I joined the University in 2013, as a Teaching Fellow, leading the Masters in Autism programme. Then moving to an academic position in 2018, as a Lecturer in Autism. I am a developmental psychologist specialising in psychotherapy. I am a person-centred experiential therapist, with an emphasis on Emotion-Focused Therapy and group therapy.
I gained my PhD in Counselling and Psychotherapy from University of Strathclyde (2014) entitled 'Enhancing Emotional Experiencing in Emotion-Focused Therapy for Clients with Autistic Process.' This research received the Outstanding Research Award by The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2017). Collaborative research partnerships with Scottish Autism and HOPE for Autism are currently underway, researching further the process and outcome of Emotion-Focused Therapy for clients with autistic process.
My research focus is two-fold: first, exploring humanistic-experiential psychotherapies (HEPs) and affective technology on healing emotional injuries and trauma, repairing harms and promoting psychological growth and second, exploring the impact of training practitioners (and family members) in HEPs and emotion-focused counselling skills in enhancing relational dynamics and in the reduction of trauma-related experiences. I welcome opportunities to work collaboratively.
Prior to joining the University I was the lead of Autism Expertise and Knowledge Exchange for Scottish Autism. I was a member of the Senior Management Team responsible for the design of the first Autism School in Scotland (New Struan School: A Centre for Autism) and an author for 'The Autism Toolbox: A Resource for Scottish Schools'. In 1997 I developed a counselling service for clients with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) working individually, with couples, families and small groups.
I have established and lead the TLC Network. This group brings together interdisciplinary practitioner researchers with an interest in understanding Trauma through Lived experience which is healing Centred.
2010 -2019: Course Leader for the MSc in Autism
2019/20 - Lead for the EdD (Autism) and PhD in Applied Autism Research
2022/23 - Course Leader for the Post Graduate Certificate (PgCert) in Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills for Autistic Process
Liverpool John Moore University: External Examiner for the MA Counselling & Psychotherapy
University of Swansea: External Examiner for the MSc Autism & Related Conditions
Centre for Practice Innovation, Scottish Autism: Research Associate
AT-Autism, International Autism Consultancy: Consultant Associate
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion: Executive Committee Member
Scottish Autism Research Group (SARG): Committee Member
I am a member of the British Psychological Society, British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Society for Psychotherapy Research and the International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy.
I am a Lecturer in Autism with a teaching focus around emotion, affective theories, factors that contribute to social exclusion, trauma and how to promote positive psychological growth. I predominantly teach Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills for Autism Spectrum and for other hard to reach populations.
I supervise Masters/EdD and PhD research that aligns with my own research interests: Emotion-Focused Counselling Skills including pre-therapy and the impact this training has on practitioner relational dynamics. As well as factors that contribute to painful and tramua-related experiences and the use of creative methods to support self-expression and how this can help in healing emotional injuries.
I supervise PhD in Applied Autism Research /EdD Education (Autism) and would be interested to discuss research proposals that align with my own research interests.
My research mainly focuses on Humanistic-Experiential Autism Research Technology (HEART) with a particular emphasis on exploring trauma-related experiences, emotional injuries and psychological growth. I have particular interest on process and outcome research in Humanistic-Experiential Psychotherapies (HEPs) for clients with autistic process and other hard to reach populations. This includes accessibility of counselling, group psychotherapy and the use of expressive and creative arts to explore self and other relational experiences. I am interested in giving voice to clients’ experiences and use creative methods and affective technology to aid those who have difficulties speaking, exploring non-verbal strategies of expression and narration.
