Ms Farrukh Akhtar

Research project: Exploring the potential of Focusing to cultivate a sense of belonging in HEI students


This thesis explores the potential of Focusing partnerships to contribute to a sense of belonging (SOB) in HEI students.

Focusing is a way of connecting with one's bodily feelings and sensations, a way of connecting to the wisdom held in the body. It is an activity that is done in partnership with another person. One person focuses while the other listens. The two then swap roles.

Factors known to impact on students' SOB include emotional well being and levels of stress, as well as feeling a sense of connection with other students. Focusing provides a systematic way for students to learn to connect to their own emotions, as well as a way of being with others. The research will explore the potential of Focusing to contribute to students' sense of belonging.

  • Research degree: EdD
  • Title of project: Exploring the potential of Focusing to cultivate a sense of belonging in HEI students
  • Research supervisor: Dr Christos Dimitriadis


Farrukh is a National Teaching Fellow, an Associate Professor. As a practitioner, she is a registered social worker with over twenty years' experience of practice ranging from child protection, working in fostering services, therapeutic communities and organisational development. Farrukh is an Advanced Social Worker and an accredited Practice Educator.

Farrukh is also a qualified Craniosacral therapist and SCENAR therapist, and Focusing practitioner  practising from a clinic in East London.

Her research focuses on well-being, resilience and personal transformation. She is interested in exploring themes of belonging, inclusivity and community, especially within HEIs. 


  • BSc Psychology, University of Bradford
  • Masters in Social Work, Sussex University
  • Masters in Professional Education and Training in Human Services, Kingston University
  • Masters in Creative Writing (non fiction) City University