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Associate Professor Catherine Butler

Associate Professor Catherine Butler

Programme Director of Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

 Washington Singer 


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


I am a Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist with over 20 years experience of teaching on Clinical Psychology Doctorates, Masters courses, Family Therapy courses and in the private sector, e.g. Pink Therapy. My NHS clinical work was 10 years in HIV/Sexual Health and 6 years in Adult Mental Health, I now work full time in academia but still offer private supervision. I am passionate about equity and valuing diversity, and address this in my management, teaching and research. On the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Exeter I am the Programme Director, EDI Lead and the Selection Lead. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.


2003 Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

2006 Masters in Family Therapy

2017 Systemic Supervisor


Awards Won:













Research group links

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Research interests

I am a qualitative researcher with over a decade of experience superving doctoral and masters research, as well as working in research teams with quantative researchers for mixed-methods projects. 

My research portfolio has two strands. The main strand is social justice, in particular anti-racism and training that can support this, looking at experiences of transgender youth and their families in relation to minority stress, discrimination, and the social contruction of gender diverse and non-binary presentations. This builds on my early work focusing on refugees and asylum seeks and with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual experiences of discrimination and lived experiences. 

My second strand is situated within my expertise as a trainer in Clinical Psychology and Family Therapy. I have developed scales to measure the competency of trainee family therapists and supervisors.

Research projects

I am currently supervising two doctoral students looking at:

  • The impact of a training programme addressing white supremacy on trainee clinical psychologists professional and personal development
  • Barriers to accessing psychology in health setting for Black service users

Research networks

Through my work I am part of clinical psychology, family therapy and queer informal networks.

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Shaw E, Butler C, Langdridge D, Gibson S, Barker M, Lenihan P, das Nair R, Richards C (eds)(2012). Guidelines and literature review for psychologists working therapeutically with sexual and gender minority clients. Leicester, British Psychological Society.
das Nair R, Butler C (2012). Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies: Working with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Diversity. Chichester, BPS Blackwell. Abstract.
Butler C, O'Donovan A, Shaw E (eds)(2009). Sex, Sexuality and Therapeutic Practice a Manual for Therapists and Trainers. London, Routledge. Abstract.

