Dr Edith Steffen
Associate Professor in Counselling Psychology
School of Psychology (Faculty of Health)
Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth since July 2021
Co-Chair, Faculty Research Ethics and Integrity Committee (Psychology)
HCPC registered Counselling Psychologist since 2011
Prior to joining the University of Plymouth in July 2021, I was a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton (2018-2021), a Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton (2015-2018) and at the University of East London (2014-2015), a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey (2013-14) and an Associate Lecturer at the Open University (2009-2013).
I have held posts as a practitioner psychologist in community mental health (working-age adults) in the National Health Service (Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust, SABP) and have had a small private practice since 2014.
Associate Professor, University of Plymouth, 2021
Senior Lecturer, University of Roehampton, 2018
Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA), awarded 2016
Lecturer, University of East London, 2014
Research Fellow, University of Surrey, 2013
PsychD in Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Psychology (University of Surrey), awarded 2011
Associate Lecturer, Open University, 2009
BSc (Hons), First-Class, Psychology (Open University), awarded 2005
Sworn translator for the courts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, 1994
Dipl.-Uebers (Professional Degree in Translation Theory and Practice), English and Dutch (with European Law) (University of Heidelberg, Germany), awarded 1993
- Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
- Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (CPsychol)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA)
- Full Member of the Division of Counselling Psychology (DCoP)
- Registered Practitioner Psychologist/Counselling Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- Member of the EMDR Association UK & Ireland
- Member of the BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section
- Member of the BPS Community Psychology Section
Roles on external bodies
Editorial Board Member of Counselling Psychology Review
Practicum Faculty, Portland Institute for Loss and Transition
My teaching mainly falls into the areas of counselling and clinical psychology as well as qualitative research methods.
I am Deputy Programme Lead of the MSc in Clinical Psychology where I also lead on the modules
- PSYC791: Foundations of clinical psychology
- PSYC792: Understanding clinical interventions: Principles of cognitive behavioural therapy and systemic family therapy
I also contribute to the MSc Clinical Associate Psychologist where I lead on the module
- PSYC7991: Psychological interventions: Cognitive behavioural therapies and beyond
Furthermore, I also contribute to qualitative research methods teaching on the BSc in Psychology and I teach on the final-year module PSYC601 Current Topics in Psychology, where I provide an introduction to counselling psychology approaches to grief and bereavement.
Staff serving as external examiners
2018-2020 External examiner on the DPsych in Counselling Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University
2015-2019 External examiner for the 2015/16 intake of the Counselling Psychology Doctorate programme at the University of Manchester
EXTERNAL VIVA EXAMINATIONS
Lynne Jones, Doctor of Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych); title of thesis: The experience of emotion in people with fibromyalgia: A thematic analysis. University of the West of England, 23.03.2021
Emily Finney, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (PsychD); title of thesis: Life after Death: An interpretative phenomenological study of men who have experienced a sudden bereavement. University of Wolverhampton, 06.10.2020.
Catharine Hunt, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DPsych); title of thesis: Narratives of loss and resolution: Continuing bonds in the maternal experience of stillbirth. City University, 21.07.2020
Kate Gilgunn, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych); title of thesis: Exploring the training requirements for therapists to work with individuals experiencing homelessness. University of Manchester, 09.12.2019.
An Hooghe, PhD in Biomedical Sciences; title of thesis: “It’s a matter of attunement”: Exploring couple communication in times of child loss and child cancer. Katholieke Universiteit Leiden, Belgium, 19.02.2019.
Didier Danillon, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych); title of thesis: The impact of client death on cancer-care psychotherapists practising in hospices: A mixed methods study. University of Manchester, 16.01.2018.
Judith Laing, Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DPsych); title of thesis: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Practitioners' Lived and Clinical Experiences of Working with the Inevitability of Death. Regent’s University, 26th July 2016.
Lorie Muellenbach, Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych); title of thesis: An exploration of counselling psychology trainees’ perceptions of therapeutic competence. University of Manchester, 24.11.2015.
My research is in the area of Bereavement, Death and Dying (thanatology). Specific areas of interest:
Continuing bonds in bereavement - how we stay connected beyond death; I am interested in developing this perspective theoretically and philosophically in combination with exploring how people continue bonds empirically, particularly through inductive qualitative research; in 2018 I was co-editor of Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice
Sensory and quasi-sensory experiences of the deceased (SED) - the very common (cross-cultural) experience of sensing the presence of the deceased; I conducted my doctoral research on this phenomenon and have continued to study it ever since; I am co-chair of an international interdisciplinary working group on SED and have published widely on the phenomenon (see publications)
Meaning-oriented grief therapy/Meaning in Loss (MIL) - an integrative therapy approach to working with grief grounded in narrative-constructivist, existential-humanistic and emotion-focused approaches; I have conducted pilot research on the 'Meaning in Loss' Group as well as one-to-one applications of the protocol, with some early publications now appearing and more to come
Community and peer support in bereavement - I am interested in the socio-cultural dimension of grief and in how we can build a more 'grief-literate' society in which our web of interconnections includes rather than excludes the dead
CURRENT RESEARCH & SCHOLARSHIP
A survey of continuing bonds in bereavement with a focus on the quality and closeness of the pre-death relationship and differences in individualism/ collectivism (OSF pre-registrations: https://osf.io/y6vus and https://osf.io/w9472)
Meaning reconstruction processes in grief group therapy: An analysis using the revised Meaning in Loss Codebook (MLC).
