Dr Niklas Serning

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About me

I am a Doctor of Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy (NSPC), Chartered Counselling Psychologist (BPS, HCPC), Child Psychotherapist (UKCP), Existential Psychotherapist (UKCP), and Registered Supervisor (UKCP, BPS RAPPS), but as described below, I remain sceptical as to the value of these labels to my clients. I have presented and published my work at the World Congress of Existential Therapy, Society of Psychotherapy, British Psychological Society, University of Bristol, the Hermeneutic Journal and Society of Existential Analysis. I'm a member of the editorial review panel of Existential Analysis, Professional Doctorate External Examiner at a number of universities, and also sit on the ethics board for NSPC/Middlesex University.

My previous research and research supervision has included critical examinations of PTSD, psychosis and addiction, and I'm also experienced in research around existential migration. I work extensively with children and young people in my role as Clinical Director of OTR Bristol  and am in the process of establishing research looking at service users' experience. I also have a background of several years working with the UN in a range of war zones, and can hence assist in research connected to this.  More information can be found at www.serning.com  

My latest publication is with Nina Lyon: 

Serning, N., Lyon, N. (2016). 'Nietzschean modes of gender construction in a post-feminist age'. Self & Society. 44:3, p204-214​.

Area of expertise

My research focus is what I call post-psychology. This idea questions the poss ibility of a science of the psyche from two directions. First, it queries it based on the poor reliability and validity of current research on differential therapeutic efficiency of different modalities and professions, as well as issues around the validity and reliability of psychiatric nosology. Second, on a more fundamental level, it queries psychology's attempt to find the most efficient way of treatment, arguing that such determinations of what efficiency is will always be rooted in an understanding of how life should be lived, and that such understandings should be left for each individual to decide.

Post-psychology shares many assumptions with post-psychiatry, but whereas post-psychiatry is a movement of psychiatrists sympathetic to the desires of the patients they work with, post-psychology is aimed towards a lay understanding of mental wellbeing and distress as attributes of communities as well as individual people. In post-psychology, suffering is a networked experience and a necessary corollary to existence; overcoming it is a networked project. Post-psychology hopes to move psychology from trying to find best practice towards engaging with a plurality of practice, and to cater engagement to the individual client.

Post-psychology draws from the works of Laing and Szasz, as well as the existential (Nietzsche, Sartre, Levinas) and postmodern (Foucault, Deleuze) movements, and also includes authors such as House, Miller and Cooper. Future directions of research include qualitative and mixed-methods studies of when therapeutic engagement didn't work, and also broad and critical meta-analyses of research on therapeutic efficiency. ​


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