School of Health & Social Care
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Claire Smith

Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

Claire Smith

About Claire Smith

Claire Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Teesside University. She qualified in 1991 and has worked in a number of adult mental health services across the North East of England.  

In 1999 she completed a master's in counselling and joined the occupational therapy teaching team to deliver on aspects of mental health, communication and professional development.  

In addition to her work at the University she is employed part time as a psychological therapist for Alliance Psychological Services, working, until recently, in a specialist service for refugees. She continues to work with complex mental health needs as well as providing supervision for therapists and training on mental health and refugee issues.

Claire has spoken at national and international conferences, has published a number of feature and opinion articles and has been an invited speaker providing workshops to large staff groups and other universities. She has delivered on subjects such as refugee mental health, cultural competency, psychological trauma and other issues related to therapy, and has been involved in steering and advisory groups locally and internationally on race equality in mental health, occupational rights and the mental well being of refugees.

Claire’s PhD research is a qualitative study intended as an exploration of the meaning of occupation for people who have sought asylum in the United Kingdom. The study is phenomenological, undertaken to illuminate the experiences people have of occupation before, during and after the asylum process to identify barriers and opportunities which influence well-being.  

Research interests and activities

Currently undertaking a PhD entitled 'An Exploration of the Meaning of Occupation to People Seeking Asylum in the United Kingdom'

In the news

  • BBC Radio Tees, Bob Fischer,
    BBC Radio Tees, Bob Fischer, 25/10/2017
    Claire Smith Lecturer - Occupational therapy talks to BBC radio about Mental health in the work place


  • BBC Radio Tees, Mike Parr
    BBC Radio Tees, 27/06/2017
    Teesside University Occupational Therapy lecturer Claire Smith is featured on radio.


  • Teesside University coverage
    ITV 1 TT N, North East Tonight, 22/01/2013, 18:15:57; ITV 1 Border, Lookaround, 22/01/2013, 18:15:57
    A Teesside University lecturer comments on being diagnosed with depression.


  • Teesside University interview
    BBC Radio Tees, Mike Parr, 01/10/2012, 10:53:10
    The popular views from the general public of asylum seekers are discussed with Claire Smith, a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at Teesside University.


  • £10,000 grant for asylum research
    Evening Gazette, 28/08/2012, p.15
    A Teesside University lecturer has been awarded a £10,000 grant to carry out pioneering research looking at how asylum seekers feel about leaving their daily lives behind. Claire Smith, inset, senior