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Alison has a background that balances and blends lecturing, therapeutic practice and applied psychological research. She graduated from the Open University in 1995, and completed a PhD at the University of Warwick (2002). Following this, she undertook postgraduate counselling training (University of Birmingham, 2005). She has worked extensively in psychological research, lecturing and counselling, and has been Head of Psychology & Counselling at Newman since 2012. She has published research in the areas of teenage motherhood, heavy drinking, self-harm, gender and sexuality, and psychotherapeutic processes. As a counsellor she has worked in the NHS, Higher Education, Occupational Health, and private practice sectors. She is currently undertaking advanced training in Jungian analytical psychotherapy


Administrative Responsibilities

  • Member of Senate
  • Member of Newman Health & Wellbeing Operational Group & Advisory Board
  • Director of Studies for doctoral research students.



Alison oversees programmes in the two subject areas of Psychology and Counselling & Psychotherapy. Her own current teaching includes:

  • Time conscious approaches in counselling
  • Dissertations at undergraduate, MSc and doctoral levels.


Research Interests

  • The practice of psychotherapy (particularly psychodynamic and integrative psychotherapy)
  • Issues of gender and sexuality in mental health and in psychotherapeutic theory and practice
  • Qualitative methods (particularly psychodynamic and process methods)
  • Mental space and physical space in psychotherapeutic theory and practice
  • Counselling and psychotherapy training
  • Dreams and dreaming.

Other Activities

Membership of Professional Organisations

  • Senior Accredited member of British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • Student member of West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy.


Conference presentations

Rolfe, A. Recovery from heavy drinking: What can we learn from longitudinal and narrative
approaches? Qualitative Methods in Psychology (BPS division) conference 2013, University of
Huddersfield, UK.

Morrey, T. & Rolfe, A. What are trainee counsellors’ experiences of developing integrative
formulations? British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Research Conference
2013, Meriden, UK.


  • Phillips, L. and Rolfe, A. (2016) Words that work? Exploring client writing in therapy. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. 16 (3): 193-200.

  • Rolfe, A. and Peel, E. (2011) ‘It’s a double-edged thing’: the paradox of civil partnership and why some couples are choosing not to have one. Feminism and Psychology, 21 (3): 317-335.