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Enhancing recovery from domestic abuse using Wilderness Therapy and Care Farming

About This PhD Project

Project Description

• Basic Funding details – Full time Home/EU fees and a stipend of £15,009 p.a.
• Application deadline – Tuesday 7th May 2019
• Start date – October 2019
• Duration – 3 years full-time
• Location – Colchester campus
• School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences; Department of Psychology; School of Health and Social Care

Brief overview:

This project will be an examination of using the green exercise activities of wilderness therapy and care farming for improving the health, wellbeing and resilience of survivors of domestic abuse (umbrella term). Such activities are expected to be particularly efficacious, as we know both that nature environments enhance the positive psychological outcomes of exercise per se, and that green exercise activities are salutogenic through their affordance of opportunities for psychological, physical and social behaviours and experiences that fulfil basic psychological needs and enable self-reflection and the psychotherapeutic process of cognitive restructuring.

This PhD will generate understanding of (i) how well, and (ii) how wilderness therapy and care farming can ameliorate poor health, wellbeing and resilience in cohorts of domestic abuse survivors. This will include quantitative and qualitative methods. It will also examine how these green exercise activities can work within existing support systems in order to improve the efficacy of the entire ‘offer’, and will assess the economic case for GE interventions of this kind for this group.

Detailed funding information – The award consists of a full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students (see for further fee details), a doctoral stipend equivalent to the Research Councils UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20), plus £2,500 training bursary via Proficio funding, which may be used to cover the cost of advanced skills training including conference attendance and travel.


• Dr Mike Rogerson (School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences)
With research expertise in the fields of exercise sciences (particularly green exercise research) and psychology, Dr Rogerson has also examined the role of wilderness expeditions for self-esteem and behavioural issues in youth at risk; and care farming for wellbeing in adults living with loneliness/dementia.

• Dr Nick Cooper (Department of Psychology)
Dr Cooper has research expertise in stress & aging, mirror neurons, and neuroscience techniques, and has investigated participation in green exercise (fishing, equine therapy, falconry) for military veterans living with PTSD.

• Dr Leanne Andrews (School of Health and Social Care)
Dr Andrews is a health psychologist and researches topics closely aligned to both clinical and health psychology. She has also investigated participation in green exercise (fishing, equine therapy, falconry) for military veterans living with PTSD.

Applicants will be asked to provide:
• A research proposal of no more than 600 words, outlining suggested research focus(es), approach(es) and/or studies that applicants would be interested to include within their PhD.
• CV
• Covering letter
• Transcripts of any undergraduate or masters programmes.

For more information and details on how to apply please follow this link

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