Maria Castro

Dr Maria Castro

Senior Lecturer

Department of Professional Psychology , School of Psychology

Maria Castro Romero has been a Senior Lecturer and Academic Tutor in the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London for the past eight years, mainly teaching on the narrative framework and supervising narrative research. Before coming to UEL, she worked within community and narrative approaches as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS Mental Health for Older People Services.

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Maria has an interest in teaching-learning as a dialogical process, a psychology for social inclusion and equality; and creative and collaborative praxis with elders, women, minorities and other historically and still today largely marginalised groups.

She has a long history as a narrative and community psychologist, advocate, researcher, writer and trainer, particularly centring on praxis with people with dementia diagnoses to transform the field of dementia. She has a commitment to working alongside oppressed peoples, people who seek help or use mental health services, their families and communities, to construct humanising alternatives reflective and respectful of the pluralistic societies in which we live.

Brief biography

I joined the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology team in August 2009.

My philosophical stance is that people have expert knowledge about themselves and what works for them; my expertise is a valuing praxis: joining in with people so they can find, recover or build on their unique (and also contextual) knowledges.

Hence, as a clinician in the National Health Service (NHS) I have engaged with individuals, couples, families, carers and groups from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, within and across teams and agencies, utilising a Narrative Therapy framework.

I have worked jointly with people accessing services and staff to establish person-centred practices in the different Mental Health Services in which I have worked (e.g., Community Mental Health Team for Older People, Dementia Unit, the Memory Clinic and the Older Adults' Outpatient Psychology Service). This included supporting people in taking a central role in their care and any decision-making.

In my previous post, I encouraged local Community Psychology developments, working in conjunction with elders, statutory and non-statutory professionals, for example, as part of the steering group set up to work with a local minority community. I also took a lead in setting up the first UK Support and Social Group for people with dementia within the Alzheimer's Society and various Users' and Carers' Groups. At other levels, I promoted the participation and views of people accessing services for the development of local policies and procedures; for example, engaging people who use services to be consultants to these services.


Using the Tree of Life as a narrative approach to migratory grief among South American migrants in the UK

Co-researchers: Dr Angela Byrne and Dr Jose Lopez

Funded by The London Borough of Lambeth's "Lambeth Well-being and Happiness" grant and in collaboration with iRMO (Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organization).

Director of Studies 2014-2017

  • The Stage of Life: A Collective Narrative Project with Transgender Young People in the Community. (Narrative Analysis, NA)
  • Exploring how 'Extreme Adversity' and 'Strength' are Contextualised Amongst Eritrea Refugee People. (NA)
  • Qualified and Trainee Clinical Psychologists Experiences of Holding Religious or Spiritual Beliefs whilst Working within the NHS. (NA)

Director of Studies 2013-2016

  • Exploring Young Peoples' Constructions of a First Episode of Psychosis. (NA)
  • How do People from the Indian Gujarati Community Make Sense of Help-Seeking for Mental Health Problems (Thematic Analysis, TA)
  • Exploring how Clinical Psychologists in Forensic Settings Construct Psychopathy. (Foucauldian Discourse Analysis)
  • Factual Television Documentaries and Mental Distress: a Narrative Analysis. (NA)
  • How do Older Adults Understand and Cope with Peer-'Bullying'? (TA, to be completed in 2017)

Director of Studies 2012- 2014

  • Stories of Professional care: Narrative Analysis of Accounts from People with Dementia Labels. (NA)
  • Understanding Experience and Constructing Identity in 'Transformative' Accounts of 'Psychosis'. (NA)
  • A Narrative Analysis of Experiences of a Residential Care Farm for Young People. (NA)
  • The Sacred, Supernatural and Spiritual: Attitudes and Beliefs of Faith Leaders and Mental Health Clinicians Regarding Religion and Mental Health. (TA)
  • A Narrative Analysis of Poetry from the Words of People with a Diagnosis of Dementia. (NA, Research Dissertation for MSc Psychology, 2012-2012)

Director of Studies 2011-

  • 2011-2015  A Narrative Study Exploring Survivor/Service-User Professionals' Accounts of Sharing Personal Experiences at Work. (NA)
  • 2011-2014  Participatory Research with People with Social Anxiety. (NA and Participative Action Research, Research Thesis for the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology)
  • 2011-2013   A Narrative Analysis of Service User Accounts of Recovery from Psychosis. (NA)

Director of Studies 2010-2012

  • Effectiveness and Meaning of 'Low Intensity' Cognitive Behavioural Interventions for Latin American Immigrants in London. (mixed methods: TA/quantitative)
  • Autism and the Experience of Closeness. (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, IPA).
  • Staff Perspectives on Getting to Know an Individual with Dementia. (TA)

