Staff profile

Dr Kirsten McEwan

Associate Professor

Kirsten McEwan in a nature environment


College of Health, Psychology and Social Care

Research centre

Health and Social Care Research Centre





I am a Research Psychologist with 18 years of experience in developing and evaluating health and wellbeing treatments. I have project-managed evaluations of treatments in NHS, Clinical Trials, and University settings, producing over 60 published projects. I provided the evidence-base for talking therapies, such as Compassion-Focused Therapy-CFT (for patients) and Compassionate Mind Training-CMT (for public).  

I am happiest spending time in nature and was really pleased to be able to bring together my passion for the outdoors and health and wellbeing research by becoming a Forest Bathing practitioner and researcher. Working closely with The Forest Bathing Institute, I conducted the first UK research into a social prescription called Forest Bathing (mindful walking in nature). Following this research, Forest Bathing received Government funding and is a social prescription across Surrey. My current project working with science communicator Vanessa Potter, examines urban Forest Bathing called 'ParkBathe.' 

Over the following years, I aim to bring my research in 1. Compassion interventions, 2. Public health interventions, and 3. Forest Bathing together, to provide the evidence-base for Forest Bathing and bring it to a wider UK audience as a social prescription, with a special focus on health inequalities. I will also use Forest Bathing as means to bring compassion towards the environment to foster sustainability and climate change resilience. 

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on BSc Psychology (Nature Connections) and MSc Behaviour Change modules. I also supervise PhD students and am currently supervising Jaskaran Basran who is researching compassion in business organisations, and Simone Farris who is researching how increasing the biodiversity of urban parks can improve health and wellbeing.

Research interests

Recent publications

Scrabble tiles laid out to spell mental health

Kirsten McEwan, Senior Research Fellow in Compassion Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Derby, explores ways to focus on your wellbeing during this time and the good things that are taking place around you.