Journal articles

Butler C, Cove J, Sherbersky H (2024). Embedding systemic training into a DClinPsy programme: the possibilities and restraints. Clinical Psychology Forum, 1(372), 16-21. Abstract.
Azer S, Butler C, Janally S, Clarke A (2023). Adopting a trauma-informed anti-racist strategy and actions to cultivate community learning and systemic change. Clinical Psychology Forum, 1(371), 30-35.
Cooper K, Mandy W, Russell A, Butler C (2023). Healthcare clinician perspectives on the intersection of autism and gender dysphoria. Autism, 27(1), 31-42. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cooper K, Mandy W, Butler C, Russell A (2023). Phenomenology of gender dysphoria in autism: a multiperspective qualitative analysis. JOURNAL OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY, 64(2), 265-276.  Author URL.
Farsinejad A, Russell A, Butler C (2022). Autism disclosure – the decisions autistic adults make. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 93, 101936-101936.
Klein M, Dixon J, Butler C (2022). Multiple relapses into opiate and crack misuse among people in recovery: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, 43(2), 97-110. Abstract.
Cooper K, Mandy W, Butler C, Russell A (2022). The lived experience of gender dysphoria in autistic adults: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Autism, 26(4), 963-974. Abstract.
Gunby N, Butler C (2022). What are the relationship experiences of in which one member identifies as transgender? a systematic review and meta‐ethnography. Journal of Family Therapy, 45(2), 167-196. Abstract.
Hunter J, Butler C, Cooper K (2021). Gender Minority Stress in Trans and Gender Diverse Adolescents and Young People. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Brooker P, Butler C (2021). Rape myths in practice: the everyday work of accounting for rape survivors. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1). Abstract.
Parker C, Smithson J, Limond J, Sherbersky H, Butler C (2021). Student and supervisor experiences of the Systemic Practice Scale (SPS): a discourse analysis. Journal of Family Therapy, 43(4), 793-818. Abstract.
Butler C, Rivett M, Hallack Z, Harris M (2021). Systemic supervision, the last frontier: Towards a scale that measures systemic supervision. Journal of Family Therapy, 43(4), 828-851. Abstract.
Butler C, Beavis J, Aldallal F, Nelson‐Hall S, Shah‐Beckley I (2021). The social construction of gender variance in childhood, adolescence and parenthood: a story completion study. Journal of Family Therapy, 44(2), 264-278. Abstract.
Hicks S, Butler C (2020). A framework for clinical psychologists to understand and talk about race. The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling, and Psychotherapy, 20 (3), 72-84.
Butler C, Hutchinson A (2020). Debate: the pressing need for research and services for gender desisters/detransitioners. Child Adolesc Ment Health, 25(1), 45-47. Abstract.  Author URL.
Butler C, Sheils E, Lask J, Joscelyne T, Pote H, Crossley J (2020). Measuring competence in systemic practice: development of the 'Systemic Family Practice - Systemic Competency Scale' (SPS)(sic)(sic)(sic)Palabras clave. JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY, 42(1), 79-99.  Author URL.
Attwood J, Butler C, Rogers L, Batterham M, Cousins L, Wilson R (2020). Non Violent Resistance parent training and adolescent substance misuse. Journal of Family Therapy, 42(2), 222-251. Abstract.
Patel N, Alcock K, Alexander L, Baah J, Butler C, Danquah A, Gibbs D, Goodbody L, Joseph-Loewenthal W, Muhxinga Z, et al (2020). Racism is not entertainment. Clinical Psychology Forum, 2020(326), 2-19.
Cooper K, Russell A, Mandy W, Butler C (2020). The phenomenology of gender dysphoria in adults: a systematic review and meta-synthesis. Clin Psychol Rev, 80 Abstract.  Author URL.
Lambe S, Russell A, Butler C, Fletcher S, Ashwin C, Brosnan M (2019). Autism and the transition to university from the student perspective. Autism, 23(6), 1531-1541. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wiseman H, Ensoll S, Russouw L, Butler C (2019). Implementing Multi-Family Therapy Within a Community Eating Disorder Service for Children and Young People. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 38(3), 50-66.
Wiseman H, Ensoll S, Russouw L, Butler C (2019). Multi-Family Therapy for Young People with Anorexia Nervosa: Clinicians' and Carers' Perspectives on Systemic Changes. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 38(3), 67-83.
Butler C, Joiner R, Bradley R, Bowles M, Bowes A, Russell C, Roberts V (2019). Self-harm prevalence and ideation in a community sample of cis, trans and other youth. International Journal of Transgenderism, 20(4), 447-458. Abstract.
Griffith E, Butler C, Csecs J, Davis C (2018). An evaluation of a programme of problem-based learning within a clinical psychology doctorate. Psychology Teaching Review, 24(2), 38-54.
Norris E, Phillips S, Butler C, James K (2018). Sex and Relationships Education for Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis: a Service-Based Approach. Sexuality and Disability, 36(4), 363-376. Abstract.
Whittle C, Butler C (2018). Sexuality in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities: a meta-ethnographic synthesis of qualitative studies. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 75, 68-81. Abstract.
Banting R, Butler C, Swift C (2018). The adaptation of a Solution Focused Brief Therapy domestic violence perpetrator programme: a case study with a client with a learning disability. Journal of Family Therapy, 40(4), 489-502. Abstract.
Butler C (2018). The social construction of non-binary gender identity. Context, 155, 27-30.
Fixter V, Butler C, Daniels J, Phillips S (2017). A Qualitative Analysis of the Information Needs of Parents of Children with Cystic Fibrosis prior to First Admission. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 34, e29-e33. Abstract.
Butler C, Black J (2017). A course within a course: an evaluation of shared learning on a systemic foundation course for clinical psychology trainees and multidisciplinary staff. Context, 152, 32-36.
Chandler RJ, Newman A, Butler C (2017). Burnout in clinicians working with offenders with personality disorder. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19(2), 139-150. Abstract.
Butler C (2017). Intersectionality and Systemic Therapy. Context, 151, 16-18.
Roberts-Collins C, Butler C (2017). The experience of stigma for older adults with a diagnosis of HIV in the United Kingdom: a meta-synthesis. Psychology of Older People: the FPOP Bulletin, 139
Butler C (2015). Intersectionality in family therapy training: Inviting students to embrace the complexities of lived experience. Journal of Family Therapy, 37(4), 583-589. Abstract.
BUTLER C (2011). Breaking Taboos: Acknowledging Therapist Arousal and Disgust. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 9(1), 61-66.
Byrne A, Butler C, Mugerwa F (2010). Habari: Spreading the news about HIV to African communities in London. Clinical Psychology Forum(211), 30-34.
Butler C (2010). Heterosexual - the 'normal' delusion. Context, October, 46-47.
Goodwin C, Butler C (2009). Legitimate love: the meaning of civil partnership for the positioning of lesbian and gay people in society. SEXUAL AND RELATIONSHIP THERAPY, 24(3-4), 235-248.  Author URL.
Butler C (2009). Sexual and gender minority therapy and systemic practice. Journal of Family Therapy, 31(4), 338-358. Abstract.
Shaw L, Butler C (2008). Editorial: Special issue on sexual trauma. Clinical Psychology Forum(192), 9-11.
Shaw L, Butler C, Marriott C (2008). Sex and sexuality teaching in UK clinical psychology courses. Clinical Psychology Forum(187), 7-11. Abstract.
Butler C (2008). Speaking the unspeakable: Female interpreters' response to working with women who have been raped in war. Clinical Psychology Forum, 192, 22-26.
Butler C (2008). Strange bedfellows? Setting up a systemic couples service in a sexual health setting. Clinical Psychology Forum(187), 12-16. Abstract.
Shaw E, Butler C (2007). New research in sexual health. Clinical Psychology Forum, 171, 41-43.
Butler C, Shaw E (2007). Putting sex on the agenda. Clinical Psychology Forum(173), 45-47.
Byrne A, Watson R, Butler C, Accoroni A (2006). Increasing the confidence of nursing staff to address the sexual health needs of people living with HIV: the use of motivational interviewing. AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 18(5), 501-504. Abstract.
Butler C (2006). Psychology students - This time it's personal. Psychologist, 19(1).
Butler C, Moon L, Barker M (2006). Sexuality. Psychologist, 19(1), 18-19.
Shaw L, Butler C, Rodohan E (2006). The criminalisation of HIV transmission. Clinical Psychology Forum, 2006(164).
Butler C, Liao L-M (2006). Vagina dialogues. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review, 7(3), 287-291.
Butler C (2006). What's different about sex?. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review, 7(3), 225-226.
Gibbons J, Butler C, Watson R (2005). Providing support to lesbian, gay and bisexual clinical psychology trainees. Clinical Psychology Forum(151), 28-31. Abstract.
Butler C, Byrne A (2004). A clinical psychological perspective to counter sexual prejudice in institutional systems and clients' lives. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review, 5(3), 89-94.
Butler C (2004). An awareness-raising tool addressing lesbian and gay lives. Clinical Psychology(36), 15-17. Abstract.
Butler C (2004). Lesbian and gay trainees: the challenges of personal and professional integration. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review, 5(1), 22-29.
Accoroni A, Adams N, Babbs M, Byrne A, Butler C, Davidson O, Van Dijkhuizen M (2004). Unjustified, publication?. PSYCHOLOGIST, 17(2), 64-64.  Author URL.
Butler C (2004). What older adult service users say about systemic therapy. Context, 65, 15-17.


