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Richard Brown, BSc (Hons), PhD, ClinPsyD, CPsychol, SFHEA

Prof

Personal profile

Overview

I am Professor of Clinical Psychology and Head of the Division of Psychology and Mental Health in the School of Health Sciences. I was the Programme Director for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (ClinPsyD) from 2011-2023. I still teach and supervise research projects on the ClinPsyD. Alongside my training and leadership roles, I conduct research and supervise PhD students. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In the remainder of my time I run the Functional Neurological Disorders (FuND) clinic, in my role as honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist within the Psychotherapy team at Gaskell House, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The FuND clinic offers Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy and PIT-informed treatments for people with functional (i.e. 'medically unexplained') neurological symptom disorders. 

Biography

I developed research interests in consciousness, volition and executive function during my first degree at UCL and extended these interests during an MRC funded PhD focusing on the cognitive mechanisms of hypnosis and suggestion. I applied my knowledge in these areas during a three-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, investigating dissociation, trauma, suggestibility and illness cognition in patients with somatization disorder and functional seizures. I have continued to conduct research on somatization and dissociation since this time, with a particular emphasis on functional neurological symptoms.

I completed the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (ClinPsyD) at Manchester in 2004 and joined the School of Psychological Sciences as a lecturer in October of that year. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008 when I took on the role of Academic Director for the ClinPsyD. I was made Programme Director for the ClinPsyD in September 2011 and Professor of Clinical Psychology in 2021. I became Head of Division in 2022 and stood down as ClinPsyD programme director in 2023. 

A major focus for my teaching is Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT). I use PIT clinically (alongside other approaches) and am involved in research on the effectiveness of this form of psychological treatment. I am a founding member of the PIT Special Interest Group UK and of the international Functional Neurological Disorder Society (FNDS). I sit on the Education Committee of the FNDS.

I won the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology May Davidson Lecture Award in 2012, a major research prize "for clinical psychologists who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of clinical psychology within 10 years of qualifying as a clinical psychologist", for my work on dissociation and functional symptoms.

Research interests

Overview

My primary research interests are in functional ("medically unexplained") symptoms, particularly functional neurological disorders. My main focus is the psychological mechanisms of somatization and dissociation, as well as the development and assessment of treatment techniques in this area. Much of my work has been on developing and evaluating the Integrative Cognitive Model (ICM) of medically unexplained symptoms, which seeks to integrate cognitive, psychodynamic and dissociation theories within a single explanatory framework grounded in basic cognitive theory. Our group is currently developing both cognitive and psychodynamic interpersonal therapy (PIT) interventions for functional symptoms based on this model. We have also been conducting research on basic perceptual processes, particularly those involved in tactile attention and somatic signal detection.

Teaching

I teach the following lectures/workshops on the ClinPsyD:

  • Introduction to Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT)
  • PIT skills as an adjunct to CBT and other therapies (Year 1)
  • PIT intervention skills workshop (Year 1)
  • PIT formulation skills workshop (Year 1)
  • The persecutory therapist and PIT (Year 1)
  • Functional symptoms and persistent physical symptom reporting (Year 2)
  • Dissociation (Year 3)

 

My collaborations

Collaborators

  • Dr Ellen Poliakoff (University of Manchester)
  • Dr Karen Lander (University of Manchester)
  • Prof Markus Reuber (University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Chris Brown (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Susannah Pick (IOPPN, King's College London)
  • Dr Abhijit Das (Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (recognition reference PR111702)

Registered Clinical Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (registration number PYL03024)

Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychological Society

Member of the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology, British Psychological Society

Member of the Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy Special Interest Group UK

Member of the United Kingdom Functional Neurological Symptoms group

Qualifications

  • B.Sc (Hons) Psychology, University College London, 1995
  • Ph.D Psychology, University College London, 1999
  • Clin.Psy.D, University of Manchester, 2004

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

1 Jun 2014 → …

Honorary Clinical Psychologist, Manchester Mental Health & Social Care NHS Trust

1 Nov 200430 May 2014

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