I am Head of the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and a Senior Lecturer teaching on several programmes. Since arriving in 2010 I’ve held a number of roles such as Undergraduate Director, Head of Education and course director of several Undergraduate programmes. During this time I conceived and developed two new degrees, BA Therapeutic Care and BA Childhood Studies.
Before joining the Department, I worked in a range of children's services for over fifteen years, principally therapeutic communities for traumatised adolescents, developing an assessment service, a provision for leaving care, and with colleagues, setting up the Junction Young Person’s service for Colchester MIND. My 2010 book, Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches, draws on these experiences.
I have a broad and enduring commitment to therapeutic community (TC) practice. As such I sit on the Executive Board of the charity, The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities. In 2104 I developed the Core Competency Framework for Therapeutic Communities, and in 2015 pioneered ‘Active Education Events’, a variant model of group relations conference. The latter has since been used in staff development within Therapeutic Communities, Residential Childcare, HM Prisons, and the British Army. I provide training, consultation and supervision to therapeutic services in the UK, Greece and India. In Athens I run a three year training programme in Therapeutic Community Theory and Practice which is the only TC training validated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I am a founding member Essex Refugee Wellbeing Network (ERWN) which supports the work of Colchester Refugee Action.
My doctoral research centred on life and key writings of the poet, novelist and mythographer, Robert Graves in the light of his traumatic WW1 experiences. More latterly, I’ve developed this work looking at repetition compulsion in the lives and writings of Graves, Ernest Hemmingway and Wilfred Bion. Another line of interest is in psychoanalytic leaning – this includes teaching psychoanalytically, the function of observation and reflective groups, Group Relations and Koinonia. I’m also interested in mental health in HE and initiated a programme to develop UoE as an Enabling Environment. Finally, I’m engaged in a minor but intriguing study of the origin and typology of monsters in the popular imagination.
I sit on the Editorial Board of Gravesiana, the Journal of the Robert Graves Society, and have published papers here and in the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities.
I have run several marathons – Berlin, London and Athens (twice), and I’m a Brown Belt in Shotokan, and am currently training for a double grading in Kyokushin Karate. Favourite works of non-fiction: Cyril Connelly The Unquiet Grave, Robert Graves’ The White Goddess. Favourite fiction – The Iliad, War and Peace, William Golding’s Darkness Visible, John Berger’s A Painter of Our Time, and Milhail Bulgakov’s The Master and the Margarita from which the exemplary line comes ‘Those who love must accept the fate of those that they love’.
The nature of hysteria and trauma
Transition in looked after children and higher education
Psychoanalytic observation and learning
Therapeutic community theory and practice
Terror and Islamic terrorism
Psychoanalytic applications to literature
2007 University of Northampton: PhD Higher degree by research: The Enduring Wound: Re-contextualising Goodbye to All That, The White Goddess, and the Poetry Of Robert Graves
2004 St Helena Hospice - Grief Support Training Programme Group work on the art therapy-based S.T.A.R.S. programme supporting children, adolescents, young adults and adults in processing grief
2004 Tavistock & Portman Clinic: Children in Transition (Part 2), Finding and Sustaining Placements for children who need Substitute Families
2003 2004 Tavistock & Portman Clinic: Children in Transition (Part 1), Frameworks for Assessing and Working with Children who need Substitute Families
2001 University of Northampton: Postgraduate Research Training Programme
1999 Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust & OPUS: Containment for Growth: Managing Authority & Responsibility in Residential Care & Treatment Disruptive & Disturbed Young People
1997 1998 Canterbury College: City & Guilds 325/2 Foundation Management for Care NCFE 3701/2.
1998 - 1998 Canterbury Collage: Certificate in Basic Counselling Skills (for Children & Young People)
1994 1997 University of Kent at Canterbury: BA (Hons) English Literature/Philosophy