I began publishing with my original third-year research project from my training as an Occupational Therapist - a survey of all the OT training courses in the UK to see what proportions of men and women each admitted, and whether there were any systematic differences between courses (there were...) That was published in 1990 and eventually in 2001 I was able to undertake a proper research training. I won a Research Training Fellowship from the NHS which allowed me to do a PhD at the University of Hull under Prof Mike Wang (now at Leicester) in Hull’s department of Clinical Psychology. The PhD was into a creative method of assessment of personality disorder using storymaking - the six-part story method (6PSM).
After receiving my PhD in 2005 I carried on working in the NHS part-time, and started work part-time in what is now the Centre for Psychological Services Research at the University of Sheffield. Working with Prof Glenys Parry and other colleagues we have been applying the methods of Health Services Research to psychological services in the ‘real world’ of the UK’s National Health Service
PRESENT RESEARCH ACTIVITY
NIHR funded investigations
2010-2013. Improving Quality and Effectiveness of Services Therapies and Self-management on longer term depression (IQUESTS) – South Yorkshire CLAHRC programme
2010-2014. Adverse Effects of Psychological Therapies (AdEPT) – Research for Patient Benefit programme
2010-2015. Developing a prototype manual for dyadic Art Psychotherapy in attachment disorders. Supervision of NIHR-CDRF Fellowship
2013-2014. A systematic review of art therapy for non-psychotic disorders. HTA-funded review HTA 12/27/16
2007-2012. The Sheffield Personality Disorders trial (SPeDi). A pilot trial of cognitively-based therapies for Borderline Personality Disorder (NHS-funded project)
2011-13. An economic evaluation of the introduction of an older people’s psychiatric liaison service to a general hospital (NHS own-account service evaluation)
2012-13. An evaluation of the introduction of a web-based mental health resource to a University community (University internal consultancy)
2013. A scoping review of the evidence for the psychological treatment of long term conditions and medically unexplained symptoms. (Dept of Health/IAPT funded)
SIGNIFICANT PREVIOUS RESEARCH WORK
I’ve been involved in a number of smaller projects over the years but two have been particularly significant, with large research teams and publicly funded budgets:
This project was funded by the Ministry of Defence and looked at six pilot sites for the mental health treatment of armed forces veterans in the UK. In 2009-11 we looked at these six sites and three comparators; the final report on which I was lead author can be downloaded here. We found that veterans greatly preferred being seen by staff with knowledge and experience of the forces - ideally, staff who were veterans themselves. Group work was effective and fostered a shared sense of community among veterans. Most pilot sites were not able to collect good pre-post data, but those which did were able to clearly demonstrate their effectiveness at an individual and group level.
The whole IAPT initiative which now covers all of England started in Doncaster and Newham. Our team at Sheffield undertook the first (and so far only) independently funded evaluation of the IAPT project. I was the project manager for the study and our final report can be downloaded here. We found that the services increased numbers of patients seen and achieved the 50% recovery rate set for them. Self-referral was a popular and efficient option and did not result in services being swamped. Although rates of access definitely increased, it was still only a minority of people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression who gained access to the new services. Recovery rates were on target, but not significantly better than benchmarks of other well-run therapy services with good processes for gathering outcome measures.