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Dr Dominiek Coates

Conjoint Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science

Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise

Dr Dominiek Coates has research experience in the area of new religious movements and 'cults', identity construction, mental health, child abuse and trauma, and retirement living.

She is a Conjoint Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, and also works as a researcher for Central Coast Local Health District, Mental Health. Current research interests include young people’s mental health, the impact of child abuse and trauma, staff burnout, mental health service design, development and evaluation.

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.

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.

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.



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

CodeDescriptionPercentage
111799Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified50
160807Sociological Methodology and Research Methods25
160899Sociology not elsewhere classified25

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
2/02/2014 - 20/07/2014Casual AcademicUniversity of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia
23/07/2013 - 20/12/2013Casual AcademicUniversity of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia
17/07/2012 - 21/12/2012Casual LecturerUniversity of Newcastle
English Language and Foundation Studies Centre
Australia

Awards

Recognition

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

Invitations

Speaker

YearTitle / Rationale
2014Balancing 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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2013Coates 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]
DOI10.1108/S0163-2396(2013)0000040015Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 2
2013Coates 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]
DOI10.1108/S0278-1204(2013)0000031008

Journal article (20 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2015Howe 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 Interv Psychiatry, (2015)
DOI10.1111/eip.12252Author URL
2014Coates 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.', Adm Policy Ment Health, (2014)
DOI10.1007/s10488-014-0599-4Author URL
2014Coates 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]
DOI10.1007/s10943-013-9715-0Author URL
CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2014Coates 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]

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 fu... [more]

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.

DOI10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.09.012
2014Howe 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.

DOI10.1177/1039856214540758
2014Howe 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]
DOI10.1111/eip.12096Author URL
2013Coates 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]
DOI10.1111/jssr.12069Author URL
2013Coates DD, 'Disaffiliation from a New Religious Movement: The Importance of Self and¿Others in Exit', Symbolic Interaction, 36 314-334 (2013) [C1]
DOI10.1002/symb.60
2013Coates 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]
2013Coates 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.

DOI10.1080/13674676.2012.737315
CitationsScopus - 1
2012Coates D, ''Cult commitment' from the perspective of former members: Direct rewards of membership versus dependency inducing practices', Deviant Behavior, 33 168-184 (2012) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 3Web of Science - 2
2012Coates 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]
CitationsScopus - 1
2012Coates 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]
2011Coates 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]
DOI10.1080/13674670903443404
CitationsScopus - 4
2010Coates D, ''Best Practice' Guidelines for working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse', Counselling Australia, 10 3-12 (2010)
2010Coates D, 'Post-involvement difficulties experienced by former members of charismatic groups', Journal of Religion and Health, 49 296-310 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s10943-009-9251-0
CitationsScopus - 5Web of Science - 2
2010Coates 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.

DOI10.1080/0312407X.2010.508533
CitationsScopus - 7
2010Coates D, 'Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse: a Review of Existing Treatment Models', Psychotherapy in Australia, 17 12-21 (2010) [C1]
2009Coates D, 'Former members of charismatic groups: Modalities of adjustment', Psychotherapy in Australia, 16 24-31 (2009) [C1]
2007Kennedy DJ, Coates D, 'Retirement Village Resident Satisfaction in Australia: A Qualitative Enquiry', Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 22 311-334 (2007) [C1]
DOI10.1080/02763890802458403
Show 17 more journal articles

Conference (1 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2007Kennedy 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

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