About us

The Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR) aims to:

  • Make a significant contribution to the generation of knowledge in social work
  • Widen the participation of social work practitioners in research
  • Develop innovative methodologies and new thinking about critical issues in social work practice and social policy enhance social work research and influence practice, professional training and policy

We do this by:

  • Developing and undertaking relevant 'practice near' research projects
  • Generating relevant, relationship-based practice knowledge
  • Disseminating research findings and sharing learning through written publications, conferences, seminars and training programmes
  • The Centre offers a distinctive 'practice near' psychosocial approach to social work practice and social policy and to understanding individuals, society and organisations.

CSWR is unique in the UK in providing this perspective, harnessing the psychosocial, multidisciplinary tradition to initiate creative social work research.

BME & Migrant Advisory Group - Safeguarding Children and Young People (B-MAG)

B-MAG was co - founded by the CSWR and the Victoria Climbie Foundation and saw its successful parliamentary launch in January 2017. A dedicated website is currently under development and links will be provided soon. For further information see the relevant section within the centre's 'Research Themes' below.


We hold an active schedule of events throughout the year. To keep up to date with what's going on please see the links at the bottom of this page.


CSWR staff are actively involved in practice, consultancy, teaching and research. They write widely in books and articles; convene and contribute to conferences, lecture series and workshops in the UK and abroad.


  • Professor Stephen Briggs - Director of the Centre for Social Work Research, School of Education and Communities, UEL


  • Kimberly Detjen - Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Communities, UEL
  • Dr Stuart Stevenson - Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Communities, UEL
  • Mark Wheeler - Senior Lecturer in Social Work, School of Education and Communities UEL
  • Dr Dawn Ludick - Senior Lecturer in Social Work, School of Education and Communities, UEL
  • Laura Hamblin-Opaluwa - Postgraduate Researcher, School of Education and Communities, UEL
  • Fatuma Farah - Postgraduate Researcher, School of Education and Communities, UEL
  • Professor Andrew Cooper - Professor of Social Work, Tavistock Clinic / UEL - email: acooper@tavi-port.org

Collaborators and Partners

PhD Students

Current Students Supervised or Co-Supervised by CSWR Members

Ben Taylor - The Allocation of the Looked After Children Pupil Premium Funding

Ben Taylor is a senior lecturer in the School of Education and Communities. He teaches on the Early Childhood Studies and Education Studies programmes. He is module leader for ED4034 (Pedagogy: Supporting Development in the Early Years) and its distance learning equivalent.  Ben also teaches on a range of other modules across the Early Childhood and Education subject area, including themes such as educational research, children with additional needs and issues and controversies in early childhood.  He has guest lectured on UEL’s Masters programme, focusing on the role of men in early years.

Ben has been working at UEL since November 2014.  His career started though in teaching children and he worked for 10 years in various roles in three different primary schools in Kent, including one Pupil Referral Unit.  During this time he completed his Masters degree with a particular focus on specialist teaching in Physical Education and research on the effectiveness of ability setting in Key Stage 2, and the role of competition and cooperation in PE.  From there he spent three years as a Study Support Manager as part of the now closed, Playing for Success initiative.  This project saw study centres opening at sports grounds all around the country, offering an innovative curriculum of extended services for schools, children and families, all based around sport.  Ben's centre at Kent County Cricket Club had a particular focus on engaging with vulnerable children and offering engaging activities to develop motivation, confidence and self-esteem.  His next role, and the one he held until he came to UEL, was as Assistant Head Teacher of Virtual School Kent.  A virtual school is a multi-agency team supporting health and education outcomes for looked after children (so not a physical school).  Ben's role, as AHT was to work with schools, foster carers and social workers to ensure that the children in East Kent had the necessary support and resources to do as well as they possibly could.  He also had responsibility for the outcomes for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.  These varied experiences have been important in my move to UEL as the Early Childhood and Education degrees cover such a wide range of topics.

