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Dr Tanya Frances

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Professional biography

Tanya is a Lecturer in Psychology and Counselling based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). She joined the OU as a central academic in 2022. Tanya is a chartered psychologist and a counsellor and psychotherapist. Her interests include trauma, gender-based violence, social justice, epistemic justice, epistemic violence, eating disorders, and working towards more just, trauma-informed and accessible eating disorder treatment systems. More broadly, Tanya has a keen interest in systems of care and justice (e.g., healthcare, legal systems, mental health care), and how issues of epistemic violence, epistemic trust, epistemic marginalisation, and voice, are experienced, and can be attended to meaningfully in order to work towards reducing harm. Methodologically, Tanya is interested in critical qualitative approaches, specifically narrative and feminist approaches, and engaging in dialogue about the interconnectedness of methodology and epistemology, and implications for knowledge production. 

Tanya has a range of research project experiences. Projects include exploring the impact of pulic health legislation on those with experience of eating disorders, evaluating or supporting the devleopment of services and/or programmes for those experiencing domestic abuse, perinatal mental health difficulties, child sexual exploitation, child trafficking, and children and young people who are care experienced. Tanya has been involved in domestic abuse research since 2013, and is particularly interested in childhood and young adult experiences of domestic abuse, how people navigate transitions, and reflexive feminist methodologies that centre victim-survivor voices and stories and attend to personal-socio-political intersections.

In her counselling and psychotherapy practice, Tanya works primarily with people who have experienced trauma. She integrates humanistic, feminist, compassion-focused, and mindfulness and embodiment-focused ways of working in psychotherapy and counselling. Tanya is interested in power-sensitive and feminist approaches which attend to the broader socio-structural conditions which experiences of distress are located in and which can create and maintain distress. Tanya is also a certified trauma-informed yoga teacher, and is passionate about working with clients to ‘be’ in their bodies by integrating yoga philosophy and embodied practices.

Research interests

Tanya’s research interests include domestic abuse, gender-based violence, trauma, social inequalities and intersectionalities. Tanya has been involved in domestic abuse research since 2013, and is particularly interested in childhood and young adult experiences of domestic abuse, how people navigate transitions, and reflexive feminist methodologies that centre victim-survivor voices and stories. She is interested in approaches that attend to personal-political intersections taking a critical appraoch that attends to the socio-structural conditions that shape people's experiences of violence, the conditions that enable violence, and the conditions that shape how people make sense of violence and talk about it.

Tanya has worked on projects that have evaluated or explored services for domestic abuse, perinatal wellbeing, child sexual exploitation, care experienced children and young people, and child trafficking. She is interested in promoting and developing inclusive, accessible, and anti-oppressive practice, and developing services for people that aim to reduce barriers to access and that attend meaningfully to intersectionality and power, privilege and oppression. 

Currently, Tanya is working on projects exploring issues relating to gender-based violence. She is also working on projects that explore UK eating disorder treatment in terms of equitable access to care. Specifically at the moment she is exploring the role of weight-based treatment and referral criteria. She is interested in issues around epistemic justice, embodiment and the development of trauma-informed, power-sentivive and intersectionality-informed eating disorder treatment. 

Teaching interests

Tanya's current contributions are to the presentation of D241 Exploring Mental Health and Counselling and to the production of new counselling course. Previously, she contributed to the production of D120 Encountering Psychology in the Everyday by writing content on lifespan development and qualiative methods. She also co-authored a short CPD counselling course, DGXS004 Trauma-Informed Counselling.

Tanya's teaching interests include qualitative methods, particularly narrative methods, reflexivity, ethics, feminist methodologies, and participatory approaches. She is also interested in teaching critical approaches, critical mental health, and domestic abuse. In relation to counselling and psychotherapy and clinical practice, her teaching expertise is around person-centred, humanistic and trauma-sensitive approaches, issues around accessibility and diversity, epistemic trust, and the integration of embodiment practices in trauma focused counselling or psychotherapy. 

Impact and engagement

In collaboration with the Intersectional Violences Research Group (IVRG), Tanya has been involved in providing consultation for the UK government's 2021 Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Publications relating to this consultation work can be found in our article in The Coversation , in a BPS blog post as part of a media campaign, and in the BPS Psychology of Women and Equalities Section (POWES) blog post.

