Dr Dominiek Coates

Dr Dominiek Coates

Conjoint Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science

Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise

Dr Dominiek Coates has significant experience in the area of research, mental health service design and implementation, and program development. Her primary research interests are mental health, mental health service evaluation, identity construction, child abuse and trauma.  She is a Conjoint Lecturer with the University of Newcastle and a Researcher for the Central Coast Local Health District, Mental Health.

In her current role as a Researcher with Central Coast Mental Health, she is responsible for the implementation of a range of methodologies to improve the patient journey and the quality and efficiency of clinical care provided in mental health. She works both at a strategic level ensuring the service’s strategic direction is aligned with policy directives and priorities, as well as directly with clinicians and managers to develop and implement policies and processes to improve service delivery. She is responsible for the development and implementation of a number of research studies and projects, in particular in the area of translational and evaluation research. The primary aim of this role is to ensure that that the clinical systems, processes and care models are patient centred, of high quality and in line with the existing best practice evidence base. As part of this role, informed by the evidence and service evaluation outcomes, she puts forward service improvement recommendations and supports managers and clinicians to integrate new ways of working into existing models through a range of change management methodologies. A number of the change projects she has led in terms of the evaluation have won awards, including the Australian Council on Health Care Standards Quality Improvement Award 2014 in the category “Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety” for the CCLHD project “The Keep Them Safe Whole Family Team Gosford Pilot Project”.  Recent articles published in this role have appeared in Australasian Psychiatry, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, Child and Family Social Work, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Child and Youth Services, Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, Children and Youth Services Review and Australian Social Work. See http://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/dominiek-coates#publications for details.

In 2012, Dr Dominiek Coates completed a PhD thesis into the experiences of former members of new religious movements. This thesis is an investigation of the life history narratives of 23 former members of 11 different World-Rejecting New Religious Movements (NRMs) in Australia. The study is a qualitative enquiry consisting of in-depth biographical interviews informed by constructionist grounded theory and the theoretical framework of symbolic interactionism (SI). Questions were aimed at elucidating insights into the way in which participants experienced and negotiated issues of identity and self before, during and since membership. The life history narratives were analysed for an understanding of membership in the context of the participants’ wider life histories and descriptions of self and identity. The principal findings were that participation in a world-rejecting NRM served a significant identity function for the former members in this study. The findings suggest that for the participants in the study membership was motivated by difficulties negotiating tensions between personal autonomy and social connectedness. In accordance with SI theorising of the self as constructed in the realm of both self and others, it is argued that an ability to reflexively negotiate tensions between personal autonomy and social connectedness is paramount for the contemporary self, and NRM membership is conceptualised as motivated by, and a potential solution to, difficulties balancing these tensions. She received the School of Humanities and Social Science publication prize for 2009 for an article published in the Journal of Religion and Health and the 2012 Humanities and Social Science RHD Publication Award for an article published in Deviant Behavior.

Between 2008 and 2012 Dr Dominiek Coates worked in the capacity of Research and Program Manager/Group Facilitator for Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA). In this capacity, she developed a number of psycho-educational workshops for adult survivors of childhood abuse pertaining to the impacts of stress and trauma on child developing and related mental health impacts. These workshops provide survivors and those supporting them with a safe space in which to learn about the impacts of childhood trauma, and possibilities for the process of recovery. They discuss ways in which trauma in childhood can impact current or past behaviours, feelings and/or physical and psychological health. They also build on existing strengths to foster a sense of hope and optimism about the recovery process. These workshops explore issues such as attachment, self-care and support building. They highlight the coping strategies children adopt to survive, and relate these to methods of coping in adulthood. They also provide tools for positive change. These workshops have been delivered to survivors throughout Australia, and have been a great success.

Between 2006 and 2008 she worked as a Research Associate on large ARC funded research project into retirement village living at The University of New South Wales, School of Organisation and Management. This project investigated the relationships between key economic, built environment, social, psychological and health factors that impact on the provision of retirement accommodation.

