About Me

Current work as a psychotherapist

In my work as a relational Integrative Psychotherapist, I mostly see adult clients privately on an individual basis. (During these challenging Covid-19 times, I am only seeing clients 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 (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 video conferencing (e.g. Skype/Facetime/Zoom).

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 occasionally writing some course materials). I currently teach on their Psychology and Counselling programme.
  • I am the 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/. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like more information: linda@lindafinlay.co.uk.
  • 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: 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). 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); the Educatieve Academie, Antwerp, Belgium  (2017); and at the Annual Conference for the British Society for Phenomenology (September 2019).

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 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.

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), 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 one psychology and counselling course (D241).

Research and writing

mexico mel 2006 first 028My writing and other scholarly pursuits are both my work and my hobby. I am the Editor for the European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy (an open access online journal – See: www.EJQRP.org).

I have published extensively.  My latest book about the therapeutic use of self, is due to be published by Sage in October 2021 and I continue to have an article or two on the go at any one time. At the moment, I am writing about the therapeutic relationship and the use of self. 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.

  • Practical Ethics in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A relational approach’ was published by Sage in 2019.
  • Previously I’ve written about relationally orientated integrative therapy:  ‘Relational Integrative Psychotherapy: Process and Theory in Practice’. 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 was published in 2011 and is a practical introduction to phenomenological philosophy and research methodology.
  • In 2009, the book I co-wrote/edited with Ken Evans, ‘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 and entrapped grief. My most recent publications focus on psychotherapy processes and include articles on Reflexive dialogue, Presence and on clarifying the Adult Ego State.

Curriculum Vitae

To see a copy of my CV, please click on this link:  http://lindafinlay.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/March-2021-CV-Linda-Finlay-3.pdf

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

Continuing professional development

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

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 the 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 a busy varied life…