Ben's PhD relates to his previous area of work: the support for looked after children.  Statistically looked after children achieve much less well than their non-looked after peers and specifically the research focuses on the allocation of the looked after children pupil premium funding.  This was a policy of the coalition government and has been continued under the current Conservative government.  Pupil premium is additional funding paid to schools to help close the attainment gap between children looked after by local authorities and their non-looked after peers. The research focuses on how this funding is used, how effectively schools and local authorities use it, and how they know it has been successful.  It is hoped that this research will be of use to all relevant stakeholders, particularly schools, local authorities, social care professionals and young people.

Fatuma Farah - "Examining Perspectives on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Among Affected Communities in the United Kingdom"

Fatuma is a trained, qualified and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) registered psychotherapist. As well as community support lead for the FGM charity FORWARD.

Her research interests are in culture, Islamic religion and faith related child abuse. She also has interests in parenting and related cultural differences.

Fatuma's PhD thesis is on "Examining Perspectives on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among affected communities in the United Kingdom" and she is currently writing an article entitled "What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and what is it doing in education". This is to be published in the  School of Education and Communities Journal: Research in Teacher Education.

For the last five years Fatuma have given multiple presentations on FGM at a variety of conferences; such as, the annual conference for the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Leeds 2016, and is shortly to present at the FGM conference organised by OSCA (Ocean Somali Community Association) that holds Somali Week within the month of October (Black History Month).

Fatuma also delivers educational seminars on FGM in a variety of settings including third year clinical psychology students at the Tavistock Centre and community events.

To contact Fatuma Farah please email: u1523680@uel.ac.uk

Laura Hamblin-Opaluwa - Child Abuse Linked to Belief in Witchcraft or Spiritual Possession

Laura Hamblin-Opaluwa is in her third year of a PhD Excellence Scholarship at UEL. Having completed her BSc (Hons) in Psychology with Criminology at UEL in 2008, she went on to work as a Research Assistant within the School of Psychology working on projects including drugs and addictive behaviours, abnormal psychology and the effective rehabilitation of gambling addicts. Whilst completing her undergraduate degree she was also involved in the Chicago School study at St Bartholomew's Hospital and completed a 3-month Psychology Assistants role in the Francis Willis, Semi Secure Unit attached to HMP Lincoln. As a postgraduate, she has also worked on a project about adolescent suicide prevention.

Laura’s current research centres on the effects of Child Abuse Linked to a belief in Witchcraft or Spiritual Possession in the UK context. Her specialist areas of interest are in Cultural and Social Psychology and the aetiology of criminal behaviour. As part of her research, Laura meets with both survivors and professionals involved in child protection cases with an aim to improve understanding of the abusive context thus leading to improved identification and reporting of such incidences. Laura conducts her research as both a student of UEL and as a member of the Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR) at UEL. She represents the CSWR at the 'National Working Group for Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief' and is a member of, and Research Assistant for, the 'BME & Migrant Advisory Group; Safeguarding Children and Young People'. She has recently attended the UNHRC Experts Workshop on Witchcraft and Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva and has forged working links with international authorities related to her area of research. Laura is a Graduate member of the British Psychological Society and also teaches in the school of Psychology here at UEL. 

To contact Laura please email l.j.hamblin-opaluwa@uel.ac.uk or follow her on Twitter @NoCHILD_WITCHES

Louise Arnold - Are Children and Young People Included in the Creation of Their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?

Louise is undertaking a PhD at UEL, and the research for this seeks to find out whether children and young people are included in the creation of their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The ECHPs were introduced in the 2014 Children and Families Act, and there is currently no research that explores children and young people’s participation in this process. The research will focus on whether children and young people feel that appropriate opportunities have been provided for them to share their views (verbally or otherwise) and whether they feel these have been accurately represented in their EHCP. The research itself will also take children and young people's views into account, using interview methods chosen by participants to best suit their communication preference, and drawing support from a steering group. There will be a strand to the research exploring parental views of this process, building upon the work Louise did for her MSc.

Louise also lectures on the Early Childhood programmes at UEL, contributing to modules online and on campus, centred around additional needs and disability. 

