I am a qualitative social scientist with a disciplinary background in social policy and medical sociology. My research interests lie broadly in two main areas: disability and mental health. In the area of disability my main interest is in the experiences of people with sensory impairments, particularly visual impairments. With colleagues at the University of Liverpool I have recently completed two research studies in this area: an evaluation of an emotional support and counselling service for people with visual impairments commissioned by RNIB; and a study of the changing support needs of people with visual impairments for Thomas Pocklington Trust. I have also undertaken research into the experiences of people with communication impairments who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). In the area of mental health I have a particular interest in therapeutic communities and other 'social' models of therapy. My research in this area has included an evaluation of one day a week therapeutic communities, also with colleagues at the University of Liverpool, and from this I have developed a broader interest in the transition from residential to day models of therapeutic community provision. I also have an interest in service user involvement and in the mental health user/survivor movement.