Keith Walmsley-Smith discusses mid-life crises on BBC Radio Derby

Keith Walmsley-Smith (Lecturer in Psychotherapeutic Counselling) was featured on BBC Radio Derby’s Sally Pepper Show (Monday 20th November 2017) discussing why some people experience a ‘mid-life crisis’ and whether there are any possible benefits to behaving younger than your actual age.

 

You can hear Keith’s interview via the BBC iPlayer link below (from 1 hour, 16 minutes approx. into the show):

BBC Radio Derby: Sally Pepper Show (20/11/17)

Keith teaches counselling to students studying Staffordshire University’s BSc (Hons) Psychology & Counselling degree and professional postgraduate counselling courses.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

 

What is Neuropsychoanalysis? Dr David Goss explains…

Dr David Goss

Dr. David Goss (Lecturer in Counselling & Psychology and a  member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about the field of Neuropsychoanalysis and attending a recent conference on neuropsychoanalysis:

Similar to Ronseal quick drying wood stain, Neuropsychoanalysis (NPSA) is exactly what it says on the tin; it’s an integration of neuroscience and psychoanalysis, combining modern quantitative neuroscience research with qualitative, psychoanalytical theories of the mind. The aim is to provide an integrated approach to further understanding human existence.

Attending the 18th annual congress of the International NPSA Society at University College London (UCL), my mind (or brain?) was ready to take on a whole range of subjects and learning. A range of speakers presented talks on fantastic subjects, but perhaps the one that stood out was a discussion on the nature of consciousness. The intention of this blog article is to present the idea that consciousness resides in feeling.

Discussions of consciousness often revolve around the notion of thinking, the narrative of the “I” and other cognitions such as daydreaming and rumination. A popular quote in philosophy is Rene Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” – an example of the premier role ascribed to thought in defining consciousness. But maybe “we feel therefore we are”?  Clear your mind of thought for a moment, stare blankly at the space in front of you, are you not still conscious? All of your homeostatic feelings, thirst, hunger, attraction, approach, avoidance…when we are in moments of flow, reacting to a threat or external situation, we often do not have time to think, we operate from feeling. Feeling is at the core of what drives our actions and guides us through life, yet we often try and think our way through things.

The 2017 NPSA Conference

The cortex, an area which is often suggested to play a key role in cognition/thinking, sits at the top of the brain (geographically). The more primitive and ancient feeling centres sit further below, in limbic system and brain stem regions. This evolutionary layout in itself highlights the core and primitive role that feelings play in our experience. Mark Solms, chair of the NPSA society has presented the example of a young child who suffers from hydraencelaphy, a condition which results in the absence of a cerebral cortex (i.e., thinking part of her brain) and yet when her baby brother is placed in her arms, she smiles with what seems to be happiness and joy. As such, is she therefore not consciously experiencing the process of holding her baby brother, without thinking about it?

I say these words not to try and convert or push a viewpoint upon you, solely just to highlight the important role that feelings play in determining our core experience. Just something for you to think – or feel – about!


Dr. David Goss has recently published a chapter on ‘Working with Neuroscience and Neuropsychology‘ in the Fourth Edition of the SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy (click here for more details).


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Doreen Fleet discusses using sand-trays in Counselling practice

Doreen F

Doreen Fleet

Doreen Fleet (Senior Lecturer in Counselling and a member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) is conducting a multiple case study using sand-tray with adults in short-term therapy from a pluralistic perspective and blogs about her recently published research:

Sand-tray therapy is a creative intervention and involves the use of a sand-tray and a collection of objects (see below for examples). The objects act as physical metaphors or symbols to represent a client’s inner–experience, personal history, personal relationships and their relationship to the wider world.

Doreen, in her article published in Private Practice in 2015, says:

In my view sand-tray therapy has something to offer over and above talking therapy; it appears that the client shifts from being stuck and overwhelmed in their pain to being able to explore and express it” (p17).

Being able to express and externalize their pain involves the client becoming “observer and experiencer simultaneously” they are able to take one step out of their pain, without losing connection to thought and feeling” (p17). This process enables the client to go further in their exploration and often brings new insight and relief from working through previously unexpressed emotion.

Jul16 DFleet SandTray 2 Jul16 DFleet SandTray

In the ongoing multiple case study using sand-tray, Doreen takes the dual role of counsellor-researcher. Doreen, along with her supervisors Dr. Amy Burton, Dr. Andrew Reeves and Dr. Mani Das Gupta have had a paper accepted by Qualitative Research in Psychology entitled ‘A case for the dual-role of counsellor-researcher in qualitative research’ which is now in press.

The article explores how the dual role of counsellor-researcher was managed in the study and a case example taken from the multiple case study is incorporated to illustrate how taking the dual role is a legitimate approach in qualitative research. Some researchers argue against taking a dual role in research, warning that the different roles have conflicting obligations and expectations which are not easily resolved (Kitchener, 1988).  Doreen, in her new paper (2016) challenges this and would echo Dallos and Vetere (2005) who state that practice-based data is convincing evidence for counselling research as “it captures the miracle of therapy in a way that statistics and randomized controls cannot” (p131).  Doreen and her supervisors argue that this research approach is highly relevant to counselling, as it closes the gap between research and counselling practice.


Are you interested in studying for a Counselling qualification?

Staffordshire University offers counselling courses ranging from Foundation Degrees with local partner colleges, undergraduate degrees (including a British Psychological Society accredited BSc Psychology and Counselling degree) and postgraduate counselling qualifications at our Stoke-on-Trent City Campus:

Counselling Workshop on Systemic Practice for North Staffs Mind

Nov15 Couns Blog BM

Beverley Meakin

Belinda Priestley and Beverley Meakin, lecturers in Counselling from Staffordshire University’s Psychology Department, blog about a recent Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop they gave to counsellors from the North Staffordshire Mind organisation.

On Saturday 19th September we delivered a one day CPD workshop on Systemic Practice to an enthusiastic group of 24 counsellors from North Staffs Mind. Mind contacted our counselling team and requested an Introduction to Systemic Practice as their counsellors often have to see a partner or carer of adult clients, or parents of young people they work with. It can be quite a challenge to manage therapeutic conversations with more than one person in the room!

A Systemic Approach pays attention to communication patterns, the interpersonal aspects of relationships and the context of the people concerned as well as the ethical and organisational contexts. Family dynamics can be a powerful influence and a therapist can find themselves in a very different environment with family members present rather than on a one to one with the client.

The enthusiasm and openness of the group from Mind helped the day develop into a fascinating experience as participants reflected on their own contexts, family dynamics and ethical concerns. They built on knowledge and skills through engaging in a very life like role play scenario! Feedback was really helpful for us to develop the day further and very clear about what was most worthwhile and enjoyable.

Surprisingly I enjoyed the role play!’ commented one participant ‘I feel I gained from every aspect of the CPD

Others found the role play difficult and the small group exercises more useful ‘looking at systems within families, uniqueness’, ‘learning about the different interventions and family scripts’. There were requests for more… ‘Felt like we only touched the surface, perhaps 2 days training?’ ‘Will definitely be interested in more CPD from Staffs Uni’.


The School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise at Staffordshire University offers a range of qualifications in counselling and psychology. For more information about the wide range of Psychology degrees on offer please visit our website and our courses page.

Staffordshire University offers counselling courses ranging from Foundation Degrees with local partner colleges, undergraduate degrees (including a British Psychological Society accredited BSc Psychology and Counselling degree) and postgraduate counselling qualifications at our Stoke-on-Trent City Campus: