Browser does not support script.


York St John Communities Centre Research

Our research explores current issues in mental health including bereavement, domestic and partner abuse and anger management.

Our current projects

Anger management

Lead researcher: Dr Gary Shepherd

The anger management course was run by Dr Gary Sheperd. The group anger management intervention combined Transactional Analysis and Mindfulness and ran for 10-weeks. Results from previous years showed a statistically significant improvement in anger symptoms from the course. Two research papers were published in 2019. Any expressions of interest should be sent to 

Bereavement counselling

Lead researcher: Dr John Wilson

The bereavement research project is based around the Assimilation of Grief Experiences Scale, AGES, a sequence of phases that clients commonly describe on their journey of recovery. My doctoral research developed the model, which can now be used as an observational tool in the second, post-doctoral phase.

In the second phase I am exploring the relationship between attachment style and grief recovery. The facts are well established. Insecure people find grief recovery harder that secure people. They struggle in adapting to their new situation, deny the reality of the loss, and may not seek professional help. My aim is to observe if a client's attachment style is reflected in their language, in a one-to-one counselling context.

So far, the results reveal some surprises. A bereavement that requires counselling is seldom without complicating factors, and these complications appear to override the effects of moderate insecurity. A securely attached client is struggling with a sudden, traumatic and premature death of a close relation, and has made little progress in 12 months. A moderately insecure client whose loss was a good death imbued with positive meaning, completed her journey through the entire AGES sequence in 6 sessions. The results highlight the importance of open-ended counselling in this research.

We need to find ways of recruiting and identifying highly insecure clients who have avoided bereavement counselling, so as to conduct structured interviews. I suspect that a high level of insecurity will begin to override other complicating factors in its salience.

Alongside this research, we are about to embark on testing a self-report outcomes measure based on AGES. Such a measure will provide a useful clinical and research tool. We have enough material for a PhD or several Master's dissertations, should anyone be interested please

Dr John Wilson talks about bereavement

Counselling and disability

Lead researcher: Richard Knight

Richard's current research explores the clients experience of working with a physically disabled counsellor in chronic pain and seeks to investigate the impact physical disability has on both the therapeutic relationship and the counselling process. 

His PhD proposal looks at furthering this initial Masters research, in looking deeper at the concept of the wounded healer. Specifically, when the wounded healer is physically wounded by means of physical disability and chronic pain. This looks beneath these factors and  explores motivations, implications, ethical issues, considerations for practice and existential issues by means of a qualitative autoethnography research design. 

This will also further explore personal efficacy and seek to clarify whether previously cautiously offered suppositions are correct in that clients prefer to work with disabled counsellors by analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. This will be further considered by evaluating the attitudes / opinions of colleagues in the field. This he hopes will both allow further development of his professional practice and substantially contribute to the research field of an area that has limited literature. He hopes through his congruent, lived experience to motivate and encourage others to develop their own ways of being to provide purpose / development and thus benefit to self, others and bring further diversity to the profession. 

Domestic violence and emotional regulation

Lead researcher: Professor Lynne Gabriel

Lynne is engaged in research on practice and process ethics, domestic and relational abuse, grief and trauma, and the development of resilience, emotional and behavioural regulation in young people through group interventions.

She works with the CMHC Director of Bereavement Services on therapy interventions for loss and bereavement and tracking of client change over time.  

Lynne founded the Research & Training Clinic Consortium, bringing together York St John, Salford, Abertay and Newman University Clinics to work together to build capacity for shared minimum datasets for humanistic therapies and to build research capacity across the clinics.

The Centre is currently working with a student from our York St John Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) on delivering and evaluating a group intervention for 8-11 year old children impacted by domestic abuse and violence. 

Breastfeeding Group

Dr Paige E Davis's research linked to the Parent Centre relates to breastfeeding and the transition to parenthood.

The project is interested in looking at breastfeeding and its psychological outcomes for children. One project which is planned to begin late 2021, with the help of the breastfeeding group, is to examine mind-mindedness and how this links to, and changes with, a child's breastfeeding status.

Paige is also interested in why parents come to and return, week after week to breastfeeding groups. She wants to improve the experiences of parents in hopes of improving child outcomes.

Finally, Paige is working on a writing intervention for parents with colleagues from Leeds and York St John University. This intervention would use creativity and imagination to help parents unpack their experiences of birth, breastfeeding, and parenthood. Parents from the Treasure Chest Breastfeeding group would receive priority for this workshop.

Hear with Baby

Hear with Baby is a new parent infant therapy emerging from the new Parent Centre based out of Clarence Street.

The service focuses on the gaps in mental health support for 0-2 in addition to the parents, in order to address disordered attachment, trauma, failure to thrive, bonding issues and delayed emotional and social development. In addition, the work seeks to address the increasing demands for mums, dads and carers that have babies, which in many cases do not meet the threshold for actuate mental health need, but nonetheless require specialist parent/infant support and care.

Our service provides evidence based and early infant mental health therapeutic intervention 0-2, with mum, dad and or carer. The model is largely informed by 'Together with Baby' which is a successful and thriving parent infant therapy service which is in partnership with Essex NHS and Clinical commissioning groups (CCG).

Online therapy

The Centre and other members of the Research and Training Clinic Consortium (RTCC), working with students and academics from a range of UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), are collaborating on a 2-Phase research study, exploring client and therapist experiences of online therapy. Phase 1 is a rapid review, whilst Phase 2 will involve questionnaires, interviews and in-depth case studies. 

Publications and research outputs

Explore work from researchers at the Communities Centre.


George, Frances K., Benham, Alex, Gabriel, Lynne and Purton, Judith (2020) Development and Content Validity of the Clinical Assessment of Body Alignment for Children With Cerebral Palsy. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 32 (2). pp. 137-143.

Roddy, Jeannette K. and Gabriel, Lynne (2019) A competency framework for domestic violence counselling. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling.

Beetham, Tanya, Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel (2019) Young Children’s Narrations of Relational Recovery: a School-Based Group for Children Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence. Journal of Family Violence.

Wright, Claire and Gabriel, Lynne (2018) Perspectives of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: An Exploration of the Adjustments to Self-Structure through Meaning-Making in Therapy. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 27 (6). pp. 663-681

Gabriel, Lynne , Tizro, Zahra, James, Hazel, Cronin-Davis, Jane, Beetham, Tanya, Corbally, Alice, Lopez-Moreno, Emily and Hill, Sarah (2018) “Give me some space”: Exploring young person-to-parent aggression and violence. Journal of Family Violence, 33 (2). pp. 161-169.

Gabriel, Lynne , James, Hazel, Cronin-Davis, Jane, Tizro, Zahra, Beetham, Tanya, Hullock, Ashley and Raynar, Alex (2017) Reflexive research with mothers and children. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 17 (2). pp. 157-165.

Saxon, David, Ashley, Kate, Bishop-Edwards, Lindsey, Connell, Janice, Harrison, Phillippa, Ohlsen, Sally, Hardy, Gillian E., Kellett, Stephen, Mukuria, Clara, Mank, Toni, Bower, Peter, Bradburn, Mike, Brazier, John, Elliott, Robert, Gabriel, Lynne , King, Michael, Pilling, Stephen, Shaw, Sue, Waller, Glenn and Barkham, Michael (2017) A pragmatic randomised controlled trial assessing the non-inferiority of counselling for depression versus cognitive-behaviour therapy for patients in primary care meeting a diagnosis of moderate or severe depression (PRaCTICED): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials.

Wilson, John, James, Hazel and Gabriel, Lynne (2016) Making sense of loss and grief: the value of in-depth assessments. Bereavement Care, 35 (2). pp. 67-77.

Seamark, Daniel and Gabriel, Lynne (2016) Barriers to Support: A Qualitative Exploration into the Help-Seeking and Avoidance Factors of Young Adults. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling.

Wilson, John, Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel (2014) Observing a client's grieving process: bringing logical positivism into qualitative grief counselling research. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 42 (5). pp. 568-583.

Gabriel, Lynne , Jamieson, A. and Khele, S. (2007) Perceptions of supervision. Therapy today, 18 (6). pp. 39-41. Gabriel, Lynne (2006) Creating quality research: School of Management, Community and Communication, York St John University College, York, UK. Counselling and psychotherapy research, 6 (2). pp. 146-7.

