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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.

In my current role, I am Director of Learning and Teaching for School of Health in Social Science. This entails strategic oversight of all learning and teaching practice in the school. 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 am 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 practice teaching on the MSc 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. The evidence base for care-experienced children and young people is currently lacking, especially in the UK and these young people have the worst outcomes of any group in British and European society. 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 current research splits into three main areas:

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

a)      A needs analysis of kinship carers

b)      Analysis of users of a Kinship Care Helpline (recently published)

2)      Trauma-informed Practice (TIP) and Wellbeing

a)      Evaluation of the effect of TIP on staff wellbeing

b)      Exploring the mediators of staff wellbeing in trauma-informed organisations

c)      The effects of secondary traumatic stress on wellbeing and quality of working life in homelessness workers

d)      Burnout and Wellbeing in Foster and Kinship Carers

e)      Making financial advice and support for care-experienced young people trauma-informed

3)      Complex Needs in the Care System

a)      Development of online training in neurodevelopmental trauma for residential care workers

b)      Raising a child with foetal alcohol exposure in kinship care

c)      Residential care worker conceptualisations of attachment (recently published)

I run a lab group for staff, students and early career researchers (LAACLab) 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 am a regular reviewer for journals including Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice and Children and Youth Services.

Education/Academic qualification

Digital Education, Postgraduate Diploma, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Nov 2017

Psychology, Master of Arts, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998

External positions

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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