Butler C, Brown M, Kotrial T, Gunby N (2023). Sexual, Gender and Relationship Diverse Affirmative Therapy. In  (Ed) Sexual Minorities and Mental Health, Springer International Publishing, 193-221.
Hicks S, Butler C (2021). Embracing the Kaleidoscope: Talking about racism in British Clinical Psychology. In Newnes C (Ed) Racism in Psychology, Oxon: Routledge.
Butler C (2018). Physical Disabilities. In Goldberg AE (Ed) The SAGE Encyclopaedia of LGBTQ Studies, CA: SAGE.
Butler C, Fredman G (2016). Supervision of arousal and disgust. In Bownas J, Fredman G (Eds.) Working with Embodiment in Supervision a systemic approach, London: Routledge. Abstract.
Butler C, Nair RD, Thomas S (2016). The Colour of Queer. In  (Ed) Counselling Ideologies: Queer Challenges to Heteronormativity, 105-122. Abstract.
Butler C, Byrne A (2014). Queer in practice: Therapy and queer theory. In Moon L (Ed) Feeling Queer or Queer Feelings?: Radical Approaches to Counselling Sex, Sexualities and Genders, London: Routledge, 89-105.
Butler C (2012). Disability. In das Nair R, Butler C (Eds.) Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies, Chichester: BPS Blackwell, 213-238.
Nair RD, Butler C (2012). Introduction. In das Nair R, Butler C (Eds.) Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies, Chichester: BPS Blackwell, 1-8.
Higgins S, Butler C (2012). Refugees and Asylum Seekers. In das Nair R, Butler C (Eds.) Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies, Chichester: BPS Blackwell, 113-136.
Butler C, Byrne A (2010). Culture, sex and sexuality. In Butler C, O'Donovan A, Shaw E (Eds.) Sex, sexuality and therapeutic practice, Routledge.
Butler C, das Nair R, Thomas S (2010). The colour of queer. In Moon L (Ed) Counselling Ideologies: Queer Challenges to Heteronormativity, Farnham: Ashgate, 105-121.
Butler C (2009). Health, disability and sex. In Butler C, O'Donovan A, Shaw E (Eds.) Sex, Sexuality and Therapeutic Practice a Manual for Therapists and Trainers, London: Routledge. Abstract.
O'Donovan A, Butler C (2009). Sex: Body, behaviour and identity. In Butler C, O'Donovan A, Shaw E (Eds.) Sex, Sexuality and Therapeutic Practice a Manual for Therapists and Trainers, London: Routledge. Abstract.
Butler C (2009). Sexual and gender minorities: consideration for therapy and training. In Butler C, O'Donovan A, Shaw E (Eds.) Sex, Sexuality and Therapeutic Practice a Manual for Therapists and Trainers, London: Routledge. Abstract.