Teaching Expertise
Dr Dominiek Coates has significant teaching experience in research methodologies, sociology of mental health, public health and introductory social sciences courses. She takes a student-centred approach to learning and encourages students to regard her as a facilitator of their learning rather than a repository of knowledge. As a qualified and experienced counsellor she has a keen eye for identifying, and breaking down, possible barriers that prevent learning.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • identity
  • mental health
  • new religious movements
  • service development
  • service evaluation
  • youth mental health

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified 50
160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods 25
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified 25

Awards

Recognition

Year Award
2014 Quality & Innovation Awards 2014
Central Coast Local Health District. Caring for the Coast
2014 ACHS Quality Improvement Awards 2014
Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS)

Invitations

Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2014 Balancing personal autonomy and social connectedness: the role of New Religious Movements or 'Cult' membership from the perspectives of former members
Organisation: PACFA, CAPA and AARC Conference - Complexity and Connectedness in Life and Love: Working with Trauma, Mental Health and Identity Description: Invited Speaker
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Coates DD, 'New religious movements as avenues for self-change and the development of increased emotional connectedness', 40th Anniversary of Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Emerald, Bingley 271-305 (2013) [B1]
DOI 10.1108/S0163-2396(2013)0000040015
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
2013 Coates D, 'Tensions Between Self and "Others" in the Making of the Self: The Role of Childhood Experiences in the Development of Reflexivity', Social Theories of History and Histories of Social Theory, Emerald, London 277-295 (2013) [B1]
DOI 10.1108/S0278-1204(2013)0000031008

Journal article (27 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Coates D, Howe D, 'An evaluation of a service to keep children safe in families with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.', Australas Psychiatry, (2016)
DOI 10.1177/1039856216634821
2016 Coates D, Howe D, 'Integrating a youth participation model in a youth mental health service: Challenges and lessons learned', Child and Youth Services, 1-14 (2016)

2016 © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC Youth participation in mental health settings is fundamental to service design and delivery, and is beneficial for the young people involved as... [more]

2016 © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC Youth participation in mental health settings is fundamental to service design and delivery, and is beneficial for the young people involved as well as the organisation. This paper presents the findings of an evaluation of a youth participation model where tiered participation was attempted in a clinical youth mental health setting. To inform the ongoing development and improvement of a youth participation model, an evaluation was conducted consisting of three focus groups with the youth consultants, consultations with management about the implementation of the tiered participation model, and a review of records. The purpose of this evaluation was to identify possible barriers to implementation early on so these could be addressed and a youth participation model that meets the needs of all key stakeholders could be developed. The findings of this evaluation and the way in which these findings informed the model's development are discussed.

DOI 10.1080/0145935X.2015.1119652
2016 Coates DD, 'Life inside a deviant "religious" group: Conformity and commitment as ensured through 'brainwashing' or as the result of normal processes of socialisation', International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 44 103-121 (2016)

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The 'dependency inducing practices', sometimes called 'brainwashing', that are commonly alleged to occur in deviant "religious" groups such as a cult movemen... [more]

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The 'dependency inducing practices', sometimes called 'brainwashing', that are commonly alleged to occur in deviant "religious" groups such as a cult movements or new religious movements are not well understood and have promoted considerable debate. There is a general agreement that many of these groups are controlled environments in which conformity to behavioural, emotive, cognitive and social expectations as determined by leadership is expected and enforced; however, whether conformity is the result of normal processes of socialisation or deviant practices such as brainwashing that cause harm continues to be disputed. To gain an increased understanding of the conformity and commitment inducing practices that occur in 'cult movements', the accounts of group life of 23 former members of 11 different groups were analysed. A conceptualisation of 'brainwashing' as on a continuum of social influence is proposed, and some legal implications are discussed.