Mark Wheeler - "I Never Really Left": A Retrospective Qualitative Study Exploring Second-Generation African-Caribbean Men, Psychosis, & 'Self'

Mark serves as a Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Social Work and Post Qualifying Specialist Social Work/Helping Professions Programmes. He also holds workshops (Mental Health) for the BA and MA Social Work Programmes and local authority stakeholders. He was awarded a BA degree in Psychology (Major) and Philosophy (Minor) from the University of New Hampshire (Durham, New Hampshire), a Master of Social Work degree at the University of New England (Portland, Maine) in 2004 with a focus on Organizational and Community Practice and Cross Cultural Service Delivery. In 2011, He completed a second Master's Degree in (Clinical) Social Work at the Tavistock Clinic/University of East London. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. The project is titled, "I never really left": A retrospective qualitative study exploring second-generation African-Caribbean men, psychosis, and the reconstitution of 'self'. His research interests include mental health and migration, decolonial approaches to mental health care, epistemology and coloniality in mental health care, and post colonialism and mental health.

Conference papers 

4th European Conference For Social Work Research: Bolzen/Bolzano (2014) 

Paper presented - Second-generation African-Caribbean men and psychosis: Developing frameworks for anti-discriminatory mental health research 

Sumi Paik-Maier - An Exploratory Study of the Processes of Supportive Music and Imagery Therapy Conducted in South Korea

Since she received her MA in Music Therapy from New York University, USA, in 1990, Sumi has worked with various populations in different settings and has taught music therapy for many years. Sumi taught music therapy at Anna Maria College, Massachusetts, USA, as an Assistant Professor of Music Therapy (1998 - 2000). She is a Co-Director of the Guided Imagery and Music (GIM)/ Music and Imagery (MI) training at Ewha Woman's University in South Korea where she has taught and supervised since 2005. In June 2016, she started to teach the Supportive Music and Imagery method at the Integrative GIM Training Programme in London. 

PhD study

She is currently completing her research on 'An exploratory study of the processes of Supportive Music and Imagery therapy conducted in South Korea' at The Tavistock and Portman / University of East London.

She has supervised the Supportive Music and Imagery (SMI), a brief music psychotherapy, for the past 10 years. SMI works with a client's supportive resources (the supportive imagery) and uses one simple recorded piece of music, arts and verbal dialogue. She became very impressed by the changes made by the clients in six SMI sessions and this motivated her to embark on a PhD study to explore the SMI method further.

Her thesis is a qualitative study of SMI. It explores the SMI process as a brief therapy and the impact of supervision on the SMI therapy. 

The investigation applies grounded theory to analyse data and uses case studies to present the findings. There are two sets of cases analysed. The first consists of cases conducted by SMI trainees, the second of cases conducted by SMI graduates, both supervised by me. Through a matrix of eight grounded theory categories and the interactions between the categories, an interaction model of the SMI process has been generated.

The study finds that the process of SMI is an ego enhancing process by internalizing the client's good object (supportive imagery) through expressive media. In SMI, the whole process of focusing and enhancing the experience of the supportive imagery can be understood as a reparative process of 'symbol formation' of the good part of the self.


Paik-Maier, S. (2013) 'Music and imagery self-experience in the clinical supervision of trainees in guided imagery and music', in Bruscia, K.E. (ed.) Self-experiences in music therapy education, training, and supervision [e-book]. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona Publishers. Available online; E-ISBN : 9781937440435.

Paik-Maier, S. (2011) 'Working on counter transference and other personal issues through self-reflective process', Bonny method resources AMI Spring 2011 Newsletter, Vol. 24, No. 1. Parma, OH: Association for Music and Imagery.

Paik-Maier, S. (2010b) 'Supportive music and imagery method', Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 10(3) [online]. 

Conference presentations /workshops given:

Paik-Maier, S. (2014) 'An exploration of the process of supportive music and imagery therapy and its impact as a short term therapy', GIM in a changing world: the 11th European GIM conference. Consciousness-Neuroscience-Society, Berlin, 17-21 September.

Paik-Maier, S. (2014) 'Group experience of the supportive and imagery method', Music and imagery: embracing the imagination for health and wellbeing: the 5th MIAA GIM conference. Music and Imagery Association of Australia Inc., Treacy Centre, Melbourne, 26-27 April.