Book section

Gabriel, Lynne (2015) Ethics in pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. In: Cooper, Mick and Dryden, Windy, (eds.) The Handbook of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. London, Sage, pp. 300-313

Gabriel, Lynne (2005) The challenge of working in a multi-tasked job. In: Information Services Editorial Board, BACP, (ed.) Talking therapies: an essential anthology. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, pp. 93-99


Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel (2016) York St John Counselling and Mental Health Clinic. Documentation. York St John. (Unpublished)

Conference or workshop item

Gabriel, Lynne and Wilson, John (2017) Researching One’s Own Clients: Rich Data from an Ethical Minefield. In: BACP International Research Conference, 11-12 May 2018, University of Roehampton. (Unpublished)

Roddy, Jeannette and Gabriel, Lynne (2017) Building a competency framework for domestic abuse counselling practice. In: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference 2017 (18th-19th May) Chester, UK., May 2017, Chester University. (Unpublished)

Donachie, Tracy , Hill, Andrew P. , Hall, Howard and Gabriel, Lynne (2016) The relationship between perfectionism, perfectionistic cognitions, and pre-match emotions in adolescent footballers. In: British Society for Personality and Individual Differences Annual Conference 2016, 8 April 2016, Nottingham Trent University. (Unpublished)

Wilson, John, Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel (2016) Meaning-making in bereavement counselling: clients’ assimilation of grief experiences. In: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference 2016, 19-20th May 2016, Brighton. (Unpublished)

Donachie, Tracy , Hall, Howard, Hill, Andrew P. and Gabriel, Lynne (2015) Perfectionism and perfectionistic cognitions in footballers. In: World Congress on Science and Football, 20-23 May 2015, Copenhagen, Denmark. (Unpublished)


Gabriel, Lynne and Casemore, Roger, eds. (2009) Relational Ethics in Practice: Narratives from Counselling and Psychotherapy. Routledge

Gabriel, Lynne (2005) Speaking the unspeakable: the ethics of dual relationships in counselling and psychotherapy. Routledge

Video and other

Gabriel, Lynne (2013) Working with Dilemmas in Dual Relationships. [Video] (Unpublished)

Gabriel, Lynne (2018) Professorial Inaugural. Professor Gabriel. (Unpublished)


Pendle, Andrew, Rowe, Nick and Britten, David (2017) Coaching in a non-clinical setting with coaches who access mental health services. International Journal of Evidence Based coaching and Mentoring, 15 (1). pp. 78-93.

Britten, David (2015) Felt sense and figurative space: Clients' metaphors for their experiences of coaching. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring. pp. 14-29


Shoesmith, Emily , Charura, Divine and Surr, Claire (2020) Acceptability and feasibility study of a six-week person-centred, therapeutic visual art intervention for people with dementia. Arts & Health. pp. 1-19.

Shoesmith, E., Surr, C. and Charura, Divine (2020) What are the elements needed to create an effective visual art intervention for people with dementia? A qualitative exploration. Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice.

Shoesmith, Emily , Charura, Divine and Surr, Claire (2020) What are the Required Elements Needed to Create an Effective Visual Art Intervention for People Living with Dementia? A Systematic Review. Activities, Adaptation & Aging. pp. 1-28.

Taylor, S, Charura, Divine, Cohen, E, Meth, F, Allan, J, Williams, G, Shaw, M and O'Dwyer, L. (2020) Loss, Grief and Growth : An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Experiences of Trauma in Asylum-Seekers and Refugees. Traumatology.

Charura, Divine (2020) Psychotherapist's experiences of co-facilitating large encounter PCEP : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of six interviews. Person-centered & experiential psychotherapies. (In Press)

Charura, Divine and Hudson, C (2019) Tips to make research teaching and learning enjoyable and productive for counsellors, psychotherapists and their tutors. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.

Charura, Divine, McFarlane, K, Walker, B and Williams, GA (2017) Above all, do no harm: Towards more ethical ways of being and acting in psychological formulation. Clinical Psychology Forum, 293. pp. 7-11.

Gaines, SO, Lefringhausen, K, Charura, Divine, Kangatharan, J, Singh, J, Tamimi, N, Dieu, K, Giles, D, Knap, S, Towers-Evans, H and Zahara, S (2016) Ethnic Speech and Ethnic Action as Ethnic Behavior: Part 1. Construction of the Brunel Ethnic Behavior Inventory. Identity, 16 (2). pp. 73-86.

Gaines, Stanley O., Lefringhausen, Katharina, Charura, Divine, Kangatharan, Jayanthiny, Singh, Jeshika, Tamimi, Nancy, Dieu, Kelly, Giles, Daniel, Knap, Stefan, Towers-Evans, Helen and Zahara, Sabahat (2016) Ethnic Speech and Ethnic Action as Ethnic Behavior: Part 2. Validation of the Brunel Ethnic Behavior Inventory. Identity, 16 (2). pp. 87-101.

Lago, C. and Charura, Divine (2015) Working with Transgenerational / Intergenerational trauma: The Implication of Epigenetic considerations and transcultural perspectives in psychotherapy. The Psychotherapist.

