About me

Dr Alison Fixsen is a Senior Lecturer and Ethics coordinator for the School of Social Sciences Science and Technology at the University of Westminster (UoW) and an experienced healthcare practitioner. Her doctorate was on self care and personal and professional education.

Alison is an established author, presenter and theorist within the global health and social science communities, with unique expertise in the fields of symbolic interactionism and ethnography. Her approach is multidisciplinary, with projects and published work spanning psychology, sociology, health sciences and education. She is  an active member of the British Sociological Association, the European Sociological Association and the Association for Symbolic Interactionism. She is a member of the ESA Sociology of Education committee, and reviewer for three sociology journals.

Alison also has an extensive clinical, teaching and supervisory background in CM therapies, with knowledge and expertise in many of topics around mental health and wellbeing. Alison is an active internal coach and mentor for the University of Westminster and is completing the ILM level 5 Diploma in Management Coaching and mentoring sponsored by UoW.

Work and research experience

Alison has conducted and published studies ranging from an RCT (Fixsen and Vickers, Harrison 1999), health service evaluations, literature reviews (Fixsen 2013), ethnographies, authethnographies and qualitative studies. Her particular areas of expertise are interpersonal communication and mental health. She has run clinics and workshops on health and wellbeing for Sure Start and has conducted primary research within NHS settings. 

1995- 1996: co- conducted a randomized comparison of homeopathic and standard care for the treatment of glue ear in children, which was published in two journals. 

 2010-2014: led 2 university based research studies, the first investigating the emotion work of final year students undergoing personal and professional development (PPD) and clinical training (Fixsen and Ridge 2012), and the other a secondary analysis of level 4 and 5 student experiences of this programme (Fixsen et al. 2015). This work represents a novel understanding of complementary therapy student learning and coping strategies.

2012-15: Alison a strong interest in psychoactive drug dependency and have developed expertise on benzodiazepine BZD dependency and BZD withdrawal syndrome. From she conducted an extensive ‘netography’ exploring benzodiazepine user stories of withdrawal and recovery, which has been widely read and discussed among stakeholders including those in the BZD virtual community. 

2013-17 (Doctorate): ethnographic exploration of staff experiences of Learning and Development programmes. 

Alison is co-investigator for an NHS funded Evaluation of a prototype social prescribing service in Oswestry and for a project into Orthorexia Nervosa.


School of social Sciences Ethics coordinator

MSc Psychology Qualitative Research Methods -module leader 

 BSc Psychology Understanding Psychological Diversity-module leader 

Supervisor for BSC Psych, MSc Psych, MSc Health Psych and PhD dissertations.



2018: Fixsen, A. and Ridge, D. Shades of communitas: a study of soft skills programs. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography Vol. 48(4) 510–537


 2018: Fixsen, A. Homeopathy in the age of antimicrobial resistance: Is it a viable treatment for upper respiratory tract infections? Homeopathy DOI https://doi.org/ 10.1055/s-0037-1621745.ISSN 1475-4916.

  2018: Mosley, Roberts, Fixsen... et al. HRI Malta 2017—Cutting Edge Research in Homeopathy: HRI’s Third International Research Conference in Maltain Homeopathy. 2016 Feb;105(1):3-7. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.12.002. 

2017: Fixsen A., Ridge, D., & Cranfield, S. Self-care and entrepreneurism   An ethnography of soft skills learning and development for staff. Studies in Continuing Education. 2017.

2017: Fixsen A. Fixsen, A. 2017. Mixing Work with Therapy: A Work Based Autoethnography. WBL e-Journal International 7(1):40–63.

2017: Fixsen, A., Ridge, D.  Stories of hell and healing: How Internet users construct their benzodiazepine distress and withdrawal. Qualitative Health Research 2017 Nov; 27(13):2030-2041.

2015: Fixsen, A., Ridge, D., Kirkpatrick, S., & Foot, D. Interaction rituals and jumbled emotions among ‘relative strangers’: Simulated patient work on a trainee complementary therapy practitioner program. Sage Open Journals,

doi: 10.1177/2158244015595090, 10 July 2015

2015: Fixsen AM. “I’m Not Waving, I'm Drowning”: An ethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use. Qualitative Health Research 22 (9), 1163-1175.

 2013: Fixsen, A. Should homeopathy be considered as part of a treatment strategy for otitis media with effusion in children? Homeopathy 2013 102 (2): 45-150.