Paik-Maier, S. (2012) 'GIM and MI training in Korea: cultural and clinical aspects', The 3rd Anniversary of Arts Education Therapy Institute Graduate School of Education, Ewha Woman's University: the first international symposium on guided imagery and music (GIM)/ music and imagery (MI). Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, 14 January.     

Paik-Maier, S., Paek, K.S., Ha, K., Kim,Y.S. (2009) 'Music and imagery part II: understanding countertransference and therapeutic issues through a reflective music and imagery process', Transformation of consciousness through music: the 20th conference of the Association for Music and Imagery. Techny, IL, 23-27 November.

Langdon, J. Paik-Maier, S. and Summer, L. (2000) 'Practical and Innovative Supervision Strategies for Internship Supervisors', Pre-Conference Institutes, American Music Therapy Association Conference. St. Louis, MO, 15 November

Paik-Maier, S. (1999) 'Case Study of a Bipolar Client in Music Therapy', New England Region / AMTA Regional Music Therapy Conference. Meredith, NH, 27 March.

Paik-Maier, S. (1994) 'Ethical Consideration for the Music Therapist in a Hospital Setting', Annual Conference of the American Association for Music Therapy. Taminent, 11 June

Paik-Maier, S. (1990) 'A Case Study of Patient A', The Symposium of Music Therapy, The Korean Association of Clinical Art, Seoul, Korea, 26-27 October.



1 - 4 June, 24 - 26 October 2016, Seminar Leader Supportive Music and Imagery Method Integrative Guided Imagery and Music Training Programme     

Sept 2014 - Present, Co-Director Music and Imagery/Guided Imagery and Music Training. Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, South Korea

Dec 2010 - Aug 2014, Co-Director Music and Imagery/Guided Imagery and Music Training. Anna Maria College/Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, South Korea

Jan 2005 -Jan 2010, Clinical coordinator and supervisor Music and Imagery Training. Anna Maria College/Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, South Korea 

July 2007 - 2012, Adjunct Clinical Supervisor The Institute for Music and Consciousness Anna Maria College, Paxton, Massachusetts, USA

Sept 1998 - May 2000, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy Anna Maria College, Paxton, Massachusetts, USA


A key aspect of health and social care in the 21st century has been the increasing importance ‘of evidence-based’ practice and policymaking.  

The CSWR was established to enhance the evidence base for relationship-based practice and understand underlying processes in practice and policymaking.

The Centre’s research is strongly influenced by UEL's commitment to 'relationship based' social work practice and the Tavistock Clinic's tradition of exploring the underlying processes of practice from a psychoanalytic and systemic perspective.  Making sense of these processes enhances practice and extends the evidence base for policy initiatives.

Adapting the Tavistock tradition of research to contemporary issues, CSWR aims to develop and apply innovative methods that promote 'practice near' research, including:

  • Observational approaches: the application of the Tavistock model of observation applied to individuals, groups and institutions
  • Application of a case study method to explore aspects of practice through in-depth analysis of accounts of clinical, therapeutic sessions and 'work discussion' (group discussion of a case or work situation)
  • Applying narrative interview methods including the biographical narrative interview methods to achieve in-depth and different perspectives of practice and policy issues
  • Involvement of service users and front-line practitioners in the design, development and undertaking of research projects

Practice-near research makes use of deep reflexivity, and transparent theorisation to make sense of 'thick' descriptive data. It provides potential to connect the micro, in depth and specific with the macro, broad-brush and generalised. The approach can be used on its own, or within larger studies to provide another dimension.

Research Themes

BME and Migrant Advisory Group; Safeguarding Children and Young People

This group aims to focus on the child protection/safeguarding needs of children and young people in migration and within ethnic minority communities. We aim to ensure that the rights, care and protection of migrant and BME children are upheld and that best quality services are delivered to these children and young people. The responsibilities of the group are to monitor and to work to improve the quality of care for these children and young people, through supporting research, campaigning and promoting professional and practitioner communication and networking, and through publication and dissemination online and in print media. The group was established by VCF and UEL_CSWR in autumn 2016 and the group was launched at the Houses of Parliament on 18 January 2017 with the support of Keir Starmer MP. We are working with three strands: child refugees and unaccompanied minors, faith and culture, and responses to radicalisation.

