Photo of Ruxandra Mihaela Gheorghe

Ruxandra Mihaela Gheorghe

PhD Student


MSW (Carleton University)

MA International Migration and Human Rights Law (Brussels School of International Studies)

BSocSc Hons. Conflict Studies and Human Rights, Minor in Criminology (University of Ottawa)

About Me:

Initially, I had rose-coloured dreams of becoming a lawyer and fighting human trafficking in my home country, Romania. As I completed my MA in International Migration and Human Rights Law, I worked with various asylum seekers and human trafficking survivors across Europe. While anti-human trafficking laws were present, I found them very reactive and distanced from the ground. I noticed that the underlying commonalities among most human trafficking survivors were largely structural rather than legal: poverty, mental health, education, employment, discrimination, and countless other socio-structural issues. This realization paved the way to social work practice and research. With great privilege, I find myself continuing this work dually through my clinical practice as a social worker and my doctoral studies at Carleton University.

Apart from academia, I enjoy reading (non-scholarly materials), playing video games, and attending DIY music scenes.

Why I chose Carleton University:

As I completed my MSW at Carleton University, I received a tremendous amount of support, guidance and opportunity. This support has been key for my continued studies at Carleton.

To add, the only social work simulation lab in North America, the SIM Social Work Research Lab, is located at Carleton University. Simulation-based research and education are central to my academic interests. I chose Carleton to continue pursuing these interests as the Lab Manager and Research Assistant at the SIM Social Work Research Lab.

Finally, the heart of Carleton University’s School of Social Work has a structural social justice focus. I chose Carleton to pursue my doctoral studies because this lens is crucial to my values.

My Research:

I am primarily interested in the therapeutic interplay between female therapists and incel clients. Dually motivated by my role as a female clinician and my experience with interpersonal violence from incel males, my research asks: How do female-identifying therapists conceptualize and navigate therapy sessions when working with clients that overtly express sexist and misogynistic comments and subscribe to incel communities? My proposed research hopes to focus on the following pillars: gender-based countertransference, empathy, resistance, and safety and boundaries around sexism.

Research Interests:

Mental health and direct practice; Simulation-based research and education in social work; LGBTQI2S youth; (Im)migration and asylum; Anti-human trafficking; Social justice and critical perspectives; Care work and mutual aid.