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The Well-Being & Social Engagement Research Group carries out research into the following overlapping areas of applied psychology and practice.

The social engagement group explores the position of children, families and communities within complex political and cultural milieu. Utilising participatory approaches, research is conducted in partnership with marginalised groups and places ownership and leadership in the hands of those affected. Drawing on sociocultural perspectives on development, ethnographic/action research explores the meanings people give to their experiences. Current research projects include understanding experiences of girls in contact with juvenile justice systems, social reintegration of former child soldiers in post?conflict African contexts, and child-rearing in transnational families. A second strand of research explores the use of the internet and social networking and communication technology to support engagement in community settings.

Our research group aims to conduct empirical research that addresses wellbeing and optimal functioning, including flow, mindfulness, positive emotions and human strengths. Through surveys, qualitative studies and controlled experiments we aim to identify what factors enable individuals to thrive, and to evaluate the effects of interventions aiming to increase happiness and wellbeing. Ongoing research includes large scale survey of student experience, brief mindfulness interventions, reflective learning, subjective wellbeing and satisfaction with life at university, the placebo effect and health care interactions.

Counselling psychology within the context of primary care is situated at the interface between counselling and health psychology. The scientist?practitioner model is utilised by counselling psychologists working in a health care setting, in that they both deliver and evaluate the service. The research ethos of psychology as a discipline adds value to health care interventions and the understanding of multidisciplinary group processes. Ongoing research includes professional and ethical issues in counselling and psychotherapy, psychological and psychosocial factors and issues in old age, symmetry and sequence in the semantics of dreaming; work?engagement and burnout; teenage pregnancy and parenting/ lone parenting, experiential group processes, disability, particularly issues of adjustment and compensation.

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