Counselling People with Dementia: a feasibility study investigating the potential for accessible therapy delivered through a social enterprise model

Award Number
Research Grant
Status / Stage
1 August 2021 -
1 January 2023
Duration (calculated)
01 years 05 months
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
Contracted Centre
University of Edinburgh
Principal Investigator
Dr Gillian Mathews
WHO Catergories
Models across the continuum of care
Tools and methodologies for interventions
Disease Type
Dementia (Unspecified)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID406
ResearcherReside Team


Award NumberES/W006669/1
Status / StageCompleted
Start Date20210801
End Date20230101
Duration (calculated) 01 years 05 months
Funder/Grant study pageESRC
Contracted CentreUniversity of Edinburgh
Funding Amount£50,396.00


The Problem
There is a clear gap in counselling for people living with dementia and carers. The people I interviewed spoke about difficult emotional challenges linked to their experience of loss and concerns about the future. Currently, counselling interventions are poorly accessed by people living with dementia and under-researched. Most therapists have no training in this area and typically, those working in dementia services have no counselling skills. Despite support being a Human Right for people living with dementia, many health staff and therapists are not aware of the potential benefits of therapy. It is clear from my interviews that this is not true.I want to work with Zinc, people living with dementia, carers and counsellors to develop an accessible counselling model that can significantly improve the mental health of people with dementia and others. Firstly, we need to test the research methods. and then test the dementia-friendly counselling model.

Success means:
1) People living with dementia, carers and counsellors are involved in the research process ensuring our ideas and methods are ethical, creative and fit for purpose.
2) Using the findings from testing the methods, counselling process, and potential investor feedback, we co-create a tiered counselling training and delivery package for use across different public services, the third sector, community groups and businesses.
3) Sale and delivery of the package enables accessible and tailored counselling opportunities, helping to tackle loneliness and stigma.
4) People living with dementia and carers can choose how and where they access therapeutic support.


We want to test an accessible, community-based, counselling model to help meet the emotional health and well-being needs of people living with dementia.