Clinical Psychology MPhil/PhD

Major code: PDMR/PDPR

About us

Department of Mental and Behavioural Health Sciences

Investigating the causes and treatments of mental ill-health, and the impact of health and social policies on psychological wellbeing, and investigating the determinants of positive doctor: patient (or healthcare professional: service-user) relationships and communication. 

Institute of Psychology, Health and Society

The Institute of Psychology, Health and Society conducts world-leading research into the effectiveness of health services, the social origins of health and social inequalities in healthcare, mental health and well-being, including the evaluation of a wide range of psychosocial interventions and therapies and conduct internationally acclaimed research into many aspects of psychology and human behaviour, including perception, language development, pain, addiction, appetite, and offending behaviour. We work collaboratively; the Institute employs academic GPs, public health professionals, psychologists from a range of professional backgrounds, psychiatrists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and social scientists. Our research groups work with colleagues from hugely diverse backgrounds; from academic colleagues from many Universities across the world, with industrial partners, with the NHS and other healthcare providers, politicians and political administrators, the police and partners across civil society.

We work across the world - from investigating respiratory disease in central America, through promoting the psychological well-being of young mothers in the middle east to studying attitudes towards epilepsy in Asia - and across widely different aspects of human behaviour - from innovative therapies for many different psychological problems, managing substance use and obesity, through helping people return to work after periods of ill-health and innovative food policies through to the policing of terrorist incidents. In all these areas, our work is characterised by a focus on research excellence and by attention to the real world impact of our scholarship. In addition to our large and active programme of postgraduate research, we contribute substantially to undergraduate teaching in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and many of us provide clinical services through local NHS Trusts.

Staff research interests

Dr Jan Bogg
Organisational and occupational issues within the healthcare workforce; psychometrics and development of patient assessment tools.

Dr Steve Brown
Health psychology, including decision making and risk perception in health care.

Dr Joanne Dickson
Implicit and explicit cognitive and motivational processes in relation to adult and adolescent mental health; autobiographical memories and future directed thinking processes (eg goal orientation, facilitation, conflict, expectancies, plans).

Professor Christopher Dowrick
Improving understanding of depression and unexplained symptoms in primary care settings; increasing access to high quality mental health services through primary care.

Dr Simon Duff
Emotional recognition, theory of mind, and attribution in sexual offenders; Self-harm in medium and high secure services; Non offending partners of sexual offenders; the application of fringe consciousness to antisocial behaviour; Interacting Cognitive Subsystems and Personality Disorder.

Dr Peter Fisher
Evaluating and developing cognitive therapy for emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) and examining the cognitive and metacognitive processes that underpin these disorders.

Dr Ian Fletcher
Doctor-patient communication in medical interviews; psychological issues related to cancer diagnosis and cancer care; communication in palliative care and towards end-of-life; relationships between attachment, metacognition, and communication.

Dr Claire Glasscoe
Family adaptation to chronic childhood illness; patient reported outcome measures; systematic review; systemic psychotherapy with chronic illness; translational research; integrating quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Professor Simon Gowers
Eating disorders, psychosis, outcome scales.

Professor Peter Kinderman
Psychological models of psychosis, especially paranoia and bipolar disorder; cognitive behavioural therapy for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and the application of psychological approaches to policy.

Professor Christoph Lauber
Social inclusion and exclusion of people with severe mental illness: supported employment in people with psychosis and common mental disorders, user and carer involvement in mental health care, stigma of people with mental illness, mental health services research and intervention studies.

Dr Cherie McCracken
Epidemiology of cognitive impairment and ageing with particular reference to nutrition, social networks and resilience.

Professor James McGuire
Applications of psychology to criminal justice; treatment of offenders; factors influencing aggression; social problem solving and cognitive-behavioural therapies; development and evaluation of interventions to reduce violence.

Dr Taj Nathan (Senior Research Fellow)
Forensic Psychiatry.

Dr Pierce O’Carroll
Clinical and ethical issues related to mental health problems in health care professionals: Positive psychology and well-being; cognitive and behavioural theories and therapies for emotional and behavioural problems.

Professor Atif Rahman
Global mental health; maternal depression and its impact on child development; mental health of children in disadvantaged conditions; cultural issues in mental health.

Professor Peter Salmon
Clinical communication and psychological processes in physical illness and treatment, particularly in cancer care and unexplained symptoms.

Dr William Sellwood
Application of cognitive behavioural approaches to management of severe mental illness including family-based interventions; patients’ decisions as to whether or not to accept treatment; methods of putting research findings into routine clinical practice.

Dr Helen Sharp
Developmental processes and new treatments in childhood conduct problems; adult psychological functioning influencing parenting quality and child development; perinatal psychology.

Professor Ken Wilson
Systematic review, meta-analysis in depression in old age, epidemiology of old age mental health; intervention studies in depression in old age and Parkinson disease; health services research in dementia and affective disorders in old age.

Dr Bridget Young
Communication and interpersonal processes in illness, particularly childhood illness; health research methodologies. 

Dr Matt Field

Many of our students go on to work in the addictions field, be that in treatment, research, or policy. They also benefit from being part of a thriving and enthusiastic research community.

How long have you worked at the university?

Since September 2004.

What's your work about?

I look at the roles of automatic cognitive processes and impulsivity in addiction, with a focus on heavy drinking. This mainly involves laboratory based work where we test theoretical predictions regarding how these processes contribute to drinking behaviour, but also involves studies with alcohol-dependent patients, and longitudinal studies investigating the development of heavy drinking in schoolchildren. I work in collaboration with colleagues across the University, at other Universities in the UK, and further afield, particularly USA and the Netherlands. Some of my earlier work has been translated into novel treatment interventions for alcohol dependence, which are currently being tested to see if they work. But overall I would say that the most important impact of my work has been to clarify the importance of cognitive processes in addiction, particularly automatic processes that addicts themselves might not be aware of.

What modules do you teach on which programmes? 

I teach on module PSYC404 (Addiction Theories and Interventions), which usually involves fairly small groups of students (less than 10). Some of our former students have gone on to do PhDs in addiction or other mental health disorders, others have gone on to work in addiction counselling, some go on to work as clinical psychologists, and others end up working on drug policy issues for the UK government

What do you love most about the University of Liverpool?

The vibrant research environment and the enthusiasm of the students.

Why should prospective students study a postgraduate qualification here?

Because you will be joining a community of people who are conducting cutting edge research, actively publishing in academic journals, and you will have the opportunity to get involved in some exciting projects. Our teaching is definitely research led, so you can be assured that you will be learning about the very latest developments, rather than ancient material that was pulled straight from an old textbook!

What are the benefits?

Many of our students go on to work in the addictions field, be that in treatment, research, or policy. They also benefit from being part of a thriving and enthusiastic research community.

What does your department/subject, in particular, offer a prospective student?

There are very few courses like this in the country, and even fewer that are run by people who conduct research that is internationally recognised.