Further information and documentation can be found below;

   Follow us on Twitter

   Parliamentary Launch information

   Professor Stephen Briggs' opening address at the HOC launch event

   Terms of Reference



Events will be held on a yearly cycle to cover the three workstreams we focus upon, namely Unaccompanied Minors, Culture and Faith and Radicalism. Details of these will be available via the events link at the bottom of this page in addition to more specific posts here;

Culture & Faith Seminar

April 24 2018 – BMAG Culture and Faith Seminar; Symposium on FGM
BMAG are holding a Symposium on Female Genital Mutilation from 5.30 to 8pm at the UEL Stratford Campus. The symposium will comprise of 3 panellists. Further information and booking

On October 17 2017 - The Centre for Social Work Research at the University of East London, was pleased to host the research seminar, "The W-Word: Witchcraft branding and spirit possession: Challenges for professionals", followed by the book launch. The seminar focused on the issue of witchcraft labelling/branding and spirit possession, and considered how practitioners can work effectively with such concerns. Dr Prospera Tedam, opened the research seminar with a general overview of the issue of witchcraft branding, spirit possession and child safeguarding. Psychologist & PhD Student Laura Hamblin-Opaluwa documented early findings from her research on the topic of child abuse linked to a belief in witchcraft and spirit possession particular to the issue of the self disclosure, and Noktula Ruparaganda, a newly qualified social worker, discussed the role of the church in addressing abuse of children linked to witchcraft and spirit possession.

The research seminar was followed by the successful launch of the newly published book "The W word: Witchcraft labelling and child safeguarding in social work practice" by Dr Prospera Tedam. Professor Stephen Briggs introduced the book, which was then followed by a further presentation by Dr Tedam.

View Dr Tedam's slides.

View Laura Hamblin-Opaluwa's slides.


Children & Young People in Migration Seminar

A seminar is planned for this workstream for Autumn 2018


Radicalisation Seminar

A seminar is planned for this workstream for Summer 2018

If you would like to be kept up to date with info about upcoming events please follow us on Twitter @safeguardingBME or email l.j.hamblin-opaluwa@uel.ac.uk quoting 'B-MAG Info' and request that your email be added to our database.

Social Work Education

The CSWR is at the forefront of empirical research into pre-qualifying and post-qualifying social work education and continuing professional development. We have had a major focus on practice learning and assessment which is of importance given "the practice placement" is a key component of not only social work but other cognate professions.  Practice learning, i.e. assessed periods of practice in the field, despite its centrality in pre-qualifying social work training, can still be considered an under-researched phenomenon, which is a concern given the importance of the practice learning site as a key site of gatekeeping for many caring professions. This workstream, emerging originally, from Jo Finch's 2010, Professional Doctorate in Social work, has since developed further in a number of groundbreaking and exciting ways, for example utilising a range of methodological approaches, including ethnographic and practice-near, and utilising psychodynamic theory to interrogate the findings further. Recent work by other members of the centre has centred on supervision of qualified staff and innovative approaches in qualifying social work education.

The Experience of Failing a Student in a Placement: Jo Finch's doctorate explored the experiences of practice educators (those tasked with the task of assessing social work students in practice) of working with a struggling or failing student in a practice learning setting. The experience was often felt to be stressful and practice educators experienced a range of strong and overwhelming emotions, which, the thesis argued, could serve to impact adversely on a fair and transparent assessment process. Concern was raised that some students may be passing the placement when the evidence suggests they were not yet ready. The findings were further reported in a Special Edition on Field Education, of the influential and International Social Work Education Journal.

A further empirical study was also undertaken of social work tutors experiences of working with students struggling or failing in practice learnings settings.  A key finding suggested that at times, tutors struggled to manage the demands of their profession (i.e. social work) and the key aim of ensuring service users are protected from harm, with the demands of their universities with the focus on students' rights.

"Supporting Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide" (Policy Press, Bristol) is also by Jo Finch and was published at the end of March 2017. This book is very much aimed at practice educators from social work and cognate disciplines, who assess students in clinical or practice placements.