Director of Studies 2009-2011

  • Surviving on the Streets: a Qualitative Study of Resilience Among London's Homeless Adults. (IPA)
  • Women's Experiences of Breast Cancer when Diagnosed in Old Age. (IPA)
  • How Can the Experience of Being on a Community Treatment Order Be Understood in Service User Narratives? (NA)


Chapters - in Print

  • Castro Romero, M. (2017). Humanising mental health contexts for elders. In P. Lane & R. Tribe (Eds.) Anti-Discriminatory Practice in Mental Health for Older People. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Castro Romero, M. & Afuape, T. (2016). Teaching Liberation Psychology. In T. Afuape & G. Hughes (Eds.) Towards emotional well-being through Liberation Practices: A dialogical approach. London: Routledge.
  • Castro Romero, M. (2016) Liberatory Praxis Alongside Elders. In T. Afuape & G. Hughes (Eds.) Towards emotional well-being through Liberation Practices: A dialogical approach. London: Routledge.
  • Castro, M. (2015). Teaching ethics for professional practice. In R. Tribe & J. Morrissey (Eds.), Handbook of professional and ethical practice for psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Castro, M., & Clark-McGhee, K. (2014). Poetry written from the words of people given a diagnosis of dementia: a narrative analysis. In H. Reid & L. West (Eds.), Constructing Narratives of Continuity and Change. Hove: Routledge.
  • Castro, M., Whiteley, C., & Boyle, M. (2013). Clinical psychology. In R. Bayne & G. Jinks (Eds.), Applied psychology: training, practice and new directions. London: Sage.
  • Hearing the unheard: An interdisciplinary, mixed methodology study of women's experiences of hearing voices (auditory verbal hallucinations). McCarthy-Jones, S., Castro Romero, M., McCarthy-Jones, R., Dillon, J., Cooper-Rompato, C., Kieran, K., … Blackman, L. . 2015. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Link.
  • Hughes, T., & Castro Romero, M. (2015). A processural consent methodology with people diagnosed with dementia. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 16(4), 222-234. 
  • Castro, M., Melluish, S., & Lorenzo, A. (2014). Cuban internationalism - an alternative form of globalisation. In S. Melluish & R. Tribe (Eds.) “Culture, Globalisation and Mental Health” [Special issue]. International Review of Psychiatry, 26(3), 595-601.
  • Lopez, J., Rees, M., & Castro, M. (2014). Are low-intensity CBT interventions effective and meaningful for the Latino community in the UK? International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 7(4), 410-425.
  • Clark-McGhee, K., & Castro, M. (2013). A narrative analysis of poetry written from the words of people given a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia, 14(1):9-26.
  • Castro, M. (2011). Commentary: Psychology in Cuba as an example of possibilities for psychology in the UK. International Journal of Cuban Studies, 3(4), 357–360.
  • Castro, M., Cockerton, T., & Birke, S. (2002). From discharge to follow-up: a small- scale study of medium secure provision in the independent sector. The British Journal of Forensic Practice, 4(3), 31–39. 
  • Graziani, T., Castro, M., Menzies, D., & Cameron, A. (1999). A proposal for therapeutic group work with personality disordered offenders in the community. Criminal Justice Matters: Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System, 37, 34–35.


Module Title: Clinical Psychology

Theory and Practice 1

 Module Code: PY8 203

 Level 8

 Term 1, 2 & 3


Activities and responsibilities

  • Management of Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme modules.
  • Lecturing across the three years of the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme.
  • Academic Tutor for all Year 1 trainees on the Programme.
  • Personal Tutor for trainees across the three years of the Programme.
  • Director of Studies for trainees at different stages of the Programme.    
  • Lead in co-production with people who access/have accessed mental health services and carers (former Programme Service user and Carer Subcommittee, renamed People’s Committee).
  • Promotion of international links and knowledge exchange.
  • Research, writing and publication, and administrative tasks.


Other scholarly activities as a member of:

  • British Psychological Society's Faculty Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Involvement subgroup and the subgroup coordinating efforts towards international placements.
  • Community Psychology.
  • Liberation Psychology: The English language Liberation Psychology Network.
  • National Institute in Health Research expert referee.
  • The Centre for Narrative Research.
  • The Dulwich Centre Narrative Connections.
  • The International Scientific Committee organising the NeuroRehabana event (which takes place biannually in Havana, Cuba).
  • The Freire Project: Critical Cultural Community, Youth, and Media Activism.
  • The Cuba Research Forum.
  • Wards Corner Coalition and the Pueblito Paisa Association, promoting the rights of the local Latin American community.