DOI 10.1016/j.ijlcj.2015.06.002
2015 Coates D, Howe D, 'Combatting staff burnout in mental health: key managerial and leadership tasks that are fundamental to staff wellbeing and retention', Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, 10 24-32 (2015) [C1]
2015 Coates D, 'Working with families with parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues where there are child protection concerns: Inter-agency collaboration', Child and Family Social Work, (2015)

© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Child abuse commonly occurs within the context of multiple risk factors, in particular parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems. As n... [more]

© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Child abuse commonly occurs within the context of multiple risk factors, in particular parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems. As no one agency can address all these factors, inter-agency collaboration is paramount to the protection of vulnerable children, especially in families with a complex array of problems. This paper outlines a range of recommendations to improve collaboration between child protection workers and mental health/drug & alcohol (MH/D&A) clinicians from the perspective of Keep Them Safe-Whole Family Team (KTS-WFT) clinicians. Taking referrals from child protection, the KTS-WFT offers interventions to families with parental MH/D&A problems where there are child protection concerns. As part of a larger evaluation of a KTS-WFT site, 10 KTS-WFT clinicians participated in in-depth interviews. Analysis of the interviews identified collaboration with child protection as a primary theme. Participants reported a number of barriers to effective collaboration; in particular, participants reported challenges with information sharing and confidentiality, inconsistency in terms of the level and style of collaboration, tensions between the different theoretical paradigms that underpin practice for MH/D&A clinicians vs. child protection workers, and insufficient clarity around processes and expectations. Consistent with the identified barriers, primary recommendations to improve collaboration were to improve information sharing, overcome silo ways of thinking, manage risk together more consistently, and develop consistent processes and expectations.

DOI 10.1111/cfs.12238
2015 Coates DD, Howe D, 'The design and development of staff wellbeing initiatives: Staff stressors, burnout and emotional exhaustion at Children and Young People¿s Mental Health in Australia', Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 42 655-663 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s10488-014-0599-4
2015 Howe D, Batchelor S, Coates DD, 'Young Australians with moderate to severe mental health problems: Client data and outcomes at Children and Young People's Mental Health', Early Intervention in Psychiatry, (2015)

© 2015 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Aim: Almost a quarter of young Australians experience a mental health issue that may become chronic if left untreated. Children and Young Pe... [more]

© 2015 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Aim: Almost a quarter of young Australians experience a mental health issue that may become chronic if left untreated. Children and Young People's Mental Health (CYPMH) is a specialist tertiary service for young people with moderate to severe mental health problems on the Central Coast in Australia. This paper presents an overview of client data and service use collected over a 1 year period specific to the Youth Mental Health (YMH) component of the service. Method: Client data, including demographic characteristics, service usage, presenting issues and standardized outcome measures, were analysed using SPSS. Clinicians routinely collect MH-OAT (Mental Health Outcomes and Assessment Tools) measures at different points in a client's episode of care, and each of these measures was analysed separately. Wilcoxon Z and a series of McNemar's tests were used to report on the difference between admission and discharge scores. Results: During a designated 1 year period, 830 referrals to YMH were received. The most prevalent presenting issue was suicidal ideation followed by deliberate self-harm and depression. A comparison of admission and discharge outcome scores shows significant improvement by discharge on a range of measures. Specifically, analysis identified significant differences between admission and discharge HoNOSCA (Health of the Nation Outcomes Scales for Children and Adolescents) and CGAS (Children's Global Assessment Scale) scores for young people aged 12-17 and HONOS (Health of the Nation Outcomes Scale) scores for young people aged 18-24. Conclusion: The clinical outcomes for young people are positive with improvements seen on a range of measures.

DOI 10.1111/eip.12252
2015 Coates D, Howe D, 'Working with families who experience parental mental health and/or drug and alcohol problems in the context of child protection concerns: Recommendations for service improvement.', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 36 325-341 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/anzf.1113
2014 Coates DD, 'New Religious Movement Membership and the Importance of Stable 'Others' for the Making of Selves', JOURNAL OF RELIGION & HEALTH, 53 1300-1316 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s10943-013-9715-0
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2014 Coates D, Howe D, 'The importance and benefits of youth participation in mental health settings from the perspective of the headspace Gosford Youth Alliance in Australia', Children and Youth Services Review, 46 294-299 (2014) [C1]

© 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Objectives: Young people's participation in decision making that affects them is increasingly recognised and valued as a right. Youth participat... [more]

