Kathryn Gleeson

Dr Kate Gleeson

Research Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Academic and research departments

Doctoral College.


University roles and responsibilities

  • Research Director on the PsychD Clinical Psychology Training Programme

    Affiliations and memberships

    British Psychological Society (BPS)
    Chartered Psychologist
    Register of approved supervisors


    Research interests


    Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised



    Marilena Hadjittofi, Kate Gleeson, Anne Arber (2020)The experience of disgust by healthcare professionals: A literature review, In: International Journal of Nursing Studies110103720 Elsevier

    Background Disgust is a common emotion experienced by healthcare professionals which in extreme cases can contribute to neglect and abuse of patients. However, little research has explored how healthcare professionals experience disgust and what coping strategies they use to manage it. Aim To identify, evaluate and synthesise results from empirical papers that have explored how healthcare professionals experience, understand and manage disgust in clinical work. Design A narrative literature review. Data Sources Using the EBSCOHost interface, a range of databases were systematically searched alongside manual searches and citation chaining which yielded the 11 papers included in this review. Review Method Qualitative synthesis. Results Three major themes were identified: The professionals’ struggle to talk about disgust; the importance of boundaries: boundary breaching and boundary building; and the role of empathy in caring. Conclusion This review found that disgust is a common experience for healthcare professionals, yet it is not talked about or openly expressed. Professionals have developed ways to cope with disgust and use empathy as a main strategy to overcome it. The review suggests that healthcare professionals should consider ways of making disgust part of a wider conversation, allowing clinicians to engage with their feelings, rather than feel ashamed of them and hiding disgust away as a silent part of care.

    Francesca Sawer, Paul Davis, Kate Gleeson (2019)Is shame a barrier to sobriety? A narrative analysis of those in recovery, In: DRUGS-EDUCATION PREVENTION AND POLICY26 TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD

    Aims Experiencing shame can be a risk factor for relapse for people recovering from alcohol dependence, but for some it may act as a necessary protective factor for preventing relapse. Knowing how best to manage shame is therefore an important issue, yet the precise nature of the relationship between shame and alcohol dependence remains largely unexplored. Research Questions 1) In what ways do participants tell their stories of shame? 2) How is shame experienced and/or understood by those in recovery from alcohol dependence? Method Eight participants were recruited from Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) groups and invited to tell their story of recovery. Stories were then analysed using a narrative analysis, focusing on how participants narrated their stories and made sense of their experiences of shame in particular. Findings Participants spoke about an inherent deep-rooted negative view about themselves, which was present long before alcohol dependence developed. Alcohol served as a means of connection to others and a way of artificially relieving feelings of worthlessness. Recovery was about finding somewhere safe to talk about feelings of shame and make sense of these experiences. Conclusions The results indicate that management of shame is an important component of recovery programmes for alcohol dependence.

    Hannah Frith, Kate Gleeson (2008)Dressing the Body: The Role of Clothing in Sustaining Body Pride and Managing Body Distress, In: Qualitative Research in Psychology5(4)pp. 249-264 SAGE Publications

    This qualitative research extends current theorizing on behavioural strategies for managing body distress by exploring how women manage body image through clothing practices. Eighty two women reported their subjective understanding of how body evaluation and clothing practices are interconnected in response to open-ended questionnaires. Thematic analysis of responses revealed that clothing practices are a mundane and agentic part of the adjustive and self-regulatory processes for managing distressing body image (cf. Cash, 2002b). Clothing is used strategically to manage bodily appearance and anxiety by hiding ‘problem areas’, accentuating ‘assets,’ and flattering the figure. Body image is actively negotiated and managed through everyday behaviours which fluctuate on ‘fat’ days and ‘thin’ days. These data illustrate the processes which underpin the active negotiation of body image and capture the fluidity of body evaluations and strategies for managing the appearance of the body. These findings raise a number of challenges for theorizing and research including the need to adopt methods which capture the dynamic interplay of body image processes, and the need to address body appreciation as well as distress.

    C Chebsey, S Jackson, K Gleeson, C Winter, C Storey, J Hillman, J Lewis, R Cox, A Heazell, R Fox, T Draycott, D Siassakos (2014)PA.17 Joint perspective, joint decision making; improving maternity bereavement care for stillbirth. A mixed methods multicentre study in the UK providing an in-depth understanding of maternity bereavement care., In: Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed99 Suppp. A22-?

    Research into bereavement care for families who experience perinatal death has been identified as a priority by healthcare organisations, as poor bereavement care is associated with poor long-term outcomes.

    Kate Gleeson, Hannah Frith (2011)Qualitative Data Collection: Asking the Right Questions, In: David Harper, Andrew Thompson (eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health and Psychotherapy: A Guide for Students and Practitioners Wiley
    A Stephens, R Cheston, K Gleeson (2013)An exploration into the relationships people with dementia have with physical objects: An ethnographic study, In: DEMENTIA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL RESEARCH AND PRACTICE12(6)pp. 697-712 SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
    S Jackson, M Morris, K Gleeson (2013)The long-term psychosocial impact of corrective surgery for adults with strabismus, In: BRITISH JOURNAL OF OPHTHALMOLOGY97(4)pp. 419-422 BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP

    Evidence that interpersonal interactions and self-appraisal in social context are crucial in developing self-understanding raises concerns about how pupils with autism spectrum disorder make sense of themselves in school settings where many experience social marginalisation. Metasynthesis was used to systematically extract and integrate findings from qualitative studies examining the mainstream school experiences of these students. Synthesised findings identified three, intermeshing, aspects of experience which contribute to many pupils with autism spectrum disorder making sense of themselves as ‘different’ to typical peers in a negative way: difficulties linked to autism spectrum disorder; interpersonal relationships, particularly with peers; and accessibility of the school environment. Typical pupils’ attitudes and responses towards peers with autism spectrum disorder, unusual sensory reactions to the physical school environment and individual sense-making about the self are highlighted as key areas requiring further research and intervention to improve the experiences, self-esteem and well-being of pupils with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive settings and to inform educational policy and practice.

    Joshua Eldridge, Mary John, Kate Gleeson (2020)Confiding in others: exploring the experiences of young people who have been in care, In: Adoption & fostering44(2)pp. 156-172 Sage

    In the general population, confiding is typically associated with increased well-being, reduced distress and strengthened relationships. However, there is a lack of research exploring the role of confiding among young people who have been in the care system. The current study employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to guide the analysis of semi-structured interviews with eight young people with a range of care experiences, looking at the topic of confiding in others. Five themes emerged from the data analysis that indicated difficulties with confiding related to: holding unacceptable identities that are difficult to reveal to others; holding anticipations and expectations that confiding leads to harm; experiencing internal conflict between wanting to be open versus wanting to remain closed; and varying opportunities to develop trusted, confiding relationships across different environments within the care system. The findings suggest a need for safe, secure and stable care placements that can support the potential development of trusted confiding relationships wherein young people may be able to develop greater attachment security, and the capacity to build safe, supportive and trusted relationships through their lives. Implications for practice are discussed.

    S Jackson, K Gleeson, RM Smith (2013)'How do I do normal when I don't know what normal is?' Patient struggles post pancreatic transplantation, In: DIABETIC MEDICINE30pp. 176-176 WILEY-BLACKWELL
    C Chebsey, S Jackson, K Gleeson, C Winter, C Storey, J Lewis, A Heazell, R Fox, T Draycott, D Siassakos (2015)Joint perspective, joint decision making: improving maternity bereavement care for stillbirth. A mixed methods multicentre study in the United Kingdom, In: BJOG-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY122pp. 358-358 WILEY-BLACKWELL
    C Chebsey, D Siassakos, T Draycott, C Winter, S Jackson, K Gleeson, C Storey, R Fox, J Hillman (2014)Joint perspective, joint decision making; improving maternity bereavement care for stillbirth. A mixed methods multi-centre study in the UK., In: BJOG-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY121pp. 95-95 WILEY-BLACKWELL

    Additional publications