• 9 Citations
  • 2 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Fiona Stirling is a counselling lecturer with the Department of Mental Health Nursing and Counselling at Abertay. Her undergraduate degree was in Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews, and she has since completed further studies in Psychology, Education, Youth and Childhood, and Counselling.

Her research interests are focused on creative therapies, narrative, co-production, cultural resources, self-harm, and personality disorders. Currently, she is exploring the application of reflective methodologies such as autoethnography and duoethnography.

She is also a practicing counsellor, with clients at the Tayside Centre for Counselling, based in Abertay.

Fiona is currently working towards a PhD by publication. 


  • HEA (Higher Education Academy), Fellow since 2018 
  • BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Registered Member since 2014
  • BPS (British Psychological Society) Member since 2013


  • BPS Children and Young People Expert Reference Group member (2019 - 2020) 
  • External Examiner, University of Aberdeen (2018 - Present)
  • Peer Reviewer (2014 – present) International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education


Fiona is primarily responsible for the delivery and development of the counselling modules on the undergraduate Psychology and Counselling course, which allows psychology students to develop an understanding of therapeutic techniques as they progess through their BPS accredited degree.  

She also delivers content on the Counselling MSc, which offers a pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy. Her areas of focus are counsellor-client boundaries, narrative therapy, creative therapies, and cultural perspectives. She also facilitates personal development groups and practical skills development. 

From 2018 Fiona will deliver the elective module 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest' which will introduce first year students from across the university to foundational concepts of mental health, using films and literature as a mode of further exploration. 

She is currently developing teaching around youth and childhood for both the MSc and undergraduate courses.

Research interests

Fiona's interests are focused on creative therapies, narrative therapy, co-production, cultural resources, self-harm, and personality disorders.

Currently, she is exploring the application of reflective methodologies such as autoethnography and duoethnography.

Works in progress include the experience of patients with non-suicidal self harm presenting at Accident and Emergency, therapetuic cultural resources for young people, and the experience of trainee students on the pluralistic counselling course at Abertay. 



  • Principals Award for Best Overall Postgraduate Student (University of Abertay, 2014)
  • High Commendation Writing Award (Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, 2014)


In 2017 Fiona founded the Sarah Fletcher Memorial Prize for Compassionate Practice. The prize is awarded each year to a third year mental health nursing student who has displayed continued genuine care for those in recovery from mental illness during their training. 

Contributions can be made to the fund by clicking here

Fiona also has collaborations in progress with the University of Dundee, Dudhope Young Persons Unit, and Dundee City's Libraries. 

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Research Output

  • 9 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
  • 6 Article
  • 1 Book/Film/Article review
Open Access
  • 35 Downloads (Pure)

    Journeying to visibility: an autoethnography of self-harm scars in the therapy room

    Stirling, F. J., 29 Jun 2020, In : Psychotherapy and Politics International. 18, 2, 14 p., e1537.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 85 Downloads (Pure)

    Mixed methods evaluation of an educational intervention to change mental health nurses' attitudes to people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder

    Dickens, G. L., Lamont, E., Mullen, J., MacArthur, N. & Stirling, F. J., 1 Jul 2019, In : Journal of Clinical Nursing. 28, 13-14, p. 2613-2623 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    61 Downloads (Pure)

    All in your head: making sense of paediatric pain

    Stirling, F. J., 1 Dec 2018, In : Sociological Research Online. 23, 4, p. 851-852 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    59 Downloads (Pure)