Edinburgh Research Explorer

Laura Cariola

Lecturer in Applied Psychology (ODLP)

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design
Master of Arts, Goldsmiths, University of London
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Lancaster University
Postgraduate Diploma, London Metropolitan University

Professional Qualifications

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Counselling and Psychotherapy, Regent's University London


I am an applied psychologist and linguist. I am a chartered member of the British Psychological Society, Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology, and a member of the Division of Counselling Psychology.

My research focuses on the intersection of language, discourse and mental health. I use both qualitative and quantitative approaches to explore the language of individuals affected by mental health problems, and also health care professionals. My research is to large extent applied as it seeks to inform the development of policy guidelines and interventions to improve provