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Personal profile

Research interests

I research relational experience in the context of mental health, particularly psychosis and suicidality. I take a hermeneutic phenomenological approach and use qualitative methodologies especially creative and visual methods.

I am particularly interested in developing interdisciplinary research. I have a background in the performing arts and also have a masters in Gestalt psychotherapy. I wish to continue collaborating with researchers and artists from a wide range of backgrounds in order to humanise and enrich our understanding of mental health challenges.

Recent and current projects:

  • 2017-18: Relationships and relationality in mental health (funded by ISRF)
  • 2017-18: Psychosis, connectedness and emerging adulthood (funded by Richard Benjamin Trust)
  • 2018-19: Sexuality in forensic mental health contexts (funded by Wellcome)
  • 2019-20: Intimacy, medication and mental health (pilot funded by University of Brighton) 

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising projects that explore what-it-is-like to live and love at times when there is a challenge to mental health or wellbeing. I am also interested in understanding what it is like to care for, live with, and love someone at these times. Exploring relationality in the context of mental health incorporates themes of social exclusion, belonging, marginalisation and community. Projects exploring the impact of services and interventions (e.g. medication) on relational networks are also of interest.

I supervise projects that use qualitative research methods and that take an experiential approach, typically phenomenological. I have specialist expertise in Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and use creative, visual and embodied approaches within my own work and in the projects I supervise. I have also examined over 20 doctoral theses (PhD, DClinPsy, DCouns etc.)

Recent and current PhD projects:

  • Intimacy, sexuality and desire in early 'psychosis'
  • Suicide prevention and social networks
  • Intimacy and sexuality in early motherhood
  • The psychosocial impact of antipsychotic use in early 'psychosis'
  • Experiences of space in secure forensic mental health settings
  • Dance, technology and lived experience of biometric feedback (interdisciplinary with Arts)
  • Intimacy and MDMA use in couples
  • Taking part in mental health interventions on TV 


  • BF Psychology
  • mental health
  • emotion
  • relationality
  • phenomenology
  • Qualitative Methods
  • visual methods
  • hermeneutics
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • psychosis
  • suicide and suicide prevention
  • social networks
  • LGBTQ+ health
  • intimacy
  • sexuality

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Research Output

Conducting sexualities research: An outline of emergent issues and case studies from ten Wellcome-funded projects

Kneale, D., French, R., Spandler, H., Young, I., Purcell, C., Boden, Z., Brown, S., Callwood, D., Carr, S., Dymock, A., Eastham, R., Gabb, J., Henley, J., Jones, C., McDermott, E., Mkhwanazi, N., Ravenhill, J., Reavey, P., Scott, R., Smith, C. & 3 others, Smith, M., Tingay, K. & Thomas, J., 19 Sep 2019, In : Wellcome Open Research. 4, p. 1-9 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Love and Incomprehensibility: The hermeneutic labour of caring for and understanding a loved one with psychosis

    Luderowski, A. & Boden, Z., 2 Apr 2019, In : Health.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Parallel returns: Feelings, temporality and narrative in the experience of guilt

    Boden, Z. & Eatough, V., 14 Feb 2019, In : Qualitative Research in Psychology. 17, 1, p. 36-52 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • The experiences of inpatient nursing staff caring for young people with early psychosis

    Thompson, J., Boden, Z., Newton, E., Fenton, K., Hickman, G. & Larkin, M., 5 Mar 2019, In : Journal of Research in Nursing. 24, 1-2, p. 75-85 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access