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About Dr John Hills

John Hills is a lecturer in Counselling and Mental Health across courses offered by the School in Psychological Therapies and Mental Health. He is a BACP accredited psychotherapist and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

As a practitioner John has delivered therapy as part of cancer care, in hospice settings, in prison, student counselling and the third sector, and is now in private practice.

John has recently completed his PhD research: a multi-case study of his own clinical work with people who presented with physical (somatic) symptoms. The project is also an autoethnography in which his use of clinical supervision, personal therapy, dreams, and life events, intersect with formal stages of theory development. The title of John's study is: On psychosomatics and the maps in our hands: Modelling change over twelve months of counselling practice.

Current Teaching

John is the course leader for the MA in Psychotherapy, he is also module leader for the MA dissertation. In addition John is the link tutor for the MA Psychotherapy as delivered by the College of Allied Educators in Singapore. John is also leading the Therapeutic Practice module which is part of the BSc in Counselling and Mental Health.

He brings his experience as a practitioner in various settings as well as particular areas of focus emerging from the period of his PhD study including theory around change in psychotherapy, both those belonging to particular schools of practice, and those that are transtheoretical in nature.

Additionally John is delivering lectures, seminars and other learning support on the following modules:

  • Becoming a Therapist
  • Therapeutic Process and Supervision
  • The Relational Framework
  • Mental Health in Practice
  • Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Counselling Skills
  • Development Research Methods

Research Interests

John PhD centres upon the meanings and patterns of therarapeutic change. He is currently interested in the social determinants of mental health and their implications for the work of counselling and psychotherapy.

Methodologically his passion is in innovating in practitioner research, and is currently interested in the potential of participatory action research approaches, and exploring the function of subjectivity in practitioner research.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (2)

Conference contributions (6)

  • Hills J (2020) Doing practitioner research: A case study in the use of subjectivity and the self as research instrument in theory building 16/05/2020.
  • Hills J (2019) On psychosomatics and the maps in our hands: modelling change over twelve months of counselling practice Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland 19/09/2019.
  • Hills J; Cahill J; Lees J; Freshwater D (2019) Interweaving Timelines: Longitudinal patterns of change over twelve months of a counselling practice and multi-case research study Belfast .
  • Hills J; Cahill J; Lees J; Freshwater D (2018) Reflective Practice in Many Voices: Encountering multiple versions of self in psychotherapy case study research Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam .
  • Hills J; Cahill J; Lees J; Freshwater D (2018) Archetypes in Reflective Practice: Courting multiple selves in psychotherapy case study research University of Leuven .
  • Hills J (2017) Indices of Change: Analysing the indexical properties of data from psychotherapy case work to discern patterns of therapeutic change over time Salamanca .

Conference proceedings (peer reviewed) (1)

  • Hills JW; Cahill J; Lees J; Freshwater D (2018) Indices of Change: Analysing the Indexical Properties of Data from Psychotherapy Case Work to Discern Patterns of Therapeutic Change Over Time. In: . : Springer Verlag, pp. 418-424.
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