Dr. Panagiotis Pentaris

Dr Panagiotis Pentaris is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Social Work and Counselling at the University of Greenwich.

Panagiotis is licensed in Social Work and Psychotherapy in the US, licensed to practice clinical social work in Greece, and Qualified in Social Work in the UK. He has conducted direct and clinical social work in the field of thanatology, notably with dying children and adults, and bereaved individuals. His professional practice varies, but is centred around death, dying and bereavement issues. Panagiotis has practiced internationally, including the US, the UK, Uganda and Greece. Positions held include hospice social worker, independent bereavement therapist, and social policy consultant regarding end of life strategies and palliative and hospice care guidance.

Panagiotis's teaching areas include social work theories, social theories, social work practice, loss and grief, change and transition, dying and professionalism, bereavement support, working with endings, religious literacy for social workers, religious literacy in end of life care, migration and social work, social work assessment, and critical and reflective practice.

Panagiotis is Course Leader and Instructor for courses in the BA (Hons) Social Work and MA Social Work here at the University of Greenwich.

In his spare time Panagiotis is an active Death Café's practitioner and facilitates meetings in London, Honolulu, Hawaii, and in Chania and Crete-Greece. This is a safe place where members of the public can gather to discuss issues surrounding death.

Previously Held Positions
  • 2015-2016, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work & Integrated Care, Buckinghamshire New University 
  • 2014-2016, Lecturer, Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • 2013-2014, Research Officer, Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • 2012-2013, Research Assistant, Faiths & Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Admissions Leader (Social Work)
  • Course Lead for Policy, Politics and Change (Level 7)
  • PhD supervision (thanatology; death studies; religion and belief; integrated care; social theories; altruism; hospice and palliative care; social work)
  • Course Leader for Introduction to Social Work Theory and Practice (Level 4), Social Theories for Professional Practice (Level 7), and Introduction for Diversity, Ethics and Values for Social Work (Level 4). 
  • Joint Instructor for Managing Complexity in Social Work Practice with Adults and Children and Families (Level 7), and Managing Risk and Complexity in Social Work (Level 6)
  • Communications Week Coordinator
  • Providing tutorials to students across all levels
  • Supervising BA and MA dissertations in Social Work 
  • Research activities.

External Examiner appointments:

  • 2016-Present: Subject and Award External Examiner, Department of Social Work, Plymouth University
  • 2016-Present: Subject and Award External Examiner, Department of Social Work, Gloucester University 

Professional Body/Membership:

  • Fellow, Higher Academy Education
  • HCPC Registered Social Worker 
  • Dying Matters Coalition
  • International Observatory in End of Life Care (IOELC) – Lancaster University 
  • British Association of Social Workers [BASW]
  • BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group 
  • Religion & Public Institutions Research Network 
  • National End of Life Care Intelligence Network
  • End of Life Care Facilitators and Champions Network 
  • BSA Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group
  • International Federation of Social Workers [IFSW]
  • Hellenic Association of Social Workers [SKLE] 


  • Associate Editor for NOMOS Journal
  • Editorial Board for Youth Voice Journal, Issues in Social Science
  • Journal Peer-Reviewer: British Journal of Social Work, OMEGA, Death Studies, Culture & Society: Journal of Social Sciences, International Journal of Social Sciences, Issues in Social Science, Mortality, Youth Voice Journal, European Journal of Social Work, International Journal for Human Rights in Healthcare, Person-Centered and Psychotherapeutic Perspectives, Journal of Social Research and Policy

Board Membership: 

  • IARS International Institute, Registered Charity: Trustee Member 
  • International Peace Centre Africa: Trustee Member and Country ConsultantFaithXchange Research Network: Co-founder and Co-Lead
  • Association for the Study of Death and Society, elected General Council Member

Panagiotis's research interests are focused on the areas of death, dying and bereavement (thanatology/ death studies), and their intersection with religion and belief. 