Lead editor of book publication Handbook of Grief Therapies (with Robert A. Neimeyer and Evgenia Milman) Sage.
Lead author of book publication Working with Continuing Bonds in Bereavement (with Robert A. Neimeyer). Routledge.
2019-present Initiator and Co-chair of Working Group on 'Sensory and Quasi-sensory Experiences of the deceased (SED)' at the International Consortium for Hallucination Research (ICHR)
2019-2021 Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST) at the University of Roehampton
2018 Host organisation representative at BACP Research Conference, London
2018-2019 Initiator and Chair of Death, Dying and Bereavement (DDB) Research Group, a cross-research centre theme
2017 Peer reviewer for BACP Research Conference
2017-2018 Research seminars lead at the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST) at the University of Roehampton
2016-2020 Research ethics reviewer for the Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton
2014-15 Editor of Special Issue of Counselling Psychology Review on 'Positive Psychology and Counselling Psychology'
2014 Judicator for Trainee Poster Competition at the Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference, London
2014 Editor of Special Issue of Counselling Psychology Review on 'Existential Approaches and Issues in Counselling Psychology'
2013 Editor of Special Issue of Counselling Psychology Review on 'Power and Equality'
2012-2015 Associate Editor of Counselling Psychology Review
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Diego Vitali (PhD, 2021): Evidence-based principles for the conduction of group psychotherapy with chronic pain patients (University of Roehampton)
Jacqueline Aug (DCPsych, 2021): A phenomenological inquiry into how transcendent experiences among existential therapists influence their practice (New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
Helena Nundy (PsychD, 2020): Continuing bonds: The grief experience of adults bereaved by parental suicide during childhood (University of Roehampton)
Claire Vowell (PsychD, 2020): Clients’ perceptions of helpful and unhelpful factors following group grief therapy: A thematic analysis (University of Roehampton)
Ruth Anderson (PsychD, 2020): A qualitative exploration of cancer patients’ experiences of moments of relational depth with their therapist during psychological therapy (University of Roehampton)
Petra Kagleder (PsychD, 2020): Teaching epistemology in counselling psychology: An empirical analysis of the perceptions of stakeholders in counselling psychology training (University of Roehampton)
Marta Chromekova (PsychD, 2020): Therapists’ experiences of working with male clients with a history of childhood sexual abuse – implications for counselling psychology practice: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (University of Roehampton)
Laura Tinsley (PsychD, 2020): Therapists’ experiences of delivering CBT for clients with alcohol use problems: A thematic analysis (University of Roehampton)
Terence Sergeant (PsychD, 2019): Making the best of both worlds: A constructivist grounded theory study of Chinese Gay men in Britain (University of Roehampton)
Jesca Tukahebwa (PsychD, 2019): African immigrant women survivors of domestic abuse: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of their perceptions and experiences of counselling and support services in the UK (University of Roehampton)
Amy Crossley-Lewis (PsychD, 2018): The experience and meaning of compassion and self-compassion for individuals with an eating disorder presenting to a compassion-focused treatment (Roehampton)
Ian Hodges (DCPsych, 2017): Exploring the phenomenology of non-clinical depression: A Q-methodological study (New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
Danielle Phoenix (DCPsych, 2017): How individuals who experience phenomena that have been described as ‘conversion disorder’ experience agency in their lives (New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
Paula Seth (DProf, 2017): Being opened: A hermeneutic-phenomenological enquiry into the existential therapist's lived experience of wonder (New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
Emma Jartell (DCPsych, 2016): The experience of losing a sibling in adult life: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)
Nicola Taylor (PsychD, 2015): The use of music in facilitating change within the therapeutic relationship: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of therapists’ accounts (University of Surrey)
Grants & contracts
2018-19 Small (competitive) Research Grant, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton (£1,248): Travelling scholarship visit to research collaborators in Austin, Texas, USA, and Aarhus, Denmark
2017-18 Small (competitive) Research Grant, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton (£1.894): Continuing bonds in bereavement and pre-death relationship quality: A correlational design
2016-17 External research grant from Southlands Methodist Grant: Meaning in loss therapy group for compluicated grief (£2,330): A UK pilot study.
2016-17 External funding via Santander Scholarship/Mobility Support Grant (£1,000): Conference attendance in Portland, Oregon, USA
2013-14 External funding via Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) (£9,637): Mapping of the CRY Bereavement Support Programme: A qualitative study.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Reports & invited lectures
Steffen, E. M. (2021). Continuing bonds in bereavement. Invited talk given at The Grief Project, University of York, 06.05.2021.
