Dr Mhairi Thurston

Biography

I’m a senior lecturer in Counselling with over twenty-five years’ experience in education. I’m a Registered, Accredited Counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

In 2011, I was appointed to the BACP Board of Governors. From 2010 to 2017, I was Chair of VISION UK’s  Counselling and Emotional Support Services Committee (CESS). 

My particular research interest is the social and emotional effects of acquired sight loss. Additionally, I am interested in wider issues surrounding disability, equality and inclusion. My initial research into the emotional impact of sight loss won the BACP New Researcher Prize in 2009. I have since delivered invited keynote speeches and papers at a number of national conferences.

My research has featured on BBC News and in the national press. In 2010, I presented the findings of my research to the Health Minister for Scotland, as part of a successful bid to help secure funding for RNIB’s expansion of their Eye Clinic Liaison Service throughout Scotland.

Dr Mhairi Thurston

Biography

I contributed to the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011, regarding the accessibility of health information for blind and partially sighted patients.

I am strongly committed to making a difference to policy and practice in the field of counselling and vision impairment. I am a member of Cross Party Advisory Group on Vision Impairment at Scottish Parliament and I was on the Scottish Vision Strategy Advisory Board from 2010 – 2016. I was also involved in the Scottish Government’s review of Certification and registration in 2017, which was led by Professor Carrie McEwan.

I am a member of the editorial board for Disability and Society and an associate editor for the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education.

I have a guide dog called Meadow.

Dr Mhairi Thurston's guide dog Meadow

Research Publications

Thurston, M., Smith, K., Eva, P. & McLeod, J. (in preparation). Degenerative sight loss: Using systematic case study research to build a client defined practice model of counselling

Pybis, J., Thurston, M., Dennison, C., Broom, M. & Miller, A. (2016). The nature of emotional support and counselling provision for people with sight loss in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Visual Impairment. 34 (2), 167 – 176.

Lumsdaine, S & Thurston, M. (2016). Growing up in a mainstream world: A retrospective enquiry into childhood experiences of mobility disability. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education.DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2016.1194380

Willis, D & Thurston, M. (2015). Working with the disabled patient – exploring student nurses’ views for curriculum development using a swot analysis’. Nurse Education Today. 35 (2), 383 - 387.

Scott-Brown, K. C., Harris, J., Simmers, A., Thurston, M., Abbas, M. deMajo, T., Reynolds, I. Robinson, G. Mitchell, I, Gilmour, D. Martinez, S., & Isaacs, J. (2014). Tapology: A game-based platform to facilitate e-health and e-inclusion. In Stephanidis, C. & Antona, M. (Eds) Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Part III, 8515,  pp 368-377.

Thurston, M. (2014). ‘They think they know what’s best for me’. An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of inclusion and support in high school for vision impaired students with albinism. The International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. 61(2), 108 - 118.

Thurston, M.  & Thurston, A. (2013). Risks to client confidentiality when communicating health information to blind and partially sighted persons. Disability, CBR &Inclusive Development. 24(1), 22-39.

Thurston, M., McLeod J. & Thurston, A. (2013). Counselling for sight loss: Using systematic case study research to build a client informed practice model. British Journal of Visual Impairment. 31(2), 102-122.

Thurston, A. & Thurston, M. J.  (2013). A literature review of refractive error and its potential effect on reading attainment in the early years of school. Optometry and Visual Performance. 1(1), 44-56.

Armstrong, J., Hawkins, A. & Thurston, M. (2013). Practice Research Networks: Promises, Pitfalls and Potential. Therapy Today. (May) 35-37.

Thurston, M., McLeod, J., & Thurston A. (2012). Counselling for sight loss. Using Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design methods to explore outcome and common factors. Counselling Psychology Review 27(4),59-70.

Thurston, M. (2010). An enquiry into the emotional impact of sight loss and the counselling experiences and needs of blind and partially sighted adults. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 10(1), 3-12

Thurston, M., Thurston, A. & McLeod, J. (2010). The socio-emotional effect of the transition from sight to blindness. The British Journal of Visual Impairment.28(2), 90-112.

Thurston, M. & Thurston,  A.  (2010).The accessibility of health information for blind and partially sighted people. RNIB: Edinburgh

Thurston,  M. &Thurston, A.  (2010).The accessibility of health information for blind and partially sighted people. Campaigning for health equality. RNIB:Edinburgh

 

Book Chapters

Thurston, M., McLeod, J., & McLeod, J. (2014). How to use case study methodology with single client therapy data. In Vossler, A. & Moller, N. (Eds.) The counselling and psychotherapy research handbook. (pp 212 - 225). London: Sage.