External collaborations

Tanya is a member of the BPS Psychology of Women and Equalities Section (POWES) Committee. She is also a founding member of the Intersectional Violences Research Group (IVRG), an international research group which takes a critical psychological approach using insights from feminist, queer, anti-carceral and trans approaches to the study of sexual and domestic violence. Lastly, Tanya is a founding member of the Lived Experiences of Eating Disorders Research Collective. This is a collective group of clinicians and academics with lived experience of eating disorders who are working in the eating disorders field. Our aim is to work towards a better understanding of a diverse range of eating disorders, and to contribute to developing the evidence-base for better care for all who need it. We are particularly intrested in building evidence which centres the voices and perspectives of people with lived experiences.

Tanya was awarded the 2022 PCCS Books Research Award, in collaboration with the British Association for Counselling an Psychotherapy (BACP).


‘An extra fight I didn't ask for’: A qualitative survey exploring the impact of calories on menus for people with experience of eating disorders (2024-02)
Frances, Tanya; O'Neill, Kel and Newman, Kirsty
British Journal of Health Psychology, 29(1) (pp. 20-36)

A dialogical narrative approach to transitions and change in young women’s lives after domestic abuse in childhood: considerations for counselling and psychotherapy (2024)
Frances, Tanya
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling ((Early Access))

“It’s just kind of this thing that I need to navigate”: Young women’s stories of recoveries after domestic abuse in childhood (2023-09)
Frances, Tanya
Violence Against Women, 29(11) (pp. 2127-2146)

[Book Review] Boys, Childhood Domestic Abuse and Gang Involvement. Violence at Home, Violence on‐Road by Jade Levell Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2022 (2023-07)
Frances, Tanya
Children & Society, 37(4) (pp. 1334-1335)

Doing feminisms on the ground: Challenges and opportunities for critical feminist psychologies (2023-06)
Thompson, Lucy; Turley, Emma L.; Frances, Tanya; Donnelly, Lois C. and Lazard, Lisa
Psychology of Women and Equalities Section Review, 6(1) (pp. 5-19)

Feminist listening and becoming: voice poems as a method of working with young women’s stories of domestic abuse in childhood (2023-01)
Frances, Tanya
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 20(1) (pp. 52-73)

Participatory research with women in the perinatal period: Considerations for reflexive, community-oriented and power-sensitive research practices (2023)
Frances, Tanya and Lucas, Siân E.
Qualitative Social Work ((Early access))

An intersectional feminist response to the UK government’s Violence Against Women and Girls 2021-2024 Strategy consultation (2021)
Beetham, Tanya
Psychology of Women and Equalities Review, 4(2)

[Book Review] Deconstructing developmental psychology, 3rd ed (2021)
Beetham, Tanya
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 18(1) (pp. 126-128)

Young Children’s Narrations of Relational Recovery: a School-Based Group for Children Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence (2019)
Beetham, Tanya; Gabriel, Lynne and James, Hazel
Journal of Family Violence, 34(6) (pp. 565-575)

“Give me some space”: exploring youth to parent aggression and violence (2018)
Gabriel, Lynne; Tizro, Zahra; James, Hazel; Cronin-Davis, Jane; Beetham, Tanya; Corbally, Alice; Lopez-Moreno, Emily and Hill, Sarah
Journal of Family Violence, 33(2) (pp. 161-169)

Reflexive research with mothers and children victims of domestic violence (2017-06)
Gabriel, Lynne; James, Hazel; Cronin-Davis, Jane; Tizro, Zahra; Beetham, Tanya; Hullock, Ashley and Raynar, Alex
Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 17(2) (pp. 157-165)

Negotiating power, ethics and agency: Working towards centralising children’s voices in the domestic violence and abuse intervention evidence-base (2024)
Frances, Tanya and Carter, Grace
In: Taylor, Julie C. and Bates, Elizabeth A. eds. Children and Adolescent’s experiences of violence and abuse at home: Current theory, research and practitioner insights
ISBN : 9781003124634 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Sustaining selfhood and embracing ‘selves’ in psychology: Risks, vulnerabilities and sustaining relationships (2019-12-20)
Beetham, Tanya and Pope, Kirstie
In: Randall, James ed. Surviving Clinical Psychology: How to make the most of your journey to qualification (pp. 182-187)
ISBN : 9780429428968 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Intersectionality and Social Justice (2019-04)
Beetham, Tanya
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)