Butler C (2022). Panel Member. Mending Hearts. 23rd - 23rd Feb 2022.
Butler C, Margetts A, Schlosser A, Solomans W, Masterson C (2021). Decolonising: from reflection to action. Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Annual Conference.
Butler C (2020). Issues to consider when working with LGBT couples. Association of Family Therapy Symposium (conference cancelled).
Butler C, Rivett M (2020). Rating the competence of systemic supervisors. World Family Therapy Congress (conference cancelled).
Butler C, Hutchinson A (2019). Taking time out to consider gender dysphoria diagnosis in young people today. Association of Family Therapy Annual Conference.
Butler C (2018). Closing Plenary. Association of Family Therapy Annual Conference.
Butler C, Middleton A (2018). Sex in the therapy room: in-bedded and embodied. Association of Family Therapy Annual Conference.
Butler C (2018). Story completion method as a post structuralist tool for understanding gender variance. Future Sex.
Butler C (2018). Systemic Practice Scale (SPS) - how it is being used with trainees and beyond. Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Annual Conference.
Butler C (2018). The social construction of gender variance within a family: a multi-comparison story completion study. Queering Academia.
Butler C (2017). Intersecting connections in group supervision: negotiating power to create possibility. Association of Family Therapy Annual Conference.
Butler C (2016). Intersectionality and systemic therapy. Association of Family Therapy Annual Conference.
Butler C (2016). Keynote: Challenging Dominant Discourses in Sexuality. Relate & Institute of Family Therapy.
Butler C (2016). Keynote: Working with diversity. British HIV and Sexual Health Association.
Butler C (2016). The reliability of the Systemic Practice Scale. Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Annual Conference. 10th - 11th Nov 2016.
Butler C (2010). Difference is within us. British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy.
Butler C, Hansen S (2010). It could have been worse: sexual health professionals use of rape myths repertoires in accounting for cases of sexual assault. BPS Psychology of Women Conference.
Butler C (2010). The psychology of sexual assault: views from perpetrators, victims and staff who work with them. BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Conference.
Butler C (2008). Talking about 'you-know-what'. XVII International AIDS conference.
Butler C (2006). Motivational Interviewing - its relevance in the field of ARVs adherence. Bristol Myers Squbb Adherence Workshops.
Butler C (2006). Teaching sex and sexuality on clinical psychology training courses. Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Annual Conference.
Butler C (2005). New research in sexual health. BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Conference. 9th - 9th Dec 2005.
Butler C (2004). HIV/STI prevention by training nursing staff in motivational interviewing. XV International AIDS Conference.
Butler C, Byrne A (2003). A clinical psychological perspective in countering sexual prejudice in institutional systems and clients' lives. International Critical Psychology Conference.
Butler C (2003). What do older adults make of reflecting teams?. a space for age and a place for families conference.


Shaw L, Butler C (2007). Report from the 2006 DCP Annual Conference. 2 pages.

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External Engagement and Impact

Adjunt for Sunway University, Kurla Lumpur, Malaysia

External Examiner for:

Clinical External Examiner on DClinPsy at UCL

Systemic strand on DClin at University of Leicester

Systemic consultant for DClin at Cardiff University

Deputy Chair of the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology

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Systemic Therapy

Qualitative Research Methods

Equity, Diversity, whiteness and anti-racism

Sexual and Gender Minorities



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Office Hours:

Mon-Fri 9-5

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