© 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Objectives: Young people's participation in decision making that affects them is increasingly recognised and valued as a right. Youth participation in mental health settings is fundamental to service design and delivery, and is beneficial for the young people as well as the organisation. Headspace recognises the many benefits of youth participation with its national and local youth participation initiatives. In 2013, headspace Gosford in Australia established its current youth participation model, called the Youth Alliance (YA), consisting of 12 young people. These young people contribute ideas and opinions around service design and delivery, and participate in a range of activities. Method: This paper presents the findings of a focus group conducted with the YA immediately following recruitment. All 12 young people participated in a two hour focus group which sought to identify the key reasons these young people joined the YA, and what they hope to achieve in their capacity of YA consultants. Results: The two main reasons participants joined the YA are to help 'overcome barriers to help seeking and ensure young people get the support they need' and 'to build confidence, social skills and make new friends'. The barriers to help seeking identified by the participants are consistent with those outlined in the literature. Conclusion: Youth participation in youth mental health settings is beneficial to young people as well as organisations and the community, and it is crucial that strategies are put in place to increase youth participation. The ways in which these young people perceive their participation as beneficial to themselves as well as the organisation and the community is the focus of this paper.

DOI 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.09.012
Citations Scopus - 1
2014 Howe D, Coates D, Batchelor S, 'Headspace Gosford data: The local application of a National model', Australasian Psychiatry, 22 374-377 (2014) [C1]

Objectives: Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems for young Australians, many do not have ready access to treatment or are reluctant to seek help. Until recently t... [more]

Objectives: Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems for young Australians, many do not have ready access to treatment or are reluctant to seek help. Until recently there was a tendency for young Australians to fall between the gap of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Adult Mental Health Services, and this has contributed to low rates of service use for young people. In 2006, the Australian Government sought to redress this gap in service delivery with its establishment of the Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace. This paper presents demographic data collected at headspace Gosford over a 5.5-year period. Conclusions: The data presented indicates that headspace Gosford has been successful in improving early access to mental health treatment for young people on the Central Coast, in particular for young people aged 14-18. Headspace Gosford has attracted young people of both sexes, with a higher proportion of females. The majority of young people access headspace for mental health problems, predominantly depression and anxiety; however, a significant proportion report physical health or alcohol and drug-related reasons. The likelihood of these referral reasons is informed by gender and age. © The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2014.

DOI 10.1177/1039856214540758
Citations Scopus - 1
2014 Coates DD, 'New religious movement membership and the importance of stable 'others' for the making of selves', Journal of religion and health, 53 1300-1316 (2014)

Challenging the view that people join New Religious Movements because they have fallen victim to powerful brainwashing techniques, the analysis of in-depth life history interviews... [more]

Challenging the view that people join New Religious Movements because they have fallen victim to powerful brainwashing techniques, the analysis of in-depth life history interviews of 23 former members from 11 different Australian 'cults' suggests that membership was personally negotiated and motivated by a desire for stronger social connections, albeit for different reasons. While for some participants, a desire for social connectedness was related to a strong need for guidance and direction from 'stable' others, for others it reflected a desire for self-change or self-enhancement. To make sense of the participant narratives, symbolic interactionist understandings of the self are applied.

DOI 10.1007/s10943-013-9715-0
Citations Scopus - 1
2014 Howe D, Batchelor S, Coates D, Cashman E, 'Nine key principles to guide youth mental health: development of service models in New South Wales', EARLY INTERVENTION IN PSYCHIATRY, 8 190-197 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/eip.12096
Citations Scopus - 1
2013 Coates D, 'The Effect of New Religious Movement Affiliation and Disaffiliation on Reflexivity and Sense of Self', JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION, 52 793-809 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/jssr.12069
2013 Coates DD, 'Disaffiliation from a New Religious Movement: The Importance of Self and¿Others in Exit', Symbolic Interaction, 36 314-334 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/symb.60
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2013 Coates D, 'Balancing Personal Autonomy and Social Connectedness: the Role of New Religious Movements or 'Cult' Membership from the Perspective of Former Members', Psychotherapy in Australia, 19 56-64 (2013) [C1]
2013 Coates DD, 'A symbolic interactionist understanding of the selves of former members of New Religious Movements', Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 16 1066-1079 (2013) [C1]