Steffen, E. M. (2019). Sensory and quasi-sensory experiences of deceased loved ones (SED) and meaning making. Invited talk given at the Symposium on Cultural, Existential and Phenomenological Dimensions of Bereavement, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, 11.-12.11.2019.
Steffen, E. M., Kamp, K., Alderson-Day, B., Allen, P. Austad, A., Hayes, J., Leroi, F., Ratcliffe, M., & Sabucedo, P. (2019). Sensory and quasi-sensory experiences of the deceased (SED) in bereavement Working Group. Biennial Meeting of the International Consortium of Hallucination Research (ICHR), Durham, 12.09.2019.
Steffen, E. M. (2019). Interacting with the afterlife: Continuing bonds with deceased loved ones. Keynote given at the Philosophy of Religion Annual Conference, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 05.09.2019.
Steffen, E. M., Mendes, I., Alves, D., Vowell, C., Gaitanidis, A., & Milman, E. (2019). The Meaning in Loss Group (MLG): Observations from two pilot intervention groups in meaning-oriented grief therapy for traumatic and non-traumatic loss. Talk given at the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation at the University of Roehampton, 24.04.2019.
Steffen, E. M. (2019). Working with continuing bonds in meaning-oriented grief therapy. Keynote given as part of the ‘Loss & Resilience: Meaning-making through Loss and Bereavement’ Conference, University of Suffolk, 30.03.2019.
Steffen, E. M., & Sabucedo, P. (2019). Research on Sense of Presence at the University of Roehampton. Invited presentation at the ‘Hearing the Voice’ group, University of Durham, 01.03.2019.
Steffen, E. M. (2019) The Meaning in Loss Group adaptation for CREST. A talk given at the ‘New Techniques of Grief Therapy: Meaning Making in Research & Practice’ conference, Context, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; February 20.
Steffen, E. M. (2018). Working with continuing bonds in meaning-oriented grief therapy. Keynote given as part of the Continuing Bonds conference at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, 28.10.2018.
Steffen, E. M. (2018). Continuing bonds and meaning-making in bereavement: A socio-cultural and existential-constructivist approach to grief and grief therapy. Metanoia Institute, 19.05.2018.
Steffen, E. (2015). Facilitating continuing bonds and meaning-making in bereavement: Towards a viable intervention research programme. Talk given at the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation at the University of Roehampton, 08.10.2015.
Steffen, E. (2015). Difficulties conceptualising sense of presence experiences in bereavement. Talk given at an interdisciplinary seminar in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds on 17.04.2015.
Steffen, E. (2013). The experience of sensing the presence of the deceased: Conceptual challenges for perceivers, researchers and practitioners. Talk given to research students and staff at the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes at the University of Northampton on 11.12.2013.
2017 Co-organiser of International Meaning Conference (IMAC), University of Roehampton, London, United Kingdom
Other academic activities
EXTERNAL WORKSHOPS AND OTHER TEACHING/TRAINING ACTIVITY
‘Working with grief and bereavement’, Online webinar for Counselling Tutor Ltd., 27.09.2020
‘Working with grief and bereavement’, Existential Academy Online webinar, 16.07.2020.
‘Sense of presence experiences of the deceased: A primer’, live webinar delivered for the Association of Death Education and Counseling, 26.03.2020
‘Working with Continuing Bonds in Grief Therapy’ live webinar delivered for the Association of Death Education and Counseling, 13.03.2019.
‘Meaning reconstruction therapy training’, brief contributions on continuing bonds and on the Meaning in Loss Group as part of Robert Neimeyer’s 3-day series of training workshops; KU Leuven, Belgium, 20.02.-22.02. 2019.
‘Meaning-oriented grief therapy’, whole-day CPD certified workshop co-delivered with Ines Mendes from Royal Holloway, University of London, at the University of Roehampton, 06.10.2018.
‘Counselling Psychology’; an introduction to the profession and training to become a counselling psychologist; Kingston University, 06.02.2018.
‘Meaning-oriented grief therapy’, half-day workshop co-delivered with Ines Mendes from Royal Holloway, University of London, as part of the International Meaning Conference (IMEC) at the University of Roehampton, 30.06.2017.
‘Researching with Vulnerable Groups’, whole-day workshop co-delivered with Mick Finlay from Anglia Ruskin University as part of the week-long Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology Summer School at Kingston University, 04.07.2016.
‘Dialectical Behaviour Therapy’, whole-day workshop delivered as a Visiting Lecturer to final-year trainees on the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of East London (April 2016)
‘Researching with Vulnerable Groups’, whole-day workshop co-delivered with Mick Finlay from Anglia Ruskin University as part of the week-long Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology Summer School at Kingston University, 14.07.2015.