Alison currently divides her time between research into coping and resilience, and as a trainer on wellbeing in the workplace. The training is offered through her company Present Minds Ltd, and includes mindfulness, mental health first aid, and people skills training for technical managers. She has worked with organisations such as the National Physical Laboratories, Sarasin’s and Partners, Q8 Aviation, Birkbeck College, and the housing association Family Mosaic. Alison also offers mindfulness training privately in the Surrey area.
Between 2007 and 2012 Alison was conducting research on mindfulness in relation to consumption behaviour. This was for her PhD within the RESOLVE project. She specifically studied compulsive buyers who learned mindfulness, which gave some fascinating insights into the mechanisms of change that mindfulness can induce. She explored mindfulness as a potential means of altering consumption behaviours in ways that might contribute to improved individual wellbeing as well as lowering environmental impact. In the year prior to this she did an MSc in Sustainable Development, for which she was awarded a distinction.
Prior to this, Alison spent 10 years working as an engineer. Her work included satellite systems design, fluid systems analysis, and non-technical management within the aerospace sector. Her bachelor’s degree was in Maths with Engineering, and she is a qualified yoga teacher.
A list of her publications can be on the Present Minds website.
Work w/ CUSP
Alison is conducting social-psychological research on the means of coping with difficulty and adversity, and the ways that resilience is built and cultivated. So far more than 20 interviews have been conducted with people who have been through some difficulty in their life such as bereavement, divorce, chronic illness, domestic abuse, or being a victim of violent crime. This data gives some important insights into the coping mechanisms that people use, how they change and evolve, and how resilience is cultivated and developed.
Within CUSP, she is exploring how individual, community and social coping with difficulty can contribute to wellbeing; and seeks to understand how resilience is cultivated to support individual, community and social prosperity. This is motivated by the idea that concepts of individual psychological prosperity (which might include a sense of connection, wellbeing, strong relationships, cultural engagement etc) needs to consider the responses to shocks and difficulties, and to provide environments to facilitate healing and a return to wellbeing/thriving.