2012: A Fixsen, A., Ridge D. Performance, emotion work, and transition: Challenging experiences of complementary therapy student practitioners commencing clinical practice. Qualitative Health Research 22 (9), 1163-1175

1997: Harrison, H., Fixsen A; Vickers, A. Randomized comparison of homeopathic and standard care for the treatment of glue ear in children. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 1999: 7 (3):132-135.

Commissioned Reports

Polley, Marie, Helen Seers and Fixsen Alison, 2019. Final Report of the Social Prescribing in Shropshire. University of Westminster.

  Polley, Marie, Helen Seers and Fixsen Alison, 2018.Phase 1 Evaluation Report of the Social Prescribing Demonstrator Site in Shropshire. University of Westminster.

 Fixsen, Alison, Helen Seers and Polley, M. 2018. People at the Centre of Social Prescribing. Report on Experiences and Views of Stakeholders in a Social prescribing Project. University of Westminster.

Polley, Marie, Whiteside Jayne and Fixsen Alison 2019.  Identifying the outcomes in social prescribing connector schemes. Report on social Prescribing Big Lottery Project.University of Westminster.


July 2019: Social Prescribing and systems thinking. Second International Social prescribing network conference, UoW London.

July 2019: 

July 2019:  Orthorexia Nervosa: the social construction of a new eating disorder. EUSSI conference Reykevik, Iceland.

June 2019 Cultivation of the self and performing gender.  First international conference Scuola Democratica. Cagliari Sardinia.

September 2018:  Stories of Hell and Healing: Med Soc Conference Glasgow.

 July 2018: I'm not waving I'm drowning. British Autoethnography Conference, Bristol.

May 2018: Self-care and entrepreneurism. An ethnography of soft skills for staff. CESE XXVIII Conference Nicosia.

January 2018: Homeopathy in the age of antibiotic resistance: is it a viable alternative in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections? 9th Edition of the International Conference on Alternative Medicine. London

August 2017: Activities of the self: Self-care and entrepreneurism on Higher Education staff learning and development programmes, European Sociological Association (ESA) Biennial Conference, Athens.

 July 2017: Feeling our way: university staff experiences of ‘soft skills’ programmes, EUSSI conference, Lodz, Poland.

June 2017:  Should homeopathy be considered as an alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of URTIs? HRI International Homeopathy Research conference, Malta.

Sept 2016: Feeling our way: university staff experiences of ‘soft skills’ programmes, European Sociological Association (ESA) International Conference, Education and Empowerment, Milan. 

May 2016: “Stories of Hell and Healing”:  European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference, Health and Society, Prague.

Sept 2015: Keynote speaker at “Homeopathy in Changing Times Conference”. Homepatistiftelsen, Oslo. 

Nov 2015: “The case for homeopathy in the age of antibiotic resistance”, Euroscion conference, London 

  August 2015: “Feeling our way: An investigation of university staff experiences of participation in personal and professional development programmes of the ‘soft skills’ variety. European Sociological Association Biannual Conference, Prague. 

  June 2015: “Homeopathic treatment for otitis media in children: the case for pragmatic trials.”  Homeopathic treatment for otitis media in children: the case for pragmatic trials. HRI International Homeopathy Research conference, Rome.

Sept 2012 “Interactive rituals and shambolic emotions: experiences of trainee complementary therapy students on a PPD programme. ” BSA medical conference, Leicester.

Sept 2011- The Therapeutic Encounter in a Public Arena - An investigation of the challenging experiences and emotional work performed by complementary and alternative therapy students in the clinical setting.” ESA conference, Geneva. 

  2009- Complementary Therapies Research forum (University of Westminster) presentation A homeopathic case study of a young male presenting with ulcerative colitis 

  2007: Homeopathy Awareness week (guest speaker) Denmark. “From Puberty to Menopause -Homoeopathy for Women of Today”. 

  2007: Society of Homeopath’s Workshop, Bath. “Beyond the baby blues.” Homeopathy for postnatal depression 

  2006: Society of Homeopath’s Annual Conference, Oxford. “Mummy, please stop crying. The treatment of postnatal depression.” 

  2005: Society of Homeopaths Annual Conference. “Evaluation of 3 Surestart homeopathy clinics 2002-5.”



2014- CIMA C05 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law: Study Text. Strategic Business Coaching Ltd.



2014: Fixsen, A. Ridge, D, et al. An investigation of users’ experience of recovery from benzodiazepine use (NIHR grant) In progress 2014: Ridge, D., Fixsen, A., & Lewith, G. CAMCO- Complementary and Alternative Medicine controversies on line: The battle to persuade the public. In progress 2010- Mindful organisation, Change Academy (collaborated on successful bid)   2011: Aurum project, research grant, otitis media literature review


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.