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Early Onset Psychosis<br/>High Risk of developing psychosis<br/>Developmental Psychopathology of severe mental health problems<br/>Psychological Interventions

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Personal profile


Matthias Schwannauer graduated with first degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Marburg in 1994. In 1998 he completed his applied clincial psychology training at the University of Marburg with internships in Marburg, Berlin and Edinburgh. His first position as a qualified clinical psychologist was in the Adolescent Mental Health Services in Greater Glasgow NHS. He moved to NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh in January 2000. During this time he was able to carry out his PhD research into psychological interventions for bipolar disorders. This research involved the implementation of a randomised controlled trial of Cognitive Interpersonal Therapy and an investigation of the role of interpersonal and cognitive factors in mood regulation in bipolar disorders and the recovery process.

Since 2009 he is Head of Clinical & Health Psychology and Programme Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training programme at the University of Edinburgh. He is further a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Early Psychosis Support Service at CAMHS Lothian.

Research Interests

His current research interests include the application of attachment theory, reflective function and psychological processes of affect regulation to further our understanding of the  development, adaptation to and recovery from major mental health problems in adolescence, in particular psychosis and recurrent mood disorders. 

He is particularly interested in the psychology of onset and recovery of severe mental health problems in young adults with regard to current developmental models of psychiatric disorders and the advancement of specific psychological interventions.

Matthias is Principal Investigator in a number of randomised ocntrolled trials to develop  psycholgical interventions for severe mental health problems.

Research Groups

Our research Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology is focused on investigating developmental trajectories of mental health and well being in children and young people and the development of current psychological models of emotional distress and mental health.


We are particularly interested in translational aspects of how developmental psychology concepts can be applied to further prevention, clinical practice, educational goals, and an understanding of how children and young people grow and adapt to their often challenging experiences and contexts.

The overarching aspiration of our group is to enhance children and young people’s well being as well as their recovery in the face of mental health problems. This underpins our core research activities, teaching and knowledge exchange in collaboration with partners in the NHS, voluntary organisations, education and social services.

Our research is mainly focused on understanding risk and resilience in view of individual development, mental health and well being of children and young people. We pursue these aims in experimental and basic scientific projects as well as applied population based investigations and clinical trials. With further hold a perspective on service development and implementation we aim to further and develop evidence based treatments in preventative, health and mental health settings, that are informed by key developmental factors.


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