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Anja Wittkowski, BSc (Hons), MPhil, Clin Psy D


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Personal profile


Within the Univeresity I work as a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the School of Psychological Sciences. As Deputy Research Director and Research Methods Module Organiser I support the academic components of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme. This role involves a) contributing to postgraduate teaching (Clin Psy D), particularly in relation to research methods, acting as academic advisor to trainees, attending a range of committees, marking case reports and acting as internal examiner. In addition, I regulalry supervise Clin Psy D and Masters research projects. My research interests broadly centre around perinatal clinical psychology, including psychological and parenting interventions to improve maternal distress, enhance the mother-infant-relationship and bond and modify family risk factors. I am a co-applicant on the NIHR PHR funded research project THRIVE (2013-2018), which compares Enhanced Baby Triple P and Mellow Bumps against Treatment as Usual. I am also leading on the UK International Parenting Survey.

My research interests are closely alligned to my work as a Clinical Psychologist on an inpatient psychiatric Mother and Baby Unit (Andersen Ward) at Laureate House in Wythenshawe Hospital, South Manchester. 

I have been a committee member for the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP): Faculty of Perinatal Psychology since its inception and am now also the Co-Chair of the DCP Conference Organsing Committee.

Research interests

My research interests centre around the study of perinatal clinical psychology including the assessment and psychological treatment of antenatal and postpartum psychological difficulties, the assessment of the mother-infant bond and the impact of mental health difficulties (in particular depressive and psychotic illnesses) on this relationship. I am also particularly interested in the influence of maternal attitudes and expectations on maternal sensitivity and responsiveness towards her infant. My study on ‘Perceptions of bonding, maternal sensitivity and mentalising ability in mothers with serious mental health difficulties and in mothers with no psychiatric difficulties (MIRAM study)’ has now finished recruitment, while my study on ‘Parenting Approaching: A comparison of Baby Triple P Positive Parenting Programme versus Baby Massage on the Manchester Mother and Baby Unit is still ongoing’.

The evaluation of psychological and parenting interventions for parents with mild to severe mental health problems remains one of my main research foci as evidenced by my current projects including the THRIVE trial. I am the Manchester lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) THRIVE trial and the only clinical psychologist and researcher with expertise and experience in the perinatal field and the application of Baby Triple P in a mental health context. I will oversee the assessment of the mother-infant-relationship, which includes the management and supervision of two Research Assistants, based at the University of Manchester.

In addition, the best assessment of and (cost-) effective intervention for the adjustment to parenthood is being pursued through my involvement with the Beyond Blue research project, led by Professor David Kavanagh from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The trial materials and online applications can easily be transferred into other English-speaking contexts once developed. Current research with commercial partners will also highlight aspects of the adjustment process and indicate effective approaches increasing parental confidence and well-being.

Finally, in collaboration with Kerri McPherson from the Glasgow Caledonian University I am leading on the UK version of the International Parenting Survey (IPS).


Since taking up my current post, I have been contributing to teaching on the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (Clin Psy D) Programme, presenting lectures on different topics, of differing lengths and using a range of learning styles and teaching methods (e.g., didactic, problem-based and experiential learning). For example, between October 2001 and February 2010, I was module organiser of the Understanding and Working with Diversity module for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate curriculum.

In March 2010, I became module organiser for the Research Methods Module, and as such oversaw the recent reorganisation of this module. I provide one third of the teaching sessions to postgraduate students in relation to this module.

I gained membership of the Institute of Learning and Teaching, the University of Manchester, shortly after taking up my post.

My collaborations

* Professor Rachel Calam, University of Manchester

* Professor Adrian Wells, University of Manchester

* Dr Sarah Peters, Univeristy of Manchester

* Dr Debbie Smith, University of Manchester

* Dr Dougal J Hare, Cardiff University

* Professor Matt Sanders, University of Queensland

* Professor David Kavanagh, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

* Dr Marion Henderson, University of Glasgow

* Dr Kerri McPherson, Caledonian University of Glasgow

* Dr Alexander Heazell, University of Manchester

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Registered Clinical Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council
  • Clinical Psychologist and Member for the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Member of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) including the Faculty of Perinatal Psychology
  • Member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
  • Member of the World Association of Infant Mental Health (WAIMH)
  • Member of the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme Network including the Research Network
  • Accredited in Standard Triple P, trained in Enhanced Triple P and Baby Triple P
  • Member of the Society of Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP)
  • Member of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (IASA)

I am also a member of the Clinical and Health Research Group and the Parenting and Families Research Group within the School of Psychological Sciences and I am affiliated with the Centre for New Treatment and Understanding in Mental Health (CeNTrUM), within the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health.

Methodological knowledge

* Systematic reviews

* Questionnaire and survey design

* Mixed methods designs 

* RCTs

* Working knowledge of IPA, Grounded Theory, Thematic Analysis, Repertory Grid Technique, Q-metholody 


2001                Clinical Psychology Doctorate, The University of Manchester

2000                Master in Philosophy, Clinical Psychology, The University of Manchester

1996                Bachelor of Science, The University of Manchester, First Class Honours Degree

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Areas of expertise

  • BF Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


  • Clinical Psychology
  • Perinatal Clinical Psychology
  • Parenting
  • Maternal mental illness
  • Maternal mental health problems


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