I am a clinician working with people with psychosis and I specialise in the treatment of paranoia, and visual hallucinations. I undertake research to improve our understanding of and treatments for these distressing experiences, and am involved in supervision of research projects as well as involved in large treatment studies. I am an experienced trainer and supervisor of other clinicians. I manage and lead clinical services and have had leadership roles in academic settings as well.
I studied at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as an undergraduate then went to Durham for my PhD which was on the psychology of delusional beliefs. I then completed my Doctorate of Clinical Psychology training at Newcastle and completed further training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Since qualifying as a clinician I have worked in the NHS offering psychological therapies for people with depression and anxiety but my work has mainly focussed on the understanding and treatment of psychosis. I have worked in an Early Intervention in Psychosis service since 2005. During this time I have also worked at Newcastle University part time as a research tutor on the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology course and was the Degree Programme Director for a number of years as well. I have been involved in a number of treatment trials evaluating the value of talking treatments for psychosis.
Since May 2022 I have taken up the role of Professor of Mental Health and work two days a week for York and three days a week in the NHS for CNTW NHS Foundation Trust where I work in the EIP service and have a Trust wide role for the provision of psychological therapies for psychosis.
My research interests stem from and inform my work as a psychological therapist. I am a clinician in an Early Intervention in Psychosis service in the NHS. In this role I work with people who have suffered distressing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusional beliefs. The task I have as a clinician is to work collaboratively with a person to make sense of how and why they experienced the problems they had, how they can manage any persisting difficulties, and what will help keep them well in the future. Consequently, as a researcher I am interested in improving our understanding of the processes that lead a person to experience distressing psychotic symptoms like voices, or visual hallucinations. This research shapes and refines the models we draw on to help understand the development and maintenance of the distressing symptoms. This process of drawing on an empirically supported model and marrying it to the unique experience of the person is called formulation. This formulation aids the process of selecting the optimal interventions that helps alleviates a person’s distress and helps them remain well. Hence, I have two main areas of research interest which cover a) psychological processes in hallucinations and delusions, and b) formulation in cognitive behavioural therapy.