Regarding death studies, he is interested in two distinct areas; first, the conceptualization of the experiences of death and dying in different contexts, and how socio-political and cultural traits inform private experiences, inclusive of the impact of the digital age. The second area is concerned with professional practice in end of life care, and death and health policies. In that, his interest expands on hospice social work and models of direct social work. 

One of his most recent studies explored religious literacy in end of life care, and was, in particular, concerned with the challenges and controversies that healthcare professionals face when working with service users who are religious or have strong feelings of faith, whatever that may be. Dr. Pentaris is currently completing a study about Social Workers and how religion, belief and spiritual identities are embedded characteristics in their professional practice. He is also currently completing a study that explores Hospice Social Workers' engagement with interprofessional and inter-agency working. 

Panagiotis has presented his research worldwide while giving invited talks and consultation about end of life care in Eastern European countries since 2013. He is currently supervising BA and MA research projects. Panagiotis is also the co-founder and co-lead of the FathXchange Research Network, an initiative that enables an interactive dialogue amongst disciplines and methodologies about the role of religion and belief in the public sphere. The network is international and has initiated a series of annual conferences in London since 2014.

Funded research projects

  • 2013-2016. European Return Fund and Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Education. Project title: Religious Literacy in End of Life Care.
  • 2015. Sean's House Hospice Support & Stantander Bank Co. Project title: Accessibility and acceptability of Children's Hospice Care. 
  • 2015. Sir Halley Stewart Trust, Enabling Innovation Fund. Project title: Interfaith dialogue about religion and belief.
  • 2014. Big Lottery Fund. Project title: The impact of Art Therapy Large Group in education and practice. 
  • 2014-2015. Goldsmiths, University of London. Project title: FaithXchange Research Network.
  • 2011. Atherton Family Foundation. Project title: The CHOW Project to prevent HIV/AIDS and other Blood-Borne diseases.

Special Issue: Negotiating Belief in Health and Social Care, in International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare. Guest editor: Dr Panagiotis Pentaris. Published in Spring 2018.

Special Issue: Religion and Belief in the Public Sphere of Eastern Europe, in Culture and Society: Journal of Social Research. Guest editors: Dr Panagiotis Pentaris & Dr Milda Alisauskiene. Published in December 2017. 

Pentaris, P., Papadatou, D., Jones, A. & Hosang, G. (2018). Professionals' perceptions on barriers and challenges when accessing children's hospice and palliative care services in the South East London: A preliminary study. Death Studies, forthcoming.(first author).

Pentaris, P. & Alisauskiene, M. (2018). Religion and belief in Eastern Europe: An introduction. Culture and Society: Journal of Social Research, 9(2).

Pentaris, P. (2018). The marginalization of religion in End of Life Care: signs of microaggression? International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, 11(1).

Pentaris, P. (2017). The cultural context of dying: Hawai`ian death conceptions and the gender divide. Acta Sociologica, 73.

Pentaris, P. (2017). Religion and belief in social work practice: a model of integration. Κοινωνική Εργασία [Social Work], 25(4), 54-75.  

Lazaridou, A. and Pentaris, P. 2016. Mindfulness and Spirituality: Therapeutic Perspectives. Person-centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 15(3): 235-244. 

Jones, K., Skaife, S. and Pentaris, P. 2016. The Impact of the Art Therapy Large Group, an Educational Tool in the Training of Art Therapists, on Post-qualification Professional Practice. International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape, 21(1): 23-34. 

Pentaris, P. and Yerosimou, M. 2015. The role of background music in the experience of watching YouTube videos about death and dying. Journal of Education, Culture and Society, 6(2): 305-319. 

Pentaris, P. 2014. Memorial Video Tributes and the enfranchised Grief of a Gay Widower. Thanatos, 3(2) 1-14.

Pentaris, P. 2014. Religion, Secularism, and Professional Practice. STUDIA Sociologica, 2014(1): 99-109. 

Pentaris, P. and Yerosimou, M. 2014. Communicating Death via YouTube: The Functional Role of Music. Journal of Education, Culture and Society, 5(2): 206-217. 

