The RCTE is one of the most active research centres at Roehampton, with a national and international reputation. Founded by its current Director, Professor Del Loewenthal, it originated at the University of Surrey. There it took part in a series of joint projects with Roehampton, as part of the development of the Federal University of Surrey and subsequently what is now the University of Roehampton. In 2004, the Centre, with its staff, and students from its PhD, MSc, BSc and introductory course programmes moved to Whitelands College, then at Putney and subsequently as part of the School of Human and Life Sciences, to Parkstead House, Roehampton. The staff then, who are still in different ways involved with the RCTE, included Dr Erik Abhrams, Dr Julia Cayne, Dr Dennis Greenwood, Jayne Redmond and Diane Thomas, and were soon joined by Dr Onel Brooks, Dr Richard House, and Neil Worman.

Since then, the RCTE has developed, including being part of the Psychotherapy, Counselling and Counselling Psychology subject area to now being in the Department of Psychology. During this time, staff at the RCTE have lead the development of: a departmental wide postgraduate research training programme the PsychD in Counselling Psychology, the PsychD in Psychotherapy and Counselling, the IAPT related Certificate and Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Care, as well as contributing to the development of various other programmes in the Department, University and nationally and internationally. Whilst at Parkstead, the research centres of CATAR and CREST have evolved out of the RCTE.

The RCTE also attracted new staff, including currently Dr James Davies, Dr Anastasios Gaitanidis, Dr Anne Guy, Dr Lyndsey Moon, Dr Rosie Rizq, and Dr Rhiannon Thomas. During the last research assessment period 2008 - 2014, the RCTE was responsible for bringing in a significant proportion of the external funds within the Department of Psychology; and in 2014, the RCTE was returned in the Sociology REF.

A particular focus of the RCTE is the PhD/MPhil in Psychotherapy, which is nationally one of the longest established such programmes. This PhD/MPhil has its own training programme, which can also as the Advanced Practitioner Programme, be accessed externally. As part of the research environment for students and staff, throughout the academic year, there are weekly doctoral seminars, additionally there is a research seminar programme that as well as presenting the work of Roehampton staff and students, provides a monthly forum for national/international speakers. Doctorate students also benefit from conferences organised by the RCTE, two have been held to date in 2014/15: the annual Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UPCA), and PhototherapyEurope in Prisons and Elsewhere. Conferences are also organised with other universities, which have included: Aristotle and Athens (Greece), Cambridge, LSC, Milan (Italy), Oxford (with whom another conference is planned in 2015) and Turku (Finland), as well as with such other organisations as The Freud Museum, OECD (Paris), United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and UPCA. In particular, students can benefit from research and publications of the centre staff as well as other publications such as the European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling (Routledge), which is led by staff at the Centre; and links with professional organisations (in particular the Universities Training College and UPCA where there are significant contributions by Centre staff).

Current Research Areas Include:

CEP Research Unit

The RCTE's  CEP Research Unit is interested in providing information for psychological therapists and others on the long term as well as the short term effects of psychotropic drugs (CEP values the role of both qualitative and quantitative methods in furthering such research). To this purpose, the CEP Research Unit is first reviewing the evidence base for the long term use of the different classes of psychiatric medication, and to highlight areas where research is lacking. A second area of investigation is to examine the effects of psychiatric labels on well being.



Cotton, T. and Loewenthal, D. (2011). ‘Laing and the treatment is the way we treat people’ in Loewenthal, D. (ed) (2011) Post-existentialism and the psychological therapies: Towards a therapy without foundations, London: Karnac, 87-114 Davies, J. (2013). Cracked: Why psychiatry is doing more harm than good. London: Icon Books.

Greenwood, D and Loewenthal, D (2011) 'On Learning to work with someone with a label: psychotherapy with a person diagnosed with dementia' in Post-existentialism and the psychological therapies (ed Loewenthal, D.). London: Karnac Larsson, P; Brooks, O Loewenthal, D; (2012). ‘Counselling Psychology and diagnostic categories: A critical literature review’, Counselling Psychology Review, Vol 27 No3 Larsson, P; Loewenthal, D.; Brooks, O. (2012). ‘Counselling psychology and schizophrenia: A critical discursive account’, Counselling Psychology Quarterly Doctoral Research:

Buckland, C. In what ways if any does psychiatric diagnosis influence the way psychotherapists and counselling psychologisrs work? PsychD. Roehampton University. Supervised by Dr Anastasios Gaitanidis and Dr Julia Cayne.

Cotton, T. An exploration of whether psychotherapy is helpful or not for those who have received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. PsychD. Roehampton University. Supervised by Julia Cayne and Del Loewenthal.

Nichol, L. What implications, if any, have psychiatric labels for psychotherapeutic practice? PhD. Roehampton University Supervised by James Davies and Del Loewenthal.

IAPT Research Unit

This joint research programme (in association with an NHS Trust) has reported on:

  • The scope for low and high intensity trainees to improve psychological therapies for people with anxiety and depressive disorders from Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities (with specific reference to people from Bengali, Urdu, Tamil and Somali (BUTS) speaking communities).
  • Psychological Therapies in Primary Care (PTiPC): Evaluation of an NHS service based on the principles of 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies'.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of detecting first episode psychosis.
  • Training needs for those working to improve Access to Psychological Therapies for Black Minority Ethnic populations in the UK.

Prisons and Psychological Therapies Research Unit

The Research Unit aims to research aspects of therapeutic work in prison, particularly the relational and how thoughtful practice can be promoted with a challenging client population. The Research Unit has an active link with HMP Wandsworth, HMP Pentonville and HMP Holloway.

Current Research Projects:

  • Psychotherapy and Desistance.
  • Psychotherapy and working with 'Dangerous and Severe' offenders.
  • Prisons and promotion of a therapeutic ethos.
  • Prisons and the use of phototherapy.
  • Psychotherapy, the experience of sexual attraction when working with Prisoners.
  • The psychotherapists experience of working with sex offenders.
  • Psychotherapy and working with anger within a prison setting.
  • Prisons and involvement in therapeutic work.

UKCP Research Unit

This unit's work has included reports to UKCP on Organisational Mapping, Practice based evidence and Practice Research Networks, as well as contributions to forthcoming UKCP publications. For more information on the work of the UKCP Research Unit at Roehampton, see the article on the Unit featured in The Psychotherapist (2007).

Other areas of research include:


The project 'Phototherapy Europe: Learning and Healing through Phototherapy' was launched in September 2009. It aims to develop and disseminate phototherapy healing methods to practitioners in order to promote wellbeing and social inclusion on the basis that phototherapy can help people verbalise what they find difficult to speak of. Prof Del Loewenthal is now leading an EU funded project involving seven European partners, exploring phototherapy’s contribution to emotional learning for those imprisoned.


At the RCTE we are all practitioners (psychological therapists) and some have a particular interest in the implications of continental philosophy for practice that we term 'post-existential'.The post existential takes as an important influence Heidegger's dasein in exploring the 'well' in terms of 'being' (in the world with others), and is a particular mixture of some aspects of existentialism, phenomenology, psycho-analysis and postmodernism.

The Psychology of Children's Well-Being and a Therapeutic Ethos

The intention of this programme is to propel children's well-being onto the media agenda in order to create debate that would persuade policy makers and educators alike of the importance of acting to ensure our education system supports rather than hinders it.

Key elements of this programme have so far included:

  • Open letters to the National Press.
  • Discussion Seminars.
  • Policy Forums.
  • Conferences.
  • Publications.