Dr Joseph Armstrong


School School of Applied Sciences

Department Division of Health Sciences

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8712


I joined the University of Abertay in 2004 as a lecturer in counselling. Previously, I had spent some 20 years in clinical practice as a mental health nurse and counsellor/psychotherapist within the NHS, private and voluntary sectors.

My clinical experience spans a variety of in-patient and community based settings, working with diverse client groups including alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression and trauma.

I’m a trained Mental Health Nurse with professional qualifications in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy and Counselling.  My PhD – which I completed here at Abertay – is in Counselling.

I have completed accredited training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) - an evidence-based psychological treatment for PTSD and trauma reactions. I have also undertaken residency training in Solution-Focused Therapy in Germany with Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg - the originators of this approach.

Over the years, I have developed a keen interest in integrative and collaborative forms of counselling/psychotherapy practice. To support my professional practice and development, I maintain a small client caseload in private practice.

I’m an honorary research fellow of NHS Tayside and co-founder of the Scottish Voluntary Sector Counselling Practice Research Network.

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My current teaching includes subjects related to mental health, psychological therapies, research and evidence-based practice in nursing. I also act as a supervisor for students completing our Masters by Research degree, and undergraduate nursing students completing their honours year projects.

I have experience of programme leadership and have been held roles as Programme Leader for our PGDip/MSc in Counselling and the BA Mental Health and Counselling.


My research interests and activity have been focused on counselling in voluntary organisations. In particular, the development and effectiveness of volunteer counsellors, which I investigated during my Masters and PhD research. I co-founded the Scottish Voluntary Sector Counselling Practice Research Network (SVSC PRN) in collaboration with COSCA (the professional body for counselling in Scotland), which aims to enhance understanding and practice of voluntary sector counselling in Scotland.

The university offers the following research degrees: one year MSc by Research, two-year MPhil or three-year PhD.

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More Information


2012-13 - 10k from COSCA in relation to establishment and operation of the Scottish Voluntary Sector Counselling Practice Research Network (SVSC PRN).



Co-founder and former Director of the Scottish Voluntary Sector Counselling Practice Reserach Network.

External Examiner - University of Dundee, Counselling Skills programme.

Honorary Reserach Fellow, NHS Tayside.

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Anne Savage

Dr Anne Savage

Division of Health Sciences | Lecturer

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Dr Kate Smith

Dr Kate Smith

Division of Health Sciences | Head of Division

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