Personal profile


Joint Director, Manchester Centre for Health Psychology (2021 to date)

Co-Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Research Unit (EDI-RU) GMH (2021 to date)

Lead for Greater Manchester qualitative and health psychology stream of the NorthWest NIHR Research Design Service

Editorial board memberships

  • British Journal of Psychiatry
  • Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
  • British Journal of Health Psychology
  • BMC Family Practice
  • BMC Psychology

External Examiner: MSc Health Psychology, St Andrews

Past Academic lead for Postgraduate Researcher Experience (Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health) (2016-2021)

Past Chair of Training and Education committee for Division of Health Psychology, BPS (2009-2013)

Research interests

My research focuses on healthcare communication, particularly within challenging contexts, such as medically unexplained symptoms, unhealthy behaviours and suicide. The goal of my work is to improve patient care and a key aspect is how to equip health professionals to communicate more effectively with patients, relatives and colleagues.

I use a range of methods but specialise in how to integrate qualitative methods within randomised controlled trials to examine mechanisms of action, acceptability, feasibility and implementation of psychological and educational interventions.

Current Doctoral Students

Robert Nirsimloo - Creating therapeutic alliance within online therapy.

Sanaa Hyder - Navitaging cultural differences in Primary care consultations (Presidents Doctoral Scholar)

Hannah Talbot - Language of the 'Teachable Moments' in midwifery (MRC funded)

Lucy Hulme - Behaviour change conversations during postnatal clinical encounters (funded by the University of Manchester)

Lauren Lucas - Therapeutic alliance in the context of community stroke services (Funded by Stroke Association)

Danielle Mountain - Pain experience of children and young people with musculoskeletal conditions (Funded by the Pain Relief Foundation)

Chantelle Ecob - Experiences of people with eating disorders during the perintal period

Olivia Sonola-Jones. Talking about pain and distress in paediatric pain consultations

Kerry Hozhabrafkan - Developing guidelines for safe and acceptable research into suicide experiences (funded by Mental Health Research UK)

Dalil  Alshammari - Facilitating dentist-parent communication to prevent oral health problems in children


Completed Doctoral Students

I have supervised 30 students to completion. Examples include: 

Tarnjit Sidhu - Impact of dyadic communication on the illness experience of people with CFS/ME (Funded by MRC) (awarded 2024)

Natalie Berry - Mechanisms for managing suicide thoughts and behaviours in the context of psychosis (awarded 2023)

Charlotte Huggett - Communication practices to develop therapeutic alliance during suicide-focused psychotherapy (awarded 2023)

Maha AlSubhi - Development and trajectory of obesity-related health behaviours in the context of refugee populations  (awarded 2023)

Lauren Rockcliffe - Developing a theoretical understanding of the concept of 'Teachable Moments' in the context of pregnancy (awarded 2022, MRC-funded)

Rebecca Goulding - Supporting more effective communication in primary care for older people with multi-morbidity (awarded 2022, NIHR funded)

Lisa O'Brien - The impact of gastrointestinal dysmotility disorders on relationships (awarded 2021)

Kamelia Harris - Resiliance in psychosis. (awarded 2021, funded by Mental Health Research UK)

Stephanie Lyons - Theory-informed support for people with a BMI>30 to breastfeed (awarded 2020, ESRC funded)

Nia Coupe - Weight management in people from economically deprieved settings (awarded 2020, NIHR-CLHARC funded)

Verity Longley - The role of dementia in accessing stroke rehabilitation (awarded 2018, NIHR-CLHARC funded)

Donna Littlewood - The role of sleep in suicidal thoughts/behaviours (awarded 2018, MRC funded)

Katherine Twist - Patients experience of dysmotility disorders (awarded 2017)

Anne Dewhurst - Behaviour change talk about weight mangement in routine primary care consultations (awarded 2017, MRC funded)

Caroline Clements - Multi-methods investigation of suicide in bipolar disorder (awarded 2016)

Samantha Tucker - Clinical communication challenges for men following prostate cancer treatment (awarded 2015)

Anna Chisholm - Training medical students in obesity management (awarded 2013, UoM funded)

Joanna Goldthorpe - Development and evaluation of a cognitive behavioural intervention for chronic oro-facial pain (awarded 2012, NIHR funded)



  • BSc (Hons) Psychology
    • PSYC 21032 Interventions to improve mental health and wellbeing
    • PSYC 31232 Communication in Healthcare (unit lead)
  • MSc Clinical and Health Psychology and MSc Health Psychology (stage 1 accredited)
    • PSYC 60852 Illness and Healthcare (unit lead)
    • PSYC 69841 Professional Issues
    • PSYC 60001 Research Methods 1
  • MRes
    • PSYC 60090 Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Registered Health Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council
  • Chartered Psychologist
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Full member of Division of Health Psychology
  • Member of Qualitative Methods in Psychology section of British Psychological Society
  • Member of Europen Association of Communication in Healthcare
  • Member of European Health Psychology Society
  • Member of UK Society of Behavioural Medicine
  • Member of the American Psychosomatic Society

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 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Healthier Futures


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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