A., du Plock, S., and Bager-Charleson, S (2020) The challenges and experiences of psychotherapists working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Volume 20, Issue 2.


Bager-Charleson, S. and McBeath, A. (2020 in Press) Enjoying doing Research about Therapy Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed method Research. London: Palgrave-MacMillan

Bager-Charleson, S. (2020) Reflective Practice and Personal Development in Counselling and Psychotherapy. 2nd ed. London: Sage

Seminar and Conference Presentation

July 2020 Seminar: Therapists as Research Practitioners. Transitions through the lenses of Access, Identity and Opportunity. University of Glasgow. UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/events/ac2020-155.aspx

March 2019 Seminar speaker, Professional Knowledge Seminar: Academic Writing

March 2019 Seminar speaker, Metanoia Research Academy; Research Methodology

March 2018. Keynote speaker, Metanoia research Academy. Therapists and Research – and Ambivalent Relationship?

July 2016. International Association for Counselling IAC conference, Malta University. Research Presentation “Research training for counsellors and psychotherapists - an international exploration" by Professor Wright and Dr Bager-Charleson

Metanoia Research Academy

This project is an outcome of studies, aimed to support ‘research-shy’ practitioners in their transition into research. It is an annually held event offering seminars about a broad range of research areas, open for staff, students and practitioner researchers within and outside of Metanoia

Metanoia Research Learning Hub

Also developed in response to the studies referenced, this project supports access to output resources from research conducted by Metanoia staff and candidates. It includes audio-visual presentations for conferences, for published papers, research Vivas and book chapters to highlight process and outcome for learning purposes. The main purpose of the Research Hub is to facilitate access to research-led knowledge for staff to support trainees in their research developments within the field of psychotherapy.

Collaborating Partners

The projects have involved collaboration with York St John University, Malta University, University of Oslo, Stockholm University, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy (EAIP).