International Comparative Study (Practice Educators Experiences):  This empirical study, compared the findings of the British study documented above, with the experiences of Italian practice educators working with struggling or failing students. Similarities and differences in the experiences of British and Italian practice educators emerged in the findings and the study explored the possible reason for the differences. A key finding suggested that both groups of practice educators did not actively embrace the gatekeeping role. Further theorisation and analysis of the findings can be found in the following book chapter: 

Finch, J. and Poletti, A. (2016)  Italian and English Practice Educators Experiences of Working with Struggling or Failing Students in Practice Placements in  Taylor, I .et al (Eds) Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Education, Routledge, London

Theorising Practice Assessment:  Work has also focused on theorising the experiences of practice educators utilising psychodynamic approaches. For example, consideration of how far projective identificatory processes may account for the dynamics that can emerge when a practice educator works with a struggling or failing student. Further theoretical work has utilised Menzies–Lyth seminal study on organisational defences against anxiety, to consider whether the projective identificatory processes identified previously, may be seen as manifestations of particular organisational and societal defences, against the anxiety induced by the social work task. See the following book chapter:  

Finch, J. & Schaub, J. (2015) Projective Identification as an Unconscious Defence: Social Work, Practice Education and the Fear of Failure. in Armstrong, D. & Rustin, M.(eds) Social Defences against Anxiety: Explorations in the Paradigm, Karnac, London

Decision Making: A further focus in this work stream has been on decision making processes with regard to failing students.  Empirical work, utilising practice-near and ethnographic methodological approaches, explored group decision making about failed students, in a university context.  The research on Practice Assessment Panels, funded by the Higher Education Academy, was the first ever research on these panels, a long standing feature on social work training programmes. The HEA report can be located here.  This work was then subsequently further theorised utilising psychodynamic theory (article not available due to publisher’s embargo) and appeared in the Journal of Social Work Practice.

Innovation in Social Work Education, Supervision and CPD: The work of the centre has also focused on innovation in qualifying social work education, supervision and continuing professional development.

Dr Stuart Stevenson for example, has explored supervisory processes, constraints and challenges when offering supervision to organisations working with mental health issues in the context of organisational dynamics that hinder performance. This included a discussion on the issues that emerged in three different contexts.

      -   Supervising Mental Health Professionals in the Context of Complex Organizational Dynamics: Journal of Social Work Practice. (29) 4, pp.445-456.

Dr Dawn Ludick
Dawn Ludick's presentation at the Annual Health and Social Care Conference 2016. Inspire to succeed: Transforming teaching and learning in Health and Social Care. Presentation Paper Title: 'Embedding employability' starts on the first day of the first week in the first year for Social Work students on the BA (Hons) in Social Work degree at the Higher Education Academy can be found here.

Public Dissemination:
Jo Finch has spoken at many public events about her research on practice learning, including key note speeches, research seminars, invited conference speaker and peer reviewed conference presentations.  For further details see Jo Finch's UEL profile.   

Training and Consultancy:
Jo Finch currently offers training and consultancy to organisations wishing to focus on managing struggling and failing students in practice learning settings.  Please contact Jo Finch for further information (J.Finch@uel.ac.uk

Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm

Our research impacts widely through training events and workshops for practitioners in the UK and internationally, and influencing policy through, for example, membership of NICE Clinical Guideline Development Groups.

Current Projects

Systematic Review: The effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as an intervention for the prevention of suicide, and the reduction of self-harm/repeated self-harm Authors: Stephen Briggs (1), Gopal Netuveli (1), Antigone Gkaravella (1,3), Patricia Kangogyere (1), Mark Goldblatt (4), Reinhard Lindner (5), Nick Gould (2), 1: University of East London, UK; 2: University of Bath, UK, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK, 4:Harvard University, USA, 5: Hamburg Eppendorf University, Germany.

Why the review is important:

  • Reducing suicide risks and repeated self-harm is a high health and social policy priority
  • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a widely practised intervention
  • A few clinical trials of the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy for reducing suicide and self-harm have been reported but to date, there has been no systematic review of this intervention.

A protocol has been developed, as for the Guidance for Developing a Cochrane Protocol (2011).

Initial findings were reported at the European Symposium for Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour 2016.  

