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I am a psychotherapist, supervisor, academic teacher/mentor, researcher and writer. Read on if you're interested to hear more about my interests and about my personal/professional background...

In brief, I am an existential and relational-centred Integrative Psychotherapist/Supervisor and an Academic Consultant. I also teach psychology and counselling at the Open University, UK. I have published numerous books and articles including:  Phenomenology for therapists: Researching the lived world (Wiley); Relational integrative psychotherapy (Wiley); and Practical ethics in counselling and psychotherapy (Sage). My latest book, The therapeutic use of self in counselling and psychotherapy, was published by Sage early 2022. My particular research interests include applying existential and hermeneutic phenomenological approaches to investigate the lived experience of disability and trauma. 

I am currently the Co-editor of the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy. This is an open access, online journal focused on qualitative research for psychotherapists. See  (see the following YouTube videos for more information about the journal:  EJQRP intro and information about the journal and academic writing).

My role as a psychotherapist

In my work as a relational Integrative Psychotherapist, I mostly see adult clients privately on an individual basis (in-person and online).  My primary theoretical framework is humanistic and relational-centred, and I combine existential phenomenological understandings with gestalt and transactional analytic approaches. I aim to be a conscientiously ethical practitioner and I adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice of UKCP. I have regular professional supervision of my work and I am covered by professional indemnity insurance. I am also a qualified Supervisor and can offer support to therapists face-to-face or via video conferencing (e.g. Skype/Facetime/Zoom).

My work as an Academic Consultant

In my current work as a freelance Academic Consultant, I have a number of roles: 

  • I work with the Open University, UK, as a tutor and academic consultant (which includes occasionally writing some course materials). I currently teach on their Psychology and Counselling programme, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
  • I am the Co-Editor of the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy.   This is an open-access online journal which aims to promote qualitative research in psychotherapy.  Check it out and see if you might be interested to contribute an article (http://ejqrp.org/) and would like some help/advice about writing. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like more information: linda@lindafinlay.co.uk.
  • I offer bespoke teaching/training packages to organisations on diverse topics related to: i. existential and relational psychotherapy; ii. research and reflexivity; and iii. writing for publication. 
  • While I offer academic support to individuals, it is mostly in the form of one-off mentoring sessions rather than ongoing supervision.

In the past, I have been involved in teaching research to psychotherapists/trainees and supervising their projects. I have a particular interest in qualitative research and how it can be applied in both healthcare and psychotherapy. To this end, I have offered training, support, supervision and mentorship packages to both individual practitioners and institutions. I also mentored/supervised a number of PhD students, supporting them in their doctoral studies. Now I tend only to give one-off consultancy sessions and/or recommend other suitable people.  I have taught a number of courses and workshops around the world including: Psychology Faculty at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (2012); the Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo (2013); the Psychotherapy Masters Course, University of Novi Sad (2014); University of Melbourne, Australia (2014); on the Masters programme at the Gestalt Psychotherapy Institutes in Malta and Serbia (2015, 2016); and at the University of Cambridge, UK (2018). 

I have also been honoured by invitations to be a keynote speaker at various conferences and webinars in the United Kingdom and abroad, for instance, most recently at the International Integrative Psychotherapy Conference, Bilbao, Spain (2023). Other conferences include: Gestalt Research Conference in Cape Cod, USA (2013);  the UKCP research conference at Regent’s College in London (2014); the Educatieve Academie, Antwerp, Belgium  (2017); and at the Annual Conference for the British Society for Phenomenology (2019).  I have also been invited to take part in various conferences and webinars for the UKCP e.g., in 2021 looking at research and reflexivity and, in 2022, considering Practice-Based Research: how to continue research after graduating. 

The second photo was taken at the International Integrative Psychotherapy Association conference in Bilbao, 2023, with thanks to Amaia Mauriz.

Professional background 

I started my career in 1978 as an occupational therapist (not currently registered) working in the mental health field within the NHS. During a spell in general psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London, I found myself drawn to humanistic and psychodynamic treatment approaches and spent several years specialising in play therapy (at the Child and Family Psychiatry Unit, Maudsley) and psychotherapeutic group work (an interest I initially developed while working at the Henderson Hospital Therapeutic Community, Surrey). I returned to general psychiatry in 1990 when I was appointed Head Occupational Therapist at St. James’s Hospital, Leeds. In my clinical work, I specialised in working psychotherapeutically, for instance, I worked with women who had eating disorders and co-ran different out-patient groups. 

I chose to leave clinical work to develop my academic consultancy and do my PhD.  Some years later, I returned to the therapy field and re-trained as an integrative psychotherapist. I have been in private practice as a therapist and supervisor since. 

My academic career took root in the 1980s when I began lecturing as part of the Occupational Therapy Programme at the University College York St John, York. As this was the time when the occupational therapy was becoming a degree profession, I sought to do an Open University degree part-time. After gaining my Honours degree in Psychology, I returned to practice for a time but missed academic work. A new journey began as I started my doctorate and worked as a freelance academic teaching at a range of institutions. I also contributed to the writing of, a number of Open University courses, including:  the first level Introduction to Social Sciences course (D103), a third level course in Social Psychology (D317) and one in Research Methodology (DE300).  Since completing my PhD in 1998 (titled The Lifeworld of the Occupational Therapist: Meaning and motive in an uncertain world), phenomenology has become very special to me and the centre of both my scholarly and therapy activities. I have also continued my teaching and writing role within the Open University and I currently teach on a psychology and counselling course (D241).

