The course has several research groups, which comprise course tutors with expertise and interests in these areas. They help to facilitate research collaborations both within the Institute and with clinicians and researchers in the Thames Valley region. In addition, these groups provide a guide for trainees when choosing their internal research supervisors for their research projects.
Severe mental health problems (SMHP)
Our research focuses on understanding the development and maintenance of severe mental health problems (SMHP), including psychosis, bipolar disorder, personality disorders and eating disorders, and on developing and evaluating psychosocial treatments for patients and their families. Our research spans the translational pathway, from understanding cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying specific symptoms, to implementing interventions within routine practice. We have interests in trauma, stigma and disclosure, early intervention, and social identity, and we work alongside people with lived experience at each stage of the research process.
Louise Johns (Group Lead)
Victoria Roberts (away Jan 2024-2025)
Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH)
Our research focusses on the psychological mechanisms (cognitive and behavioural) that play a role in maintaining mental and physical health problems in children and young people. This includes depression, anxiety and other problems (e.g. attachment, developmental factors, trauma and autism). We have a particular interest in eating disorders of all kinds (including understanding their development and in obesity), and in perinatal mental health. We are interested in understanding the role of parents, and how treatment can be provided via parents, as well as to young people.
Myra Cooper (Group Lead)
Health, Neuropsychology, Systemic and Staff Wellbeing
Our research includes all aspects of clinical psychology in physical health settings (clinical health psychology) in paediatric and adult populations. We have special interests in long-term conditions, cancer, cleft lip and palate, facial palsy, epilepsy and Tourettes.
Our neuropsychology research investigates the ways in which neuropsychological problems occur and develop in people with neurological disorders. We have particular interest in how neuropathological and psychological factors contribute to difficulties after brain injury and how sufferers can be helped. We have experience in mild traumatic brain injury, post-concussion symptoms and neurorehabilitation of brain injured patients.
Our staff wellbeing research considers our own health and wellbeing and that of those we work closely with in services (qualified and those in training). Topics include managing transitions (from training to qualified), burnout, resilience, recruitment and retention, lived experience in the workplace and stigma and discrimination. We aim to understand psychological processes and develop and test interventions. We draw on clinical, social and organisational psychology models.
Matthew Hotton (Group Lead)
A wide range of populations in the UK and internationally experience marginalisation. These include but are not limited to people marginalised as a result of their identity (e.g. ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity), diagnosis, visibility and/or expression of ill health, people experiencing homelessness, forensic populations, and people with an intellectual disability. Social processes of marginalisation including prejudice, discrimination, and institutional barriers lead to health inequalities for these groups. In many cases there is a lack of research into the problems faced by these populations, and these issues with the evidence base translate directly into a lack of, or challenges with attending, services. As a research group our focus is on carrying out psychological research which will help clarify the specific nature of the challenges faced by the populations in question, and which will also inform measures to both prevent and redress health inequalities.
Alasdair Churchard (Group Lead)
Victoria Roberts (January 2024-2025)
Common Mental Health Conditions
The research group seeks to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of common mental health conditions, as well as their treatment. A specific focus of the research is anxiety disorders in general, and more specifically in OCD, Panic and Agoraphobia and health anxiety. The group also has expertise in the identification and treatment of psychological issues in “Medically Unexplained Symptoms”, Long-Term Health Conditions, as well as the impact of insomnia across common mental health problems.
Paul Salkovskis (Group Lead)