Personal profile

Overview

I am a health service researcher and clinical psychologist specialising in the field of psychosis. I am section lead for the Centre for New Treatments and Understanding in Mental Health. I have over 25 years of experience in clinical research and my research has been key in highlighting the psychological and social causes of psychosis. This is important because less than a decade ago, it was widely accepted that psychosis was a purely biologically-driven mental health problem. My research has shown that problems in relationships with early caregivers (attachment relationships) and experiences of abuse can lead to more severe symptoms and more difficulties in engaging in treatments. Relatedly, I have used these findings to develop and evaluate more accessible psychological treatments for people with psychosis in both community and inpatient mental health settings. There is huge gap translational between evidence-based psychological therapies for psychosis and delivery of therapy in the NHS and my research has focused on overcoming this gap and barriers to delivery. I am co-director of the Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit (C-TRU) at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which has the strategic remit of bridging the gap between research and clinical practice by translating research findings into clinical settings and driving new innovations through grant income. I have an extensive and sustained track record of supervising postgraduate and undergraduate research projects related to my own programme of research and I continue to practise as a clinical psychologist in mental health services. 

Biography

After completing my PhD exploring the relevance of attachment theory in psychosis, I obtained an NIHR funded fellowship to develop and evaluate an intervention to improve staff-patient relationships in inpatient settings.  This fellowship was an important stepping stone in obtaining an NIHR programme grant to increase access to psycholgical therapy on acute mental health wards. I qualified as a clinical psychologist prior to starting my PhD and have continued to practice as a clinical psychologist alongside my research. 

Research interests

My main area of expertise is the psychological and socia influences on psychosis. I have carried out extensive research into the concept of 'attachment' in people with psychosis and in particular the relevance of attachment theory for therapeutic relationships and specific symptoms associated with psychosis including distressing voices and paranoia. I have developed and validated a self-report measure of attachment style to assess and detect attachment problems specifically for people with a diagnosis of psychosis. I have also studied attachment styles and their impact on therapeutic relationships in other types of mental health settings using self-report measures. More recently, I have developed interventions to improve staff and service user outcomes in mental health inpatient settings. In addition, to my main interests, I am interested in ageing in the context of psychosis. My work in this area so far has focused on how people learn to cope and adapt to symptoms over time and developing an evidence base for psychological treatments specifically targetting older people with psychosis.   

Teaching

MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

BSc in Psychology

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

British Psychological Society and Division of Clinical Psychology

British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 

Health Professions Council 

International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis

Qualifications

BSc in Psychology University of Sheffield

MSc In Applied Psychology University of Manchester

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology University of Manchester

PhD University of Manchester

 

Other research

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

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