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). Her doctorate was on self care and personal and professional education.

She is an experienced qualitative researcher in health and social sciences with a particular interest in social justice and health equality. Alison's approach to teaching and research is is multidisciplinary, with projects and published work spanning psychology, sociology, health sciences and education. She has a strong interest in  autoethnography and has authored several papers on this topic. 

She is an expert member for the Sociology of Education committee for the European Sociological Association and an active member of the Association for Symbolic Interactionism. 

Alison has expert knowledge of benzodiazepines and BZD withdrawal. She has worked with Battle against Tranquillisers and sit on the expert panel for the Federal Research on Drugs programme for BELSPO (Belgian Federal Science Policy Office).

Alison also has an extensive clinical, teaching and supervisory background with knowledge and expertise in many topics around mental health and wellbeing. She is an active internal coach and mentor for the University of Westminster.


2020-Principal Investigator: Pathways and barriers to social prescribing:  Co-producing initiatives which address social and health inequalities in urban areas (Community funding). 

2018-19 Co-investigator: NHS funded evaluation of a social prescribing scheme in Shropshire.

2019, Co-investigator National Lottery funded social prescribing outcomes project. 

2018 - 2019, Co-investigator University of Malaysia funded project on orthorexia nervosa.

2012-15: 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. 

 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.

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

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. 


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.



Fixsen, Alison, Barrett, S, Simonovich, M. 2021. Weathering the storm: A qualitative study of social prescribing in urban and rural Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sage Open Medicine, under review

Fixsen, Alison, Simonovich, M, Barrett, S. 2021. Approaches to social prescribing: A Covid-19 pandemic study. Qualitative Health Research, under review.

Ridge, Damien,  Smith, H, Fixsen, A,  Oliffe, J,  Broom, A. (2020). How men step back from – and recover from – suicidality: A relational and gendered account. Sociology of Health and Illness 43 (1), pp. 238-252. 

 Fixsen, Alison, Ridge, Damien T, Porter, A 2020.‘On being Arachne: self-care and ‘power-nets’ on women’s development programs.’ Gender and Education, under review

 Anna Cheshire, Alison Fixsen & Michelle Berry 2020. What are the key features of Orthorexia Nervosa and influences on its development? A qualitative investigation?  Appetite, 155 104798. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104798

 Fixsen, Alison, Cheshire, A. and Berry, M. 2020. The Social Construction of a Concept- Orthorexia Nervosa: Morality Narratives and Psycho-politics. Qualitative Health Research. 30 (7), pp. 1101-1113. 

Fixsen, Alison, Seers, H. and Polley, M.J. 2020. Applying critical systems thinking to social prescribing: a relational model of stakeholder “buy-in”. BMC Health Services Research. 20 (80) 580. doi:10.1186/s12913-020-05443-8

  Fixsen, Alison and Polley, M.J. 2020. Social prescribing for stress related disorders and brain health.  International Review of Neurobiology. 152 (10), pp. 237-257. 

Fixsen, Alison, Ridge, Damien T. and Evans, Carys 2019. “Momma bear wants to protect”: Vicarious parenting in practitioners working with disturbed and traumatised children. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1002/capr.12285

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.

PhD thesis 

Fixsen, Alison 2017. Feeling Our Way: An ethnographic exploration of university staff experiences of ‘soft skills’ learning and development programmes. University of Westminster Leadership and Professional Development

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:  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.