The current study investigates the construction of self in New Religious Movement (NRM) membership and argues that there is significant variation in the way in which members const... [more]

The current study investigates the construction of self in New Religious Movement (NRM) membership and argues that there is significant variation in the way in which members construct their sense of self. While the majority of the literature suggests that differences in the way in which former members describe and experience NRM membership can be attributed to gender and the nature of the group, analysis of the life histories of 23 former members identified variations in the way in which these participants construct their sense of self as significant to understanding NRM membership. While some participants describe selves that are high in conformity or social connectedness, and depict NRM membership as motivated by a need for guidance and direction, others describe selves that appear high in individuality and personal autonomy and depict membership as motivated by a desire to overcome isolation and develop social connectedness. Even though these two narratives are conceptualised as distinct, they are not viewed as dichotomous but understood as on a continuum. To make sense of the selves of the participants in this study symbolic interactionist understandings of the self as to varying degrees informed by both "self" and "others" are applied. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

DOI 10.1080/13674676.2012.737315
Citations Scopus - 1
2012 Coates D, ''Cult commitment' from the perspective of former members: Direct rewards of membership versus dependency inducing practices', Deviant Behavior, 33 168-184 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
2012 Coates D, ''I'm now far healthier and better able to manage the challenges of life': The mediating role of new religious movement membership and exit', Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 14 181-208 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 2
2012 Coates D, 'The significance and purpose of the 'anti-cult movement' in facilitating disaffiliation from a new religious movement: Resources for self-construction or a justificatory account', International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 3 213-244 (2012) [C1]
2011 Coates D, 'Counselling former members of charismatic groups: Considering pre-involvement variables, reasons for joining the group and corresponding values', Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 14 191-207 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/13674670903443404
Citations Scopus - 4
2010 Coates D, ''Best Practice' Guidelines for working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse', Counselling Australia, 10 3-12 (2010)
2010 Coates D, 'Post-involvement difficulties experienced by former members of charismatic groups', Journal of Religion and Health, 49 296-310 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s10943-009-9251-0
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 2
2010 Coates D, 'Impact of childhood abuse: Biopsychosocial pathways through which adult mental health is compromised', Australian Social Work, 63 391-403 (2010) [C1]

The relationship between childhood abuse and adult mental and physical health problems is well documented. Over the lifespan of victims of child abuse, social, psychological and b... [more]

The relationship between childhood abuse and adult mental and physical health problems is well documented. Over the lifespan of victims of child abuse, social, psychological and biological consequences of abuse interact in complex ways. A biopsychosocial model is applied to the experiences of adult victims of child abuse to make sense of the complex and varied impacts of child abuse. The long-term difficulties experienced by adult victims of child abuse are discussed in relation to the neurobiological impacts of child abuse on the child's developing brain. The impact of child abuse on neuro-endocrine functioning and the structure of the brain, in particular on the amygdala, hippocampus, left hemisphere, and corpus callosum are explored. A number of implications for social work practice are outlined. © 2010 Australian Association of Social Workers.

DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2010.508533
Citations Scopus - 9
2010 Coates D, 'Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse: a Review of Existing Treatment Models', Psychotherapy in Australia, 17 12-21 (2010) [C1]
2009 Coates D, 'Former members of charismatic groups: Modalities of adjustment', Psychotherapy in Australia, 16 24-31 (2009) [C1]
2007 Kennedy DJ, Coates D, 'Retirement Village Resident Satisfaction in Australia: A Qualitative Enquiry', Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 22 311-334 (2007) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02763890802458403
Show 24 more journal articles

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2007 Kennedy D, Coates D, 'Costumer satisfaction in senior living resorts: A qualitative investigation' (2007) [E1]
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Dr Dominiek Coates

Position

Conjoint Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email dominiek.coates@newcastle.edu.au
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