Call for participants into a research project as part of a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling at University of East London.

“A Thematic Analysis on the Perspectives of /Counsellors and Psychotherapists regarding the Therapeutic use of Psychoactive Substances”

An increasing evidence base is demonstrating the benefits of trained professionals therapeutically using Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) in controlled and reputable settings, to address mental health issues (John Hopkins, 2023).

With the reclassification of psychoactive substances in many US states (Psychedelic Alpha, 2023; YouGov, 2023), calls to do so in the UK (Neil, J; Tai, S; Gigg, J. 2022), the setting up of centres for research and learning in the UK (University of Exeter, 2023; NIHR, 2023) and with significant investment and funding in the area (Insight Ace Analytic, 2023), it is highly likely that PAP will have an impact on counselling and psychotherapy.

This research seeks to explore what this means for the profession by capturing the perspectives of trainees, recently qualified and experienced counsellors, without any specific training and experience in PAP. It will also seek to engage relevant professional bodies and counsellors/psychotherapists already engaged in this area of work. The aim is to explore their understanding and perspectives of working in this area now, or in the future.  

The research will be qualitative in nature and will use Thematic Analysis.

Participation will involve either / and : 

  • Completing a questionnaire that should take approximately 10 -15 minutes;
  • An audio-recorded anonymous interview online or in person lasting 30 minutes; 
  • A recorded focus group made up of other relevant professionals lasting 1 hour 

This information will be of use to agencies (such as the BACP) that seek to support and promote the counselling professions, influence decision makers, develop evidence-based training standards, promote access to services and ethical practice and that seek to demonstrate the effectiveness of counselling. (BACP, 2023)

One of the aims for this study will be for it to be submitted to the BACP Counselling & Psychotherapy Research Journal (CPR). This is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to linking research with practice in counselling and psychotherapy and that accepts submissions (of under 7,500 words) from counsellors / psychotherapists. 

The results of the study will also be disseminated through the UEL Alumni Network which is a network for all graduates of the University of East London, that provides opportunities for engagement with the university and among students including potentially via an article in their 'Now and Then' magazine which is published for UEL graduates. Opportunities to present and discuss the findings within UEL will also be further explored, including the potential to attend and present at appropriate sessions within the universities counselling & psychotherapy courses.

The project has been approved by the University of East London's Ethics Committee and will be undertaken in accordance with BACP Ethical Guidelines. 

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Seán by phone on 074 1387 4808 or email me on

Thank you