Portrait of Ms Vicki Smith Ms Vicki Smith

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v.smith@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473808


I have been in my present role-Senior Lecturer in Counselling Studies since 2007. Key achievements have been: leading in the development of a new Counselling Studies degree which recruited its first cohort in 2007; obtaining the Postgraduate Certificate in HE Practice and becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; undertaking a sabbatical which resulted in some published research focusing on the impact of the student/tutor working relationship in counselling training; beginning a PhD in 2012 (due to be completed in 2019) and presenting a number of conference papers and publishing a paper based on that research; curriculum development of a new Counselling Studies with Mentoring degree which commenced in 2016; working for CRUSE offering support to bereaved clients.

After a career break between 1997 and 1999 I worked in a number of roles including an adult guidance practitioner, a lecturer in occupational psychology, a lecturer on the diploma in careers guidance and a higher education careers adviser.

Between 1989 and 1997 I was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Careers Guidance at University of the South Bank, London. Key achievements were: completing my MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology; developing a Diploma in Guidance.

1987 saw me starting work as a Careers Adviser at the University of East London. Key achievements were: obtaining a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and developing a careers guidance curriculum 'package' for higher education students. I also worked as a counsellor with young people in the voluntary sector.  Prior to that I worked for two years as a Careers Adviser for Hampshire County Council having completed a Diploma in Careers Guidance in 1984.

Research and Scholarship

My previous research / publications have focused on the impact of student/tutor working relationships on the quality of the learning experience on counselling training courses. Initially I focused on the student perspective, finding that there were a number of qualities and relational factors which students particularly valued in their tutors and which they considered to significantly enhance their learning. I then investigated the tutor perspective, which identified some similarities with, and some interesting differences from, the student perspective. My present research focuses on existential therapists' perspectives on how they use existential philosophy in their therapeutic practice. It has so far highlighted some of the difficulties and conflicts involved in translating theory into practice. I am joint deputy lead of the Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Smith, V., Leeming, D. and Burr, V. (2016) ‘Philosophy and Identity: The Relationship Between Choice of Existential Orientation and Therapists’ Sense of SelfExistential Analysis , 27 (2), pp. 287-302. ISSN 1752-5616


Smith, V., Collard, P., Nicolson, P. and Bayne, R. (2012) Key Concepts in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A critical A-Z Guide. . Maidenhead: McGraw Hill Education. ISBN 9780335242214

Smith, V (2012) ‘It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it: the tutor perspective on the impact of the student / tutor alliance on student wellness and the quality of the learning experience in UK counselling training.’. In: Health and Wellness 2012, 18th-21st March 2012, Orlando, FL, USA


Smith, V (2011) ‘It's the relationship that matters: a qualitative analysis of the role of the student/tutor relationship in counselling trainingCounselling Psychology Quarterly , 24 (3), pp. 233-246. ISSN 0951-5070

Smith, V (2011) ‘“It’s the relationship that matters:” a qualitative analysis of the role of the student/tutor relationship in counselling and psychotherapy training in the UK.’. In: 14th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology, 27th June - 1st July 2011, Thessaloniki, Greece

Smith, V (2011) ‘It's the relationship that matters: a qualitative analysis of the role of the student/tutor relationship in counselling training’. In: 17th Annual BACP Research Conference, 6-7 May 2011, Liverpool Marriott Hotel City Centre

Smith, V (2011) ‘It's the relationship that matters: a qualitative analysis of the role of the student/tutor relationship in counselling training’. In: Health, Wellness and Society Inaugural International Conference, 20-22 January 2011, University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco, USA. , pp. 1-30


Smith, V (2010) ‘The power of relational work in existential therapy’. In: BACP's 20th Annual Research Conference: "Researching the Special Relationship", 16th-17th May 2014, London, UK


I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the BPS and the BACP and am also on the BACP register and possess the certificate of proficiency to practice as a counsellor. I am a reviewer for 'Counselling Psychology Quarterly' and perform training and consultancy work for a range of organisations on subjects such as assertiveness, time management, team building and interview techniques.

Research Degree Supervision

I am presently supervising two full-time PhD students. One project focuses on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, religiosity and lesbian and bisexual women and the implications for mental health care. The other is a synthesised approach to understanding academic anxiety in university students.

Other areas of interest include: the impact of student/tutor relationships on learning; factors which affect the quality of the HE learning experience; most subjects related to counselling and psychotherapy -but particularly existential counselling and the relationship between counselling theory and practice- and subjects relating to careers counselling and occupational psychology.

Postgraduate research opportunities with Ms Vicki Smith


MSc by Research

Enterprise Activities

I have undertaken training and consultancy projects for a range of organisations.

Administrative Responsibilities

As well as module leading on four modules, I am the admissions tutor for the Counselling Studies with Mentoring degree.

Teaching and Professional Activities

I am presently module leader for the following modules:

  • HFK2005 Introducing Counselling Skills and Process and HFK2006 Introducing Counselling Theory (both 20 credit modules taught on BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling and BSc (Hons) Counselling Studies with Mentoring)
  • HIK2004 Work-based Learning Experience (a Counselling Studies with Mentoring module) and HIK2001 Evaluating Theories of Counselling (a Counselling Studies with Mentoring module) focusing on a range of counselling theories

I also contribute to HIK1013 (Advancing Counselling Skills) and HFB2016 (Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research). I supervise third year dissertation students on the Critical Study module (HHK1014 ) and PhD supervision as detailed above.