McLeod, J., Thurston, M. & McLeod, J. (2014). Case study methodologies. In Vossler, A. & Moller, N. (Eds.) The counselling and psychotherapy research handbook. (pp198 - 211). London: Sage.

McLeod, J., Smith, K. & Thurston, M (2015). Training in pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy.  The Handbook of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. (chpt 26) London: Sage.

McLeod, J., Thurston, M. & Smith, K. (2015). Helping clients who have health issues. The Handbook of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. (chpt 20). London: Sage

Conference Papers and Invited Keynotes

Smith, K. McLeod, J, Thurston, M (2016) Teaching Integartive Counselling; The Pluralistic Appraoch.  International Conference for the Sociatey of Psychotherapy Integration SEPI, Dublin, RI. 16th-18th June 2016.

Thurston, M. (2016). The nature of counselling and emotional support for blind and partially sighted people in the UK. Scottish Vision Strategy Conference. Stirling. 23rd March 2016.

Smith, K., Thurston, M., McLeod, J. (2015) Teaching Pluralistic Practice. Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration.  Annual Conference.  Baltimore, Maryland, 18-21st June 2015.

Thurston, M (2015) Emotional support and counselling for sight loss : Vision UK 2015 Conference: Working together to  deliver the UK Vision Strategy. London. 18th June 2015.

Smith, K. Thurston, M., Eva, P., McLeod, J. (2015). Counselling for adults with diabetes: A plurlalistic approach.  BACP Research Conference, Nottingham, 15-17th May, 2015.

Thurston, M., Smith, K., McLeod, J, Eva, P. (2015). Research informed service development BACP Research Conference, Nottingham, 15-17th May, 2015.

Thurston, M. (2014). Emotional Support in sight loss. (Chair) UK Vision Strategy conference. London. June 12th 2014.

Scott-Brown, K., Harris, J., Simmers, A., Thurston, M., Abbas, M., Robinson, G., Reynolds, I., De Majo, T., Gilmour, D., Martinez, S., Isaacs, J.  (2014). Tapology: A game-based plat-form to facilitate e-health and e-inclusion."¿ HCI International Conference. Crete. 22nd – 27th June, 2014.

Smith, K., Thurston, M., Eva, P., McLeod, J. (2014). Using the Ward Method as a structure for team-based analysis of complex case data. Society for Psychotherapy Research. Copenhagen. 25th -27th June, 2014.

Thurston, M., Smith, K., Eva, P., McLeod, J. (2014).  Counselling for Sight Loss: An update. Scottish Vision Strategy Spring Conference. Stirling 26th March, 2014.

Thurston, M & McLeod, J. (2013). Counselling for sight loss: The latest evidence. Scottish Vision Strategy Spring Conference. Stirling. 20th March 2013


Thurston, M. & McLeod, J. (2013). Emotional support for sight loss: The latest evidence. RNIB Fringe event at Liberal Democrat Party Scottish Conference. Dundee. 15th March, 2013


Thurston, M & Hawkins, A. (2013). I’m in the world, but I’m not really here: Working effectively with blind and partially sighted clients. BACP Annual Student Conference. Royal Imperial College London. 23rd Feb  2013

Thurston, M & McLeod J. (2012). Counselling for sight loss: using case study methodology to develop a practice model. Vision Impairment Network for Counselling and Emotional Support National Conference. Birmingham 8th Nov 2012

Thurston, M. (2012). Sight loss and aging. iAge. European partner meeting, University of Abertay Dundee. 29th -31st August.

Thurston, M & McLeod J. (2012). Counselling for sight loss: using case study methodology to develop a practice model. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Annual Research Conference. Edinburgh.10th-12th May

Armstrong, J. Hawkins, A. & Thurston, M. (2012). Practice research networks: promises, pitfalls and potential. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Annual Research Conference. Edinburgh.10th-12th May.

Thurston, A., Burns, V., Topping, K. J. & Thurston, M.J. (2012).Social effects in peer tutoring. American Education Research Association Annual Gathering . Vancouver. 13th -17th April 2012

Thurston, M. &Thurston A. (2012). Access to health information. Scottish Vision Strategy Spring Conference. Stirling. 28th March 2012

Thurston, M. (2011). Emotional support in sight loss.Scottish Council on Visual Impairment annual conference. Dundee 24th June 2011

Thurston, M. (2011). Chair person’s address. Vision Impairment Network for Counselling and Emotional support (VINCE) annual conference. Birmingham. 24th March 2011

Thurston, M. & Thurston, A. (2010). The impact of inaccessible healthcare services on the lives of blind and partially sighted clients: Implications  for counselling practitioners. COSCA Annual Research Conference. Stirling. 23rdNov 2010

Thurston, M. & Thurston, A. (2010).  Access to Health Information for Blind and Partially Sighted People: (Presentation of Evidence in support of the Patients’ Right Bill Scotland to Health and Sport Back Bench Committee, Scottish Parliament. Sept 29th 2010)

 Thurston, M (2010). The accessibility of health information for blind and partially sighted people. Cross Party Advisory Group for Visual Impairment. Scottish Parliament. May 20th 2010

Thurston, M. (2010).  Blindness Matters.. 14th Eyecare 3000, Royal College of Optometrists, Glasgow. January 16-18 th 2010.

