Psychological Therapy


The psychological therapies research theme is focused on the development and evaluation of novel approaches to psychological treatment with a particular emphasis on individuals and families who have traditionally not been in receipt of or who were seen as not likely to benefit from psychological interventions including adults with personality disorders, children and young people with conduct disorders, adults with learning disabilities and substance misuse. 

The theme has a strong commitment to the development of theory based approaches to treatment drawing for example on attachment theory and behaviour change theory. The theme has excellent links with basic neuroscience colleagues at which UCL which informs not only the development of new psychological interventions but also helps identify the psychological processes which underpin change in psychological interventions. These research themes also link with a range of post-graduate programmes in child development and neuroscience, and cognitive behavioural therapy for children and young people in conjunction with the Anna Freud Centre, and in research methods, cognitive neuroscience behaviour change and low-intensity cognitive behavioural interventions in conjunction with colleagues at UCL.

Overcoming self-critical attitudes in virtual reality
Virtual Reality machine being used

PI: Professor Chris Brewin, Professor Mel Slater, Professor Peter Gilbert & Dr. John King

£447,488 Medical Research Council, Two year Study

Excessive self-criticism is one of the most significant psychological processes thought to influence the susceptibility to and the maintenance and relapse of psychopathology. Self-compassion can be seen as a natural modulator of self-criticism. With the aid of reality we aim to overcome self-critical attitudes by simulating self-compassion through the use of avatars and embodiment. The ultimate goal is to develop a therapeutic intervention for chronic, self-critically depressed patients who have been resistant to conventional cognitive and behavioural therapies.

Changing behaviour: towards best practice in the development of complex interventions

PI's: Susan Michie, Rona Campbell (University of Bristol), Kate Sheals, Caroline Wood, and Robert West

Behaviour Change Book

This 3 year project was funded by the Medical Research Council, UK

This project aims to identify behaviour change theories and their application in empirical research across the disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology and economics, with a view to informing the development and evaluation of theory-based behaviour change interventions to improve health and health care. A systematic review guided by a multidisciplinary expert advisory group has identified 81 theories. The review found that only four were commonly applied: the Transtheoretical Model of Change (N=91), Theory of Planned Behaviour (N= 36), Social Cognitive Theory (N=29), and the Information-Motivation-Behavioural-Skills Model (N=18). A compendium of these theories with summaries will be published in early 2014 with an interactive website.

Knowles, L., Anokhina, A., & Serpell, L. (2013). Motivational approaches in the eating disorders: What is the evidence? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 97-107.doi: 10.1002/eat.22053

Mavranezouli, I., Meader, N., Cape, J., & Kendall, T. (2013). The cost effectiveness of pharmacological treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. Pharmacoeconomics, 31, 317-333.doi: 10.1007/s40273-013-0031-z

Midgley, N., Cregeen, S., Hughes, C., & Rustin, M. (2013). Psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a treatment for depression in adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 22, 67-82. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2012.08.004

Bateman, A., & Fonagy, P. (2013). Impact of clinical severity on outcomes of mentalisation-based treatment for borderline personality disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 203, 221-227. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.121129

Page last modified on 20 jun 14 12:05