UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Prof Peter Fonagy

Prof Peter Fonagy


Room 541
Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology
1-19 Torrington Place


  • Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
    Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology
    Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL


My research work has largely focused on the integration of psychodynamic theoretical and clinical work with empirical research strategies in the areas of early emotional development and psychosocial treatment research, engaging specifically with severe personality pathology. "Mentalization based treatment" or MBT is an innnovative research-based dynamic therapeutic approach developed by the Psychoanalysis Unit in collaboration with a number of clinical sites both in this country (the Anna Freud Centre, the Halliwick Psychotherapy Service, the Marlborough Family Service, the Brandon Centre, Islington CAMHS) and in the US (the Menninger Clinic and the Yale Child Study Center). It is based on a developmental research relevant to a theory of personality disorder reported in a frequently cited 1991 paper (Maternal representations of attachment during pregnancy predict the organization of infant-mother attachment at one year of age) and a number of books from our group (Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis + Other Press; Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self + Other Press). I am also engaged in a major collaborative programme exploring developmental psychopathology from an attachment-mentalization perspective. A longstanding collaboration with the Child and Family Program of the Menninger Clinic has been extended to include the Yale Child Study Center. This international collaboration has yielded a number of cutting-edge research programs funded from the Menninger Child and Family Center endowment and other extra-mural sources. In previous studies our laboratory has found close relationships between the development of social cognition (mentalizing) and the quality of early attachment relationships.

Award year Qualification Institution
1980 Dip.
Clinical Psychology
British Psychological Society
1980 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
University College London
1974 BSc Hons
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
University College London

Professor Peter Fonagy OBE FMedSci FBA PhD

Peter Fonagy is Head of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL; Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London; Consultant to the Child and Family Programme at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine; and holds visiting professorships at Yale and Harvard Medical Schools.

He is Programme Director of the UCLPartners Integrated Mental Health programme and a member of the UCLPartners Academic Board, National Clinical Advisor of the Department of Health/NHS England Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) programme, and a member of the Programme Board for IAPT. He is leader of the Mental Health theme in the North Thames CLAHRC and a Senior Investigator for the National Institute of Health Research. He has occupied a number of key national leadership positions including Chair of the Outcomes Measurement Reference Group at the Department of Health, Chair of two NICE Guideline Development Groups, and Chair of the Strategy Group for National Occupational Standards for Psychological Therapies. He currently co-chairs the Department of Health's Expert Reference Group on Vulnerable Children.

His clinical interests centre on issues of early attachment relationships, social cognition, borderline personality disorder and violence. A major focus of Professor Fonagy’s contribution has been an innovative research-based dynamic therapeutic approach, called Mentalization-Based Treatment, which was developed in collaboration with a number of clinical sites both in this country and in the US. He is currently PI or Co-PI on research grants worth in excess of £15 million. He has published over 450 scientific papers and 250 chapters, and has authored or co-authored 17 books. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the American Association for Psychological Science, and was elected to Honorary Fellowship by the American College of Psychiatrists. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from several national and international professional associations including the British Academy, the British Psychological Society and the World Association for Infant Mental Health.