Thurston, M. (2009). How can we deliver emotional support to blind and partially sighted adults? (Invitation.) Visual support workers training event. Glasgow. June 2009.

Thurston, M and McLeod. J.(2009). An inquiry into the emotional impact of sight loss and the counselling experiences and needs of blind and partially sighted adults. BACP Annual Research Conference. Portsmouth. May 2009. Accessible at: www.bacp.co.uk/research/conf_archive/2009.php#q54

Thurston, M. (2009). My life’s a dimmer candle now: Experiences of sight loss. Key note address. Blindness Matters Conference. Inverness. April 2009.

Thurston, M. (2009). The emotional impact of sight loss. Royal National Institute for the Blind fringe event at Scottish National Party Annual Party Conference. Glasgow. March 2009.

Thurston, M and McLeod, J. (2008). The emotional impact of sight loss and the counselling experiences and needs of blind and partially sighted adults. COSCA Annual Research Conference. Stirling. November 2008.

Thurston, M. (2008). The transition from sight to blindness. Key note address. RNIB Best Practice Conference for launch of Scottish Vision Strategy. Stirling. October 2008.

 

I have been a member of the Scottish Executive, Cross Party Advisory Group on Vision Impairment since 2010. This group meets four times a year at Scottish Parliament and brings vision impairment issues to the attention of the Scottish Executiive.

I have been a member of Scottish Vision Strategy Advisory Group since 2010. I contribute to the strategic direction of policy, practice and research within the field of vision impairment in Scotland.

In 2011 I was appointed as Governor of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. I contribute to the strategic direction of this professional body (membership circa 40 000) and ratify major corporate decisions.

In 2011 I was appointed Chair of Vision 2020UK Counselling and Emotional Support Services Group (membership 225). This group is part of the VISION2020UK organisation. I am responsible for leading and setting the strategic direction of policy and research within the group.

In 2011, I was appointed to the editorial board of Disability and Society. I review research papers and provide feedback to authors and to the editor

In 2014, I was appointed to the governance team of RNIB Scotland. I contribute to the strategic direction of policy and practice within this organisation

In Sept 2014 I became external examiner for the counselling courses at York St John University.

In Oct 2014, RNIB invited me to become a member of the Project Board for the Early Intervention and Rehabilitation in Eye Care Services project (EIRECS). EIRECS is a three-year project, funded by Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (Department of Health), which aims to ensure that every person experiencing sight loss benefits from early access to a nationally agreed eye care pathway, promoting independence, choice and control.  Working with Rehabilitation workers and Local Authorities, EIRECS aims to strengthen the workforce through training and learning networks to support integrated health and social care provision. By creating a sustainable model to provide practical support, EIRECS will connect blind and partially sighted people to services and commissioners to improve health and care outcomes

In April 2015, Professor Carrie MacEwan invited me to become a member of a small steering group reviewing Vision Impairment Registration in Scotland.

In May 2015, Prof Robyn Gillies, University of Queensland, invited me to become an Associate Editor of The International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. (Routledge)

In 2017 I became external examiner for Glasgow Caledonia Counselling Skills Certificate

I am an occasional reviewer for both International Journal of Educational Research and Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.

I  peer review external academic grant proposals for ESRC and Local Authority funders

Media Appearances

BBC Scotland News interview – Visually Impaired people have difficulty with NHS 30th Sept 2010

STV News - Interview: Launch of RNIB campaign “What would you lose?” September 2009

BBC Radio Scotland - Interview: Launch of RNIB campaign “What would you lose?” September 2009

Awards

British Associaton for Counselling and Psychotherapy - New Researcher Award 2009

Forthcoming Events

Tues 4th Sept 2018 – Chairing at BACP Making Connections Event in Edinburgh

Tues 11th Sept 2018 – Addressing the Cross party Group On Visual Impairment at Scottish Parliament about the impact of sight los on mental Health

Friday 28th September – Keynote Speech about sight loss and mental health at Need to Talk project event in Glasgow

Monday 22nd October and -Tuesday 23rd October – Delivering Counselling for Sight Loss Accreditation Course in Manchester

18th-19th October - Counselling Research Clinics Consortium meeting