Research in our school

The School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work focuses on three key broad themes.

Our school uses a range of research methodologies to ascertain the lived experiences, the health and well-being of diverse populations and implications of professional practice in the health and social services with a focus on three key broad themes/streams:

  • Children, Young People and Families
  • Migrants, Refugees and Cultural Identities
  • Professional Education, Policy and Practice

Children, Young People and Families

This research cluster explores the wide range of issues that affect the wellbeing of children, young people and families/ whānau and investigates practice strategies for promoting their wellbeing.


Dr John Fenaughty - Resources and projects to benefit services for young queer and gender diverse people
Dr Irene de Haan - Predictive risk modelling for the prevention of child maltreatment, Systems approach to reviewing family violence deaths
Dr Kelsey Deane - Positive Youth Development, Youth programming and evaluation research
Associate Professor Mike O'Brien - Causes and effects of child poverty and related policy issues, Welfare reforms and changes in delivery of and access to social services
Dr Matt Rankine - Welfare and organisations
Andrew Thompson - Family meetings, communication in health, grief and loss for bereaved parents

Migrants, Refugees and Cultural Identities

This cluster focuses on the diverse ways that people construct, negotiate and communicate multiple forms of identity and competencies. In particular, there is a focus on how the intersections of culture, gender, age, ethnicity, linguistic competencies and spirituality relate to people’s lived experiences across the domains of family, community, civil society and professional practice.


Dr Allen Bartley - Transnational migration, migrant professionals practising in Aotearoa social work settings, New Zealand cultural politics
Professor Christa Fouché - Migrant workforce experiences
Associate Professor Jay Marlowe - Refugee and migrant resettlement, identity, trauma, disaster risk reduction
Professor Liz Beddoe - Migrant workforce experiences

Professional Education, Policy and Practice

Practitioners in social work, human services and counselling operate in increasingly complex and challenging environments. This research cluster explores responses to these challenges from education, policy and practice perspectives.


Dr Carole Adamson - Disasters and recovery in the social work curriculum, resilient practitioners
Cherie Appleton - Practice teaching and learning
Professor Liz Beddoe - Continuing professional education and clinical supervision
Professor Christa Fouché - Workforce capability in the health and social services sector
Associate Professor Jay Marlowe - Integration of personal and professional identities
Associate Professor Mike O'Brien - Child poverty
Dr Matt Rankine - Professional Supervision, practice teaching and learning to professional supervision
Dr Barbara Staniforth - Public perceptions of social work
Dr Mike Webster - Leadership in social work