About Me

Current work as a psychotherapist

In my work as an Integrative Psychotherapist, I mostly see clients privately on an individual basis. My primary theoretical framework is developmental and relational-centred and I combine ‘existential phenomenological’ understandings with other models of therapy which includes humanistic, gestalt and psychodynamic approaches. I adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice of UKCP (see www.ukcp.org.uk). 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 Skype/Facetime.

Current work as an Academic Consultant

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

  • I work with the Open University as a tutor and academic consultant (which includes writing some course materials). I currently teach on their Psychology and Counselling programmes.
  • I am also involved in teaching research to psychotherapy trainees and supervising their projects. I have a particular interest in qualitative research and how it can be applied in both health care and psychotherapy. To this end, I offer training, support, supervision and mentorship packages to both individual practitioners and institutions. I currently mentor a number of PhD students, supporting them in their doctoral studies.  I have taught a number of courses and workshops around the world including at the Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo (2013), the Psychotherapy Masters Course, University of Novi Sad (2014),  and University of Melbourne, Australia (2014)  and on the Masters programme at the Gestalt Psychotherapy Institutes in Malta and Serbia (2015, 2016). It was a particular privilege to be invited to be a visiting Professor at a PhD summer school in the Psychology Faculty at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (2012).
  • I have also been honoured by invitations to be a keynote speaker at various conferences in the United Kingdom and abroad for instance, at the Gestalt Research Conference in Cape Cod, USA (2013);  the UKCP research conference at Regent’s College in London (2014); and, more recently, at the Educatieve Academie, Antwerp, Belgium  (2017).

Professional background

I started my career in 1978 as an occupational therapist (not currently registered) working in the mental health field. 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 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 work with women who had eating disorders and co-ran several different out-patient groups. Some years later, I returned to the therapy field and re-trained as a psychotherapist. I have been in private practice as a therapist and supervisor since.

sunset from beachMy 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 turned away from clinical practice to become a full-time academic. I worked as a freelance academic and taught at a range of institutions, and also contributed to the writing of, a number of Open University courses, including the first level Introduction to Social Sciences course (D103) and a third level course in Social Psychology (D317). At about the same time, I began my PhD: a phenomenological study which came to be titled The Lifeworld of the Occupational Therapist: Meaning and motive in an uncertain world. Since completing my PhD in 1998, 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 two psychology courses: one on counselling and the other on qualitative research.

Research and writing

mexico mel 2006 first 028I am currently researching the experience of ‘being-with‘ with particular reference to the psychotherapy-client relationship and I continue to have an interest in studying trauma and disability. 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. My writing and other scholarly pursuits are both my work and my hobby.

  • My latest book (published by Wiley 2016) is about the processes and theory of relationally orientated integrative therapist and is called:  ‘Relational Integrative Psychotherapy: Process and Theory in Practice’. 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 was published in 2011 and is a practical introduction to phenomenological philosophy and methodology.
  • In 2009, the book I co-wrote/edited this with Ken Evans called ‘Relational-centred research for psychotherapists: exploring meanings and experience was published. We wanted to produce a book which would be an accessible introduction to relational-centred research. We argue that psychotherapists have significant skills that they can import into the research project such as empathy and inferential thinking.
  • Previously I’ve edited ‘Challenging choices: qualitative research for therapists (2006), with Claire Ballinger. The various contributors critically examine a variety of qualitative research methodologies and highlight the challenges that confront researchers who opt for the qualitative path.
  • I am also co-editor (with Brendan Gough) of a textbook of relevance to qualitative research: ‘Reflexivity: a practical guide for researchers in health and social sciences (2003). Comprising contributions from a range of researchers, this book is a practical guide to the use of reflexivity at different stages of the research process.
  • The books for which I am perhaps best known amongst occupational therapists are ‘The practice of psychosocial occupational therapy (1987, 1997, 2004) and ‘Groupwork in occupational therapy (1992).
  • I have also contributed numerous articles to journals which cover a wide range of topics, including empathy, the lived experience of disability, holism, occupational therapists’ perceptions of patients, reflexivity, phenomenology, embodiment, professional power, the challenge of working in teams and on traumatic abortion. My most recent publications focus on psychotherapy processes and include articles on grief, Presence and on clarifying the Adult Ego State.

Curriculum Vitae

Please click on this link to see a copy of my CV:  Linda Finlay Curriculum Vitae sept 2017

  • BA(Hons) Psychology (First Class)
  • PhD (awarded by the Open University)
  • Diploma of the College of Occupational Therapists (currently not registered)
  • Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy (UKCP registered)
  • Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling Supervision (awarded by the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies)

Personal background

rainbow BTHalf British, half American and raised in the Indian subcontinent, I experienced an extraordinary and special post-colonial early life, mostly in Delhi, India. Immigrating to UK for college, I stayed on but still like to travel regularly. I live in York, North Yorkshire with my husband, Mel whose six sons live all over the UK. We have eight lovely grandchildren, and counting…