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Portrait of Dr Dawn Leeming Dr Dawn Leeming | 01484 473545


Dawn joined the University in 2009, having previously worked at UHI Millenium Institute in Inverness and the University of Northampton. Earlier in her career she was a clinical psychologist in the NHS, working with older adults in a community mental health team in Leicestershire. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Nottingham University in 1985, her Diploma in Clinical Psychology via the Lancashire In-Service training course in 1991 and her PhD in 2008 from the University of East London where she was investigating the management and repair of shame using qualitative methods, under the supervision of Prof Mary Boyle. She is a chartered psychologist and a member of the Division of Clinical Psychology, the BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section and the International Society of Critical Health Psychology.

Research & Scholarship

University research group memberships

Dawn is currently a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Applied Psychological Research.

Research interests

Currently Dawn is researching women’s experiences of breastfeeding, the management and repair of shame and the impact of mental health stigma on users of mental health services from a range of age groups. Her research uses mostly qualitative methods and she is interested in the relative contributions of both contextual constructionist approaches and critical discursive methods for researching aspects of lived experience. Her clinical, research and teaching interests in mental health focus particularly on life transitions in relation to mental health (adolescence and later life) and critical perspectives on the conceptualisation of psychological problems.

Grants awarded:

  • 2004 - £15,717, British Academy Larger Research Grant Award.
    'Is breast experienced as best? Piloting audio diaries to explore women's lived experience of breastfeeding.' (with Johnson, S., Lyttle, S. & Williamson, I.)
  • 2011 - £110 ESRC bursary for training in research methods.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Williamson, I., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Johnson, S. (2015) ‘Evaluating the audio-diary method in qualitative researchQualitative Research Journal , 15 (1), pp. 20-34. ISSN 1443-9883


Leeming, D., Brooks, J., Burr, V. and Lucock, M. (2014) ‘Therapists' perspectives on using case formulation’. In: 5th Qualitative Research on Mental Health Conference, 2-4th September 2014, Chania, Greece

Hill, J. and Leeming, D. (2014) ‘Reconstructing ‘the Alcoholic’: Recovering from Alcohol Addiction and the Stigma this EntailsInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction . ISSN 1557-1874


Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Exploring paralysis in the face of shame: An example of pluralism in qualitative analysis. ’. In: Annual conference of Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section of British Psychological Society, 4-6 September, Huddersfield

Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Shame and using mental health services: Connection and validation or alienation and objectification? ’. In: 8th biennial conference of International Society of Critical Health Psychology, July, 2013, Bradford, UK

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2013) ‘Socially sensitive lactation: Exploring the social context of breastfeedingPsychology and Health , 28 (4), pp. 450-468. ISSN 0887-0446

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2013) ‘Making use of expertise: A qualitative analysis of the experience of breastfeeding support for first time mothersMaternal & Child Nutrition . ISSN 1740-8709

Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Managing shame: An interpersonal perspectiveBritish Journal of Social Psychology , 52 (1), pp. 140-160. ISSN 0144-6665


Williamson, I., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Johnson, S. (2012) ‘It should be the most natural thing in the world: exploring first-time mothers' breastfeeding difficulties in the UK using audio-diaries and interviewsMaternal and Child Nutrition , 8 (4), pp. 434-447. ISSN 1740-8695

Johnson, S., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Williamson, I. (2012) ‘Empowerment or regulation? Exploring the implications of women’s perspectives on pumping breast milk’. In: Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities. : Rutgers University Press. . ISBN 9780813553030

Johnson, S., Leeming, D., Williamson, I. and Lyttle, S. (2012) ‘Maintaining the 'good maternal body': Expressing milk as a way of negotiating the demands and dilemmas of early infant feeding. Journal of Advanced Nursing . ISSN 0309-2402


Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2011) ‘Becoming a breastfeeding mother: An interactionist perspective’. In: Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives , 8-10 June 2011, Lancashire, UK


Leeming, D (2010) ‘Book review 'The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood by Didier Fassin & Richard RechtmanSocial psychological review , 12 (2), pp. 37-40. ISSN 1369-7862

Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2010) ‘Managing shame in relation to both diagnostic & psychosocial conceptualisations of psychological problems’. In: The 3rd Qualitative Research on Mental Health Conference , 25-27 August, 2010, University of Nottingham, UK


Johnson , S., Williamson, I., Lyttle, S. and Leeming, D. (2009) ‘Expressing yourself: A feminist analysis of talk around expressing breast milkSocial Science and Medicine , 69 (6), pp. 900-907. ISSN 0277-9536

Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2009) ‘Accounting for psychological problems: How user-friendly is formulation?Clinical Psychology Forum , 200, pp. 12-15. ISSN 1473-8279


Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2005) ‘‘Even though I do not regret what I did,…I felt ashamed’: Shame and the Judgement of Others’. In: 2005 Scottish Branch Annual Conference BPS, 25-26th November 2005, Saluation Hotel, Perth


Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2004) ‘Shame as a social phenomenon: A critical analysis of the concept of dispositional shamePsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice , 77 (3), pp. 375-396. ISSN 1476-0835


Leeming , D., Lyttle, S. and Hanley, M. (2002) ‘Young people’s images of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy , 9 (2), pp. 169-185. ISSN 0968-7637


Leeming, D (1998) ‘Shame and later lifePSIGE Newsletter , 67, pp. 17-21.

Research Degree Supervision

  • Shame - subjective experience, discursive construction, resistance, management, repair.
  • Qualitative explorations of aspects of the subjective experience of psychological problems and of accessing mental health services.
  • Transition to motherhood, particularly breastfeeding.
  • Alternatives to psychiatric models of psychological problems.
  • Lay and professional understandings of psychological difficulties (particularly as related to older adults).

Currently supervising doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Shame in psychotherapy training.
  • Experiences of voice hearing and people with learning disabilities.
  • Alcohol/substance misuse associated with violence and aggression.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Admissions tutor for Psychology and Counselling Division.
  • Member of Human and Health Sciences School Board.
  • Member of Psychology and Counselling Division Ethics Panel.

Teaching and Professional Activities

Module Leader:

  • HIK1010 Cognitive Behavioural and Humanistic Approaches to Counselling.
  • HIK1011 Humanistic Approaches to Counselling.

Other teaching:

  • Qualitative Research Methods.
  • Psychological Difficulties.
  • Psychology of Health and Well-being.
  • Critical perspectives on Individual Differences.

External examining:

  • MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health, University of Northampton.

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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