Paul, S. and Charura, Divine (2015) A relational Perspective when Working with Trauma. The Psychotherapist.

Charura, Divine (2015) Working with Trauma: Perspectives and Themes. The Psychologist. p. 4.

Book section

Charura, Divine (2018) Child Development and Attachment. In: Robson, M. and Pattison, S., (eds.) The Handbook of Counselling Children & Young People. 2nd ed. Sage, pp. 3-26

Nicholson, P.E., P. E., Charura, Divine and Charlesworth, B. (2018) Counselling Children and Young People with Mental Illness - A Relational approach. In: Robson, M. and Pattison, S., (eds.) The Handbook of Counselling Children & Young People. 2nd ed. Sage, pp. 306-321

Charura, Divine, Pattison, S. and McAndrew, T. (2018) Inclusion: Working with difference. In: Robson, M. and Pattison, S., (eds.) The Handbook of Counselling Children & Young People. Sage, pp. 396-412

Conference or workshop item

Allan, J, Williams, G, Charura, Divine, Cohen, E, Meth, F, Shaw, M and Taylor, S (2017) The Asylum-Seeker and Refugee Experience - An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Interview Data Elicited Through the Use of Artefacts. In: European Community Psychology Association, 10th European Congress, Reflections and Challenges, Community Psychology in the European Context, 18 October 2017 - 20 October 2017, Newcastle, UK.

Allan, J and Charura, Divine (2017) Spiritual development, meaning making, resilience and potential for post-traumatic growth among asylum-seekers and refugees: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. In: Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section Biennial Conference, The British Psychological Society, 5 July 2017 - 7 July 2017, Aberystwyth University.

Smith, A, Charura, Divine and Nicholson, P (2017) In search of excellence, sharing our experiences of inspirational teaching. In: Teaching Excellence: Building Bridges ANTF Open Conference, 10 May 2017.


Lago, Colin and Charura, Divine, eds. (2016) The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook Origins, Developments and Contemporary Practice. Open University Press

Charura, Divine and Paul, Stephen, eds. (2015) Love and Therapy: In Relationship. Karnac Penson, William J., Hill, Darren and Charura, Divine (2015) Working with Dual Diagnosis: A Psychosocial Perspective. Foundations of Mental Health Practice . Palgrave MacMillan

Paul, Stephen and Charura, Divine (2014) An Introduction to the Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Sage Charura, Divine and Paul, Stephen (2014) The Therapeutic Relationship Handbook: Theory & Practice. Sage


Shepherd, Gary (2020) ‘Normally I'd get really agitated, but I just laughed!’: What do participants reflect upon on a Transactional Analysis/Mindfulness based anger management programme? British Journal of Guidance & Counselling.

Shepherd, Gary and Cant, Matthew (2019) Difficult to change? The differences between successful and not-so-successful participation on anger management groups. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.

Shepherd, Gary (2019) An anger management programme as an action learning set. Action Learning: Research and Practice.

Shepherd, Gary (2017) ‘From where I'm looking it just seems like two people have missed the boat…’: Understanding set behaviour from a socioanalytic perspective. Educational Action Research.

Shepherd, Gary (2016) Developing Deep Group Reflection within a Critical Reflection Action Learning (CRAL) Set. Action Learning : Research and Practice, 13 (3). pp. 252-262.

Shepherd, Gary (2016) How a small family run business adopted Critical Reflection Action Learning using hand drawn images to initiate organisational change. Action Learning: Research and Practice, 13 (1). pp. 69-78.

Conference or workshop item

Shepherd, Gary (2019) Do therapists ever get lonely? In: Alone Together Symposium, 10th-12th April 2019, York St John University.


Wilson, John, James, Hazel and Gabriel, Lynne (2016) Making sense of loss and grief: the value of in-depth assessments. Bereavement Care, 35 (2). pp. 67-77


Interview with Press Association, 2021: Duke of Edinburgh: How families can still make the most of a smaller funeral (The Independent)


Conference or workshop item

Gabriel, Lynne and Wilson, John (2017) Researching One’s Own Clients: Rich Data from an Ethical Minefield. In: BACP International Research Conference, 11-12 May 2018, University of Roehampton. (Unpublished)

Wilson, John, Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel (2016) Meaning-making in bereavement counselling: clients’ assimilation of grief experiences. In: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Conference 2016, 19-20th May 2016, Brighton. (Unpublished)

Cookie Settings