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Dr Cheyann Heap

Research Associate

BSc (York) DClinPsy (Hull)

Current student on MA in Applied Human Rights


Areas of expertise

  • Clinical psychology and mental health
  • Dementia (personhood and positive approaches)
  • Charity, international development and volunteering
  • Learning Disability
  • LGBT+

Academic biography

I am a clinical psychologist working as a research associate on the SCENE project. SCENE examines the impact of building community networks on the quality of life of people with psychosis. The project matches my interest in contextual and psychosocial understandings of distress (which includes social-materialist, attachment-based, and constructionist approaches, alongside cognitive-behavioural theory). I also have a keen interest in teaching and training others to deliver psychologically-informed interventions.

My doctoral thesis focused on how a communication technique called Intensive Interaction can facilitate humanising discourses of people with dementia. I remain passionate about dementia care, especially relationships and positive approaches. I have an additional interest researching LGBT+, and I have presented within the NHS about LGBT+ ageing, and LGBT+ mental health more generally. I previously worked as an Applied Psychologist in an NHS Learning Disability Team, and currently I provide sessional work as an independent psychologist.

I have a broad interest in improving social circumstances, empowering societally ‘disadvantaged’ groups, and wellbeing. I have also undertaken volunteering and research projects in international development (Romania, Bolivia and Cambodia). Building on these interests, alongside my Research Associate role I am taking a Masters in Applied Human Rights at the University of York.


Recent publications

Heap, C., Trigeorgis, C., Garzonis, K., Tribe, R., Mighetto , I & Vos, J. (2019). Austerity crisis. In Vos, J., Roberts, R., & Davies, J. (Eds.). Mental health in crisis (pp.16-30). London: SAGE Publications.

Heap, C. J., & Wolverson, E. (2018). Intensive Interaction and discourses of personhood: A focus group study with dementia caregivers. Dementia, 1471301218814389.

Heap, C. J. (2016). Physical touch as a pathway to personhood in dementia care (Doctoral dissertation, University of Hull).

Conference presentations

Heap. C. (2018, March). Reflections on being a newly qualified clinical psychologist in 2018. Presented at British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology Yorkshire and Humber Branch AGM, York, UK.

Heap. C., and Bright, B. (2019, January). Identities of clinical psychologists across the 'lifespan': positioning ourselves in 2019. Presented at British Psychological Annual Conference, Manchester, UK.


Research interests

Clinical psychology, dementia, mental health and wellbeing, LGBT+, social inclusion, human rights, asylum seekers and refugees, learning disability, psychosocial approaches, community psychology, international development, volunteering, participatory action research, qualitative and discourse approaches.

Cheyann is not currently taking on PhD students for supervision.

Research team members

SCENE Project:

  • Martin Webber
  • Kayonda Hubert Ngamaba
  • Beth Casey

Visit the SCENE project web page for more information.

Professional activities

Professional activities

School for Business and Society, Social Policy and Social Work Ethics Committee Member




Contact details

Dr Cheyann Heap
Research Associate
School for Business and Society

Tel: +44 (0)1904 321975