School of Health Sciences

Image of Katja Milner

Katja Milner

ESRC DTC PhD Student,


Teaching Summary

I have a keen interest in training and teaching and would like to further develop my skills and experiences particularly in relation to the topic of spirituality in wellbeing and healthcare contexts.

Teaching Experiences:

English Teaching Assistant (ALT) on JET Programme in Japan (1998 - 2001)

Nottingham Recovery College: teacher and spirituality course lead, creating and delivering educational courses on spirituality, recovery and wellbeing across recovery colleges throughout Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (2011 - 2016).

Recovery Masterclass: 'Spirituality and recovery' with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, November 2016.

Nottingham University: 'Spirituality and belonging' in Module B74 RS2 'From Inclusion to Partnership in Mental Health Practice' lead by Theo Stickley, March 2017.

Nottingham University: 'Spirituality and mental health & recovery' Masterclass for Nursing Masters Degree lead by Anne Felton, November 2017.

Staff Training:

On topics relating to spirituality including in the context of mental health, recovery and wellbeing. Also staff wellbeing, meditation, mindfulness. Experience creating and delivering staff training on these themes working with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, 2009 - 2016.

Spiritual education, wellbeing and recovery:

Experience creating and facilitating various educational courses, groups and workshops on these topics across many settings including Nottingham recovery colleges (see above), community, inpatient, forensic and primary care settings.


Mindfulness practitioner with Nottingham Mindfulness Centre, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Experience teaching meditation and mindfulness to staff and service users across many settings and in various forms to suit different needs.

Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic Title

The role of spirituality in mental health and recovery

Research Summary

Spirituality and mental health recovery are areas attracting increasing interest in health care discourse and policy. Spirituality is a dynamic and pragmatic concept which may or may not include a religious dimension and is generally understood as what gives life meaning or purpose and how life is navigated, guided and made sense of. This often includes and is made more pertinent by experiences which relate to distress, illness, health and wellbeing. Over the past few decades, people have increasingly spoken out about their experiences of mental health and highlighted the central importance of spirituality in coping with the pain and struggle of mental distress and in facilitating wellbeing and recovery. Positive health outcomes relating to spirituality, religion and health are also demonstrated across a growing body of empirical research. However there remain significant obstacles to the implementation of spiritual approaches in healthcare settings due to a lack of understanding about the spiritual dimension of health and how this understanding can be integrated into current models and practices. The differences in understanding and value given to spirituality by service users in relation to services providers and clinicians has been referred to as a 'religiosity gap'. This can hinder engagement and trust with services and lead to the kinds of issues which might arise when practitioner and client are using different languages and maps of understanding when working together.

This research project will explore the role spirituality can play in mental health recovery from the perspectives of those who experience mental distress and illness. It will do this by interviewing people who have experienced mental health problems and who wish to talk about spirituality and mental health and analysing their narratives. It aims to shed light upon the fascinating interface between spiritual experience, mental health and recovery and bring much needed clarity to this area, promoting understanding within a healthcare context and help bridge the religiosity gap between staff and people using mental health services.

Research Supervisors

Professor Paul Crawford

Professor Mike Slade

Associate Professor Alison Edgley

Primary Funding Source/s

ESRC Doctoral Training Centre if you can)

Conference Papers & Presentations

'Spirituality and mental health recovery', BASS (British Association for the Study of Spirituality) Conference, May 2016

'Spirituality and mental health recovery', Refocus on Recovery Nottingham, September 2017

'Addressing the religiosity gap: Spirituality as a key dimension in mental health and recovery', ENMESH (European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation', October 2017

Additional Information

Worked as Spirituality Lead and Spiritual Care Practitioner 2009 - 2016 with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: This role included creating and delivering staff training on the topics relating to spirituality and health/mental health and recovery. It also involved creating and delivering staff wellbeing sessions, creating and delivering educational courses for service users of recovery colleges on topics relating to spirituality, wellbeing and recovery, organising events, workshops and programmes and other spiritual care work.

Mindfulness practitioner with Nottingham Mindfulness Centre, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

BA Psychology

PG Cert Psychological Therapies

MSc Health and Social Care (mental health recovery and social inclusion)

Spiritual Counseling Skills Level 2

Recent Publications

Past Research

MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London

- Research investigating the relationship between specific chromosomal abnormalities and developmental disorders. Work focused on cognitive and behavioural assessments of individuals with developmental disorders, researching literature, collating and analysing data, presenting findings and lead-authoring a paper for the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Part of a wider autism research project.

School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559