Evaluation of the Place of Calm, Grassroots Training and the Counselling Partnership 'Survivors of Suicide' Counselling Service (East Sussex)

During 2016, CSWR undertook an evaluation of a new service, the Place of Calm, (commissioned by East Sussex County Council), for people in a suicidal crisis. The Place of Calm takes an innovative approach to meeting the needs of people who are suicidal, offering a stay of up to 24-hours, to provide practical and emotional support, using a Peer Support approach. The final report concluded that the Place of Calm offers a helpful and distinctive model for people in suicidal crises, which is de-stigmatising, non-medical, and highly valued by people who stay there.
Currently, we are evaluating two linked suicide prevention projects: Grassroots, which provides training for frontline staff working with people who are suicidal, and the Survivors of Suicide Counselling Service.

Understanding adolescent suicide groups

Group suicidal behaviour amongst young people can have devastating consequences for young people, families, practitioners and communities, and there are concerns that it may be increasing, influenced by online media and reported increasing rates of self-harm. It is crucial to know more about which young people are involved, how suicidal behaviour spreads and how practitioners can effectively intervene. In collaboration with Cardiff University and CAMHS practitioners, we have conducted a qualitative research study of how practitioners identify and work with risks of suicide in adolescent peer groups. An article reporting the findings and follow-up research are currently in preparation. The findings to date were reported at the European Symposium for Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour 2016.

See also: M. Goldblatt, S Briggs, R. Lindner, (2015) Destructive Groups: The Role of Projective Identification in Suicidal Groups of Young People, British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31, 1, 38–53.

Mental Health

This part of our website is under redevelopment. In the meantime below is a brief overview of the areas of research we are involved in currently;

  • Infant, adolescent and adult mental health
  • Infant observations
  • Early infant-mother interactions and patterns of attachment



CSWR has been selected by the University as an impact case study submitted for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the Social Work and Social Policy Unit of Assessment. In due course, this case study will be uploaded here. The REF decision making panels will assess the 'reach and significance' of impacts on the economy, society and/or culture that were underpinned by excellent research conducted in the submitted unit, as well as the submitted unit's approach to enabling impact from its research.

Improving practice and influencing policy
Through working closely in partnership with practitioners, our research aims to provide benefits to practitioners through training and consultation and influence policy debates.

Recent policy impacts include: a House of Lords debate on the Children’s Bill adopted the findings and conclusions of the report on Safeguarding Children’s Rights (Briggs et al 2011)

CSWR's evaluation of the Trust for London’s initiative "safeguarding children’s rights: exploring issues of witchcraft and spirit possession in London's African Communities" was referred to in debate in the House of Lords over amendment 243 of the Children and Families Bill 2013. Following full debate, with a significant role taken by Baroness Howarth, who chaired the advisory group of the Trust for London initiative, the findings from our report were agreed with and adopted - that the best protection for children who are attributed properties of witchcraft or spirit possession is through application of the child protection and the international framework for children’s rights frameworks rather than through specific legislation.

As was commented in the debate we agree that there continues to be a need to further research the issue, regarding prevention and assessing the effectiveness of interventions by practice organisations for identifying and responding to cases where attributions of witchcraft and spirit possession are suspected.

CSWR works closely with many UK practice organisations in statutory and third sectors, including CAMHS in Leicester, Tower Hamlets and Kent, Kids' Company, Victoria Climbie Foundation, Mothertongue ethnic counselling, Maytree; a sanctuary for the suicidal.

Training and learning programmes

CSWR is linked with the undergraduate (BA) and postgraduate (MA) qualifying programmes in social work, and a range of postgraduate post-qualifying programmes, including the Professional Doctorate in Social Work, which includes an MA and the Advanced Award, the PhD in Child Protection, and the MA in International Social Work. There are additionally opportunities to undertake individual PhD studies.

Social Work Qualifying programmes

UEL provides a three year BA in Social Work and, in partnership with the Tavistock, a two year MA in Social Work.

Tavistock/UEL: (Courses and professional training/Tavistock course/by subject): link

Contact us

For further details about the research activities of CSWR:

Follow - Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR)

Follow - Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR)