School of Education

Image of Stephen Joseph

Stephen Joseph

Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



Stephen Joseph is the cluster convenor for counselling and psychotherapy teaching and training in the School of Education. Stephen is a senior practitioner member of the British Psychological Society's Register of Psychologists who specialise in Psychotherapy. Stephen is also an HPCP Registered Health and Counselling Psychologist. His research interests are in human flourishing and well-being.

Before joining the School of Education in 2013 Stephen was Professor of Psychology, Health and Social Care in the School of Sociology and Social Policy where from 2006 he co-convened the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth (CTRG) with Professor Steve Regel and was an honorary consultant psychologist in psychotherapy in Nottinghamshire NHS Trust.

Before joining Nottingham, Stephen was at the University of Warwick (1999-2006) as Senior Lecturer/Reader in Health Psychology and Research Tutor on the Clinical Psychology training programme. Prior to that, he was at the University of Essex (1994-1999) as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, and the University of Ulster (1991-1994) as lecturer.

Stephen studied as an undergraduate at the University of Ulster . His first degree is in Psychology (1983-86). He has a Masters degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics (1986-87) and a PhD in Psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry (1988-91) which was a social psychological investigation of emotional processing in survivors of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster completed under the supervision of Professor William Yule. Stephen also trained as a person-centred counsellor at Metanoia Psychotherapy Training Institute (1996-2000).

Expertise Summary

Positive Psychology: Human flourishing and well-being.

Person-centred approach and client-centred therapy

Psychological trauma and posttraumatic growth

Research Summary

Stephen has three main areas of research.

First, Stephen is interested in the topic of human flourishing and well-being. What do we mean by well-being? How can well-being be measured? What are the factors that lead to well-being? In particular, Stephen is interested in authenticity and what it means to live authentically.

Second, Stephen is interested in the person-centred approach to psychotherapy, counselling and coaching that was originated by Carl Rogers. Can person-centred therapy help people live more authentically, and to experience greater flourishing and well-being?

Third, Stephen is interested in how people deal with life adversity - from accidents and illnesses to war and disaster. Specifically he is interested in posttraumatic growth. Can psychological trauma be a positive turning point in peoples' lives? How can therapists facilitate posttraumatic growth?

Stephen is keen to supervise doctoral research in any of the areas above.

In the past he has supervised students studying topics such as childbirth-related trauma, school bullying and its effects, posttraumatic growth in survivors of childhood abuse; resilience in cancer patients, measurement of religiosity and its its relation to well-being, self-acceptance, measurement of posttraumtic growth, and positive psychological approaches to well-being.

Selected Publications

  • REGEL, S and & JOSEPH, S, 2010. Post-traumatic stress: The facts Oxford University Press.
  • JOSEPH, S, 2010. Theories of counselling and Psychotherapy: An introduction to the different approaches Palgrave.
  • JOSEPH, S and LINLEY, P. A., eds., 2008. Trauma, recovery, and growth: positive psychological perspectives on posttraumatic stress Hoeboken: Wiley.
  • WORSLEY, R. and JOSEPH, S., eds., 2007. Person-centred practice: Case studies in positive psychology PCCS Books. (In Press.)

Past Research

Human Flourishing and Well-Being Research

Stephen was one of the team who developed the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS) which is now widely used to assess peoples' levels of well-being. For more information about the scale, including guidance on use go to:

For an electronic copy of the scale, go to:

Carers Research

Stephen led the team who developed the Adult Carers Quality of Life Questionnaire (AC-QoL).


He was also part of the team led by Professor Saul Becker which developed the Multidimensional Assessment of Caring for Young People and the Positive and Negative Assessment of Caring for young People.


Posttraumatic Growth Research

Stephen's research on the psychology of trauma has received much coverage in the media, most recently following the publication of his new book: what doesn't kill us: the new psychology of posttraumatic growth, which explores the idea that traumatic events can be positive turning points for people.

See also,

School of Education

The University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5559