- Micaela Jimenez Borja (Ecuador PhD Scholarship, 2013-2016) On Measuring client modes of engagement in humanistic experiential psychotherapy (with Professor Robert Elliott)
I currently supervise the following doctoral students:
- Christine, Sousa Marmoy (Applied Autism Research, 2020 -) On Sensing the Meaning: Visual conceptualisation underlying sensory experiences in autistic young people (with Dr Katja Frimberger)
- Mert Ozakca (Turkey PhD Scholarship, 2019-2022) On A Cross-Cultural Analysis Exploring Emotion-Focused Parent Coaching in enhancing emotional resilience in Autstic Children and Families (with Dr Eugenie Samier)
- Charlotte Wilson (Social Work, 2019 -) On Adjusting the Volume: Reflecting Young People's Experiences of Secure care (with Dr Laura Steckley)
- Gillian McConnell (Education, 2020 -) On Epilepsy, Autism and Learning Disability (with Dr Helen Marwick)
- Owen McGill (Education, 2017-) On Autistic Girls and Early Education: Investigating Identity and Experiences Through A Feminist Standpoint Lens (with Professor Yvette Taylor)
- Kerrie Highcock (2021) On Experiences of happiness in autistic youth: a participatory study (with Dr Yuchen Wang)
- Lynn McNally (2021) On A Celebration of Autistic Ingenuity (with Dr Zinnia Mevalla)
- David Duncan (2019-) On Capturing the voice of bereaved children through a participatory and arts based approach (with Dr Sally Paul)
Please contact me if you would like to pursue a PhD in Applied Autism Research or PhD/EdD in Education, with focus on areas related to:
- Promoting positive outcomes in the lives of people with autistic process through Humanistic-Experiential practice;
- Trauma-Informed Practice;
- therapeutic/creative/expressive methods to enhance relational connections;
- Training in HEPs skills: parents, practitioners and teachers
- Affective technology for supporting emotional healing and psychological growth;
As the lead of WE:FOCUS we are conducting research in the following areas:
- Positive therapeutic approaches to healing trauma and emotional injuries
- Training Parents, Teachers and Practitioners in Emotion-Focused Counselling/Coaching Skills
- Emotion-Focused Group Therapy for clients with autistic process
We have collaborative research partnerships with Scottish Autism and HOPE for Autism; AT-Autism and Donaldson School.
International collaborators: Universidad Autónoma de Chile; Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.
Selected Masters Supervision (Alumni):
- Christine, Sousa Marmoy (MSc 2020) The World I Sense is the World I Live in!
- Highcock, Kerrie (MEd 2019) on Young Autistic Activists Use of Art for Self-Expression
- Friedman, Samantha (USA Fulbright Scholarship MSc 2019) on Exploring Outdoor Learning Environments on Emotional Processing Skills in Students with Autism
- Yong, Ennie (Chevening Scholarship MSc 2019) on Developing an Emotion-Focused Skills Training for Parents from Experiences of Expert Trainers
- Galbraith, Ian (MSc 2018) Practitioners Experiences of Applying Person-Centred and Pre-Therapy Counselling Skills with Clients with Autistic Process
- Owen, McGill (MSc 2017) Autistic Adult Reflections of Applied Behavioural Analysis Experiences in Childhood: A Thematic Analysis
- Christina Symeonidou (MSc 2017) An Investigation into the effectiveness of nurture groups in supporting autistic children: A Scottish teacher’s perspective
- SARG Conference 2021: Social Inclusion and Participation
- TLC Network: Toxic Stress and Trauma in Students and Families from Conflict Zone Countries: Working with Traumatised Refugees in Schools
- TLC Network: Voice, Autonomy and Utopian Desire in Participatory Filmmaking with Young Refugees.
- TLC Network: Trauma and Disability
- Neurodiversity Research Hub (Event)
- Neurodiversity Research Hub
More professional activities
- Emotion-Focused Family Therapy Coaching Model for Parents of Autistic Children: A 2-day Workshop
- Robinson, Anna (Principal Investigator) McNeil, Leanne (Post Grad Student) Ozakca, Mert (Post Grad Student)
- This 2-day workshop investigates the impact of an emotion-focused training on the wellbeing of parents of autistic children.
- 27-Jan-2021 - 28-Jan-2021
- Education Institute of Scotland: Tracking Trauma Informed Impact
- Robinson, Anna (Principal Investigator)
- Focused group with Trauma Informed Practitioners to develop a Trauma Informed Resources for teachers
- 03-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2021
- Education Institute of Scotland: Trauma Informed Practice
- Robinson, Anna (Academic) Robb, Catriona (Academic)
- Trauma Informed Practice CPD for EIS Professional members
- 18-Jan-2021 - 25-Jan-2021
- Education Institute of Scotland: Supporting Trauma Experienced Young People
- Robinson, Anna (Academic) Robb, Catriona (Academic)
- Module 5: session (1) Introduction & Module 6: session (2) intermediate level CPD for EIS Professional members
- 20-Jan-2020 - 04-Jan-2020
- Being Trauma Informed
- Robinson, Anna (Academic)
- General Teaching Council Scotland: Advisor to GTCS on Being Trauma Informed Guidance for Teachers
- 12-Jan-2020 - 25-Jan-2021
- Emotion-Focused Therapy for Adults on the Autism Spectrum
- Robinson, Anna (Principal Investigator) Conner, Caitlin M (Academic)
- 01-Jan-2020 - 03-Jan-2020
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