Pentaris, P. 2013. A kultúra és a halál társadalmi valósága: az afganisztáni tapasztalat [Culture and the Social Reality of Death: the Afghani Experience]. Kharon Thanatological Review, 17(3): 13-27. 

Pentaris, P. 2013. Health Care Practitioners and Dying Patients: Challenges in a Secular Society. Journal of Education, Culture and Society, 4(1): 38-47.

Pentaris, P. 2012. Religious Competence in Social Work Practice: The UK Picture. Social Work & Society, 10(2): 1-4. 

Pentaris, P. Death in the Modern Greek Culture. Hawaii Pacific Journal of Social Work Practice, 5(1): 126-131. 

Pentaris, P. 2011. Culture and Death: A Multicultural Perspective. Hawaii Pacific Journal of Social Work Practice, 4(1): 45-84.

Book Sections

Pentaris, P. 2016. Culture and the Social Reality of Death: An Afghan Case Study. In Małecka, K. and Gibbs, R. (eds). And Death shall have Dominion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dying, Caregivers, Death, Mourning and the Bereaved. Oxford, UK: Interdisciplinary Press.

2018    Religion, Belief and Spirituality in Healthcare. In the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Health Social Work. Gehlert, S. & Browne, T. (Eds.), New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Browse our publications database


The death of children and religion, London, UK

Unpacking religious identity in End of Life Care, Dublin, Ireland

Exploring conceptions of death in belief, Centre for Spiritual Growth, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Kashmir, India

Death and Religion, University of Tokyo, Japan

Dying, University of Mumbai, India

Spirituality and Mindfulness: Therapy, at the International Conference of Psychology and Spirituality, Bangkok, Thailand 

Pentaris, P. 2016. 'Religious dying and secular social work practice in hospice care', paper presented to the Death, Dying and Social Work Conference, Sussex, England, September 2016.

Pentaris, P. 2016. 'Constructing End of Life Care: Is religion a problem or a solution?', paper presented to the Sociology of Religion 2016 Conference, Leicester, England, July 2016. 

Pentaris, P. 2016, 'Religious Literacy in End of Life Care', paper presented to the Association for Death Education and Counselling Conference 2016, Minneapolis, MN, April 2016. 

Pentaris, P. 2016. 'Direct Social Work with Children', paper presented to the Symposium on Clinical Social Work, Athens, Greece, April 2016. 

Pentaris, P. 2015. 'Loss and Grievance', paper presented to the Hawai`i Pacific University Seminar Series, Honolulu, HI, November 2015. 

Pentaris, P. 2015. 'Before, during and after the cemetery', paper presented to the 3rd International Scientific Conference of the Lithuanian Society for the Study of Religion, Vilnius, Lithuania, September 2015. 

Pentaris, P. and Yerosimou, M. 2015. 'Functional role of music when communicating death', paper presented to the Education, Culture and Society International Conference, Institute of Pedagogy, Wroclaw, Poland, September 2015. 

Pentaris, P. 2015. 'Religious Dying vs. Secular Institutions', paper presented to the Dead, Dying and Disposal 12 International Conference, 18 Decembre University, Alba Iulia, Romania, September 2015. 

Pentaris, P. 2015. 'The marginalization of religion and belief in death policies in the UK', paper presented to the Centre for Death and Society 2015 Conference, Bath, University of Bath, June 2015. 

Pentaris, P. 2015. 'Researching Death', paper presented to the Goldsmiths Seminar Series 2014-2015, London, UK, March 2015. 

Pentaris, P. 2014. 'Integrated/Palliative care: Inclusiveness', paper presented to the Hospice & Palliative Care Seminar, Cambridge, England, November 2014. 

Pentaris, P. and Yerosimou, M. 2014. 'Communicating Death via YouTube Videos: The Functional Role of Music', paper presented to the 2nd International Symposium of Education and Social Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland, September 2014. 

Pentaris, P. and Stacey, T. 2014. 'From Religious Death to Religious Health', paper presented to the ESA Sociology of Religion Meeting 2014, Belfast, UK, June 2014.

Browse our publications database