Document Actions

    Dr Sian Macfie

  • Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies and Psychodynamic Counselling.
  • Programme Director Counselling Short Courses.


Academic background

  • BA English (University College, Cardiff).
  • MA Arts, Education, Culture (School of Social Science, King’s College, London).
  • PhD English (Birkbeck).
  • PhD: cross-disciplinary project bringing together Psychoanalytic, Feminist, Foucauldian and New Historicist thinking. The thesis focused on social and literary constructions of gendered identity at the turn of the nineteenth century. The thesis explored issues of power and resistance in relation to the discursively constructed figure of the fin de siècle female author and in relation to women writers’ use of the motif of female ghostliness and vampirism in turn of the century gothic fiction.
  • MA: empirical research project exploring the impact of participatory arts engagement on mental health and wellbeing. The study looked at different frameworks for understanding grief processes and used a qualitative analysis paradigm for examining the impact of collaborative arts engagement on the mourning process.


  • Lecturer Open University validated Theory and Clinical Practice modules on the BA Integrative Counselling Programme (NUC).
  • Design and delivery nationally advertised training programmes on adolescent mental health (CPPD Counselling School).
  • Professional background teaching at all educational levels (PGCE qualified): secondary, VI Form, FE, HE and in alternative provision for students excluded from mainstream education.


  • Current Research
  • Most recent research, conducted at King’s (2018), is an empirical qualitative study, using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis paradigm, examining the impact upon grief processes of group creative engagement. The study focused on a multi-modal performative project for the bereaved that involved physical theatre, poetry-writing and storytelling.
  • Research Interests
  • Arts and Wellbeing: interest in practice, ethics and policy implications of work with vulnerable groups. Dr Macfie’s research draws on her professional experience as Trustee of a charity that brings psychosocial and creative engagement to adolescents living with cancer diagnoses.
  • The impact of risk, anxiety and (vicarious) traumatisation upon individual and organisational dynamics within the caring professions. Interest in the roots and impact of workplace stress including the psychodynamic and psychosocial aspects of conflict in caregiving organisations.

Clinical Practice

  • Dr Macfie balances her lecturing at Birkbeck with a clinical and consultative role in which she provides a range of services to the secondary education sector including:
  • supervision and therapeutic interventions for pastoral teams around Safeguarding issues.
  • consultancy for school leaders in relation to organisational dynamics.
  • workplace interventions for conflict management.

Clinical Background

  • Clinical training at CPPD and the Tavistock Clinic.
  • BACP Accredited Counsellor since 2004.
  • CMC Accredited Workplace Mediator.
  • Experience of working in diverse settings with a diverse client group including families (NSPCC); primary age children (Tavistock outreach); adolescents (school and community programmes); substance misuse and domestic violence (Family Alcohol Service).

Professional Roles

  • At Birkbeck
  • Lecturer BA Psychosocial Programme Counselling Pathway
  • Admissions Officer to Counselling Pathway BA Programme
  • Responsible for student progression Y3 Counselling Pathway BA Programme
  • Programme Director Psychosocial Studies and Psychodynamic Counselling Short Courses
  • Ethics Committee Member

External Roles

  • Schools Consultant (therapeutic, mediatory, supervisory and consultancy services)
  • Trustee to charity providing arts and social engagement to teenagers living with cancer diagnoses

Conference Papers

  • Conference Papers include:
  • Centre for Public Policy Research, King’s College, London (June 2019):
  • ‘Artistic Interventions for Bereavement: Implications for Policy and Practice’.
  • International Gothic Conference (UEA) ‘Radical and Reactionary Impulses in Women’s Gothic’.

Professional Membership

  • BACP Accredited Member since 2004.
  • CMC Accredited Mediator.
  • PGCE Certified.


Contact Details

Room 503b, 30 Russell Square
Department of Psychosocial Studies
Birkbeck, University of London
London  WC1B 5DT


Tel: +44 (0)207 631 6251