I believe strongly in the need to keep up to date with current research and professional development.  As part of my commitment to continuing professional development, I regularly undertake certificated courses. In the past few years I have gone on various courses including on the following subjects: 

  • video-conferencing skills for therapists
  • GDPR and information security
  • embodied nature of trauma and working with trauma
  • intergenerational trauma
  • safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • working with individuals who have a schizoid process
  • working with narcissistic disorders
  • trauma-informed supervision
  • therapist self-care

Research and writing

My writing and other scholarly pursuits are both my work and my hobby. 

My book publications include:

  •  'The therapeutic use of self in counselling & psychotherapy ' (2022), published by Sage.
  • Practical Ethics in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A relational approach ’ (2019) - This book explores the ethical dilemmas which permeate every minute of our therapy process.
  • Relational Integrative Psychotherapy: Process and Theory in Practice’ (2016) - This is an introductory book exploring how to work relationally as an integrative psychotherapist. Feel free to check out my website associated with this book as it offers a precis of the content and some other associated handouts and resource references:  www.relational-integrative-psychotherapy.uk
  • Phenomenology for therapists: researching the lived world’' (2011) - This is a practical introduction to phenomenological philosophy and research methodology.
  • Relational-centred research for psychotherapists: exploring meanings and experience‘ (2009) - I co-wrote/edited this book with Ken Evans arguing that psychotherapists have significant skills that they can import into the research project such as empathy and inferential thinking.
  • Challenging choices: qualitative research for therapists‘ (2006) - I edited this book with Claire Ballinger where the various contributors critically examine a variety of qualitative research methodologies and highlight the challenges that confront researchers who opt for the qualitative path.
  • Reflexivity: a practical guide for researchers in health and social sciences‘ (2003) - Co-editing this book with Brendan Gough, we sought contributions from a range of researchers about their use of reflexivity at different stages of the research process.
  • ‘The practice of psychosocial occupational therapy‘ (1987, 1997, 2004) - This is an introduction to occupational therapy in the mental health field.
  • Groupwork in occupational therapy‘ (1992) - This practically orientated textbook discusses the theory and practice of occupational therapy groupwork.

Here are a couple of photos from a book launch event for my book 'Therapeutic use of self in counselling and psychotherapy' at St Johns University, York September 30, 2022.  Divine Charura and Colin Lago were also launching their new book (Black identities + white therapies: race, respect and diversity) and it was an honour to share the stage with them. (Thanks to Esme Mai, YSJ Photographer).

I am also the Co=Editor for the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy (an open access online journal – See: www.EJQRP.org).

I have published extensively and I continue to have an article or two brewing at any one time. At the moment, I am writing about the therapeutic relationship and the relational use of self. I continue to have an interest in studying trauma and disability and I am currently involved in research on 'loneliness experienced by asylum seekers/refugees' with Divine Charura. In previous relational-centred phenomenological research projects, I have explored a number of topics including the lived experience of having a cochlear implant, early-stage multiple sclerosis, the nature of mental health problems and the lived experience of traumatic abortion.  

I have also contributed numerous articles to journals which cover a wide range of topics, including empathy, the lived experience of disability (multiple sclerosis and hand injuries), holism, occupational therapists’ perceptions of patients, phenomenology, embodiment, professional power, the challenge of working in teams, and on traumatic abortion and entrapped grief.  Most of my writings on the lived experience of disability and trauma, including two reflexive autobiographical pieces (on my experience of pain and Covid-19), use phenomenological methodology. I have also written on different aspects of research methodology including papers on thematic analysis, reflexivity and how to write academically.  My most recent publications focus on psychotherapy processes and include articles, for example, on Applying Phenomenological Philosophy, Presence, and on clarifying the Adult Ego State.

Personal background

Half British, half American, and raised in the Indian subcontinent, I experienced an extraordinary post-colonial early life, mostly in New Delhi, India. This special experience has given me an appreciation of cross-cultural, multi-heritage issues. Immigrating to the UK for college, I stayed on but I still like to travel when I can, not least to visit family/friends who live all over the world.  In addition to reading - my favourite pastime -  my writing and other scholarly pursuits are as much my hobbies as they are work. I live in North Yorkshire with my husband, Mel, and our cocker spaniel, Rowan. His six sons (and our eight lovely grandchildren) live all over the UK - we don't see them enough. Otherwise, we have a varied, rich life and enjoy visiting with our friends around the world. 

Lifetime Achievement Interview

Recently I was honoured by Dr Peter Blundell - host of #TherapistsConnect @therapistsconnect - who interviewed me about my lifetime of achievements. Check out the YouTube link below. 

Linda Finlay Lifetime Achievement Interview 2023 - https://youtu.be/vgRUKyf_1_g?si=qVMuylFb-d9hPujk

Linda Finlay - Psychotherapist

Data Privacy Policy

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