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Personal profile


After qualifying, I worked as a full-time clinical psychologist in NHS Lothian Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). I moved into a part-time lectureship then a full-time lectureship, retaining clinical roles working in the National Ear Reconstruction Service and outpatient CAMHS. In 2016-17 I was seconded to the National Confidential Forum to hear the testimonies of adults who had experienced residential care as children, and to advise on the analysis and dissemination of findings from this Scottish government initiative. This included the interim report What We have Heard So Far. I contribute clinical practice and supervision to the university's new Psychological Therapies Centre.

From 2017 to 2022,  I was Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Health in Social Science. This entailed strategic oversight of all learning and teaching practice in the school. During the pandemic, I developed policy and practice to support colleagues in the rapid, successful adaptation of clinically focused teaching and assessment to the online environment.

Previously, I was programme director for the MSc in Children and Young People's Mental Health and Psychological Practice  (campus and online programmes) and the MSc Psychological Therapies. I contributed to the MOOC The Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People in summer 2014, and was part of a group delivering CPD to City of Edinburgh Council employees (teachers, social workers, foster carers etc.) on child and adolescent mental health. I teach an online course: Trauma and Resilience in a Developmental Context and contribute to teaching and supervision on the MA(Hons) Health in Social ScienceMSc Psychological Therapies and the professional doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DCinPsychol).

My research in adolescent and developmental psychopathology is focused on parental attachment, resilience and risk, with the aim of establishing preventative and curative interventions for young people who experience significant early life adversity, with a special focus on care-experienced children and young people. The evidence base for care-experienced children and young people is currently lacking, especially in the UK.  This population are therefore a priority for government. Recent guidelines by the British Psychological Society, to which I was a contributor, and the National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence (NICE) emphasised the need for systematic research to develop an evidence base for meeting the mental health needs of this population. With university KE grants I have developed a network of stakeholders across Edinburgh  to partner in and be consumers of rigorous research into the mental health and wellbeing of this at-risk population. My research splits into three main areas:

1)      Scaffolding the System (understanding the needs of carers)

This research programme includes completed projects investigating compassion fatigue and burnout in foster and kinship carers, analysis of users of a Kinship Care Helpline (recently published), and attachment conceptualisation in residential childcare workers. Current projects include a needs analysis of kinship carers and understanding the impact of trauma disclosure on novice foster carers.     

2)      Trauma-informed Practice (TIP) and Wellbeing

Recently completed projects in this area include an evaluation of the effect of TIP on staff wellbeing, exploration of the mediators of staff wellbeing in trauma-informed organisations, the effects of secondary traumatic stress on wellbeing and quality of working life in homelessness workers, and making financial advice and support for care-experienced young people trauma-informed.

3)      Psychological interventions and training

I am currently responsible for the IPT (interpersonal psychotherapy) arm of a multi-model group therapy trial for young people with complex trauma, funded by the Chilean Government. I recently joined the Scottish Government funded FAAST project as a consultant, developing training for practitioners in the assessment and diagnosis of foetal alcohol problems. This follows supervision of a doctoral thesis on raising a child with foetal alcohol exposure in kinship care.

I recently completed a full trial testing the effectiveness of online training in neurodevelopmental trauma for residential care workers following its development and piloting.

I run a lab group for staff, students and early career researchers (CAREHub, Care-Experience Research Edinburgh Hub) which has supported three grant proposals, one of which was student-led, and all of which have been successful. I am a founding member of the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology.

I am interested in taking on PhD students with similar interests and in collaborations with individuals and organisations working with young people and their families. I will have capacity to take on another PhD student in Autumn 2024.

I am a regular reviewer for journals including Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Family Violence, European Journal of Social Work, Early Human Development, Child & Family Social Work and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Education/Academic qualification

Digital Education, Postgraduate Diploma, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Nov 2017

Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh

30 Sep 200230 Sep 2005

Award Date: 30 Sep 2005

Psychology, Master of Arts, Factor Structure of the HADS in a Normative Sample, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998

External positions

External Examiner, University of Bath

1 Sep 202031 Aug 2023

External Examiner, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience at King's College and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; London United Kingdom

1 Jul 2018 → …

Research Supervisor, National Confidential Forum

1 Apr 201831 Mar 2019

External Examiner, University College Cork

1 Sep 2017 → …

External Examiner, University of Liverpool

1 Sep 201731 Jan 2019

Panel Member, National Confidential Forum

1 Jan 20161 Jan 2017

Honorary Clinical Psychologist, NHS Lothian

1 Sep 20111 Jan 2016

External Examiner, Queens University Belfast, School of Psychology

1 Sep 20111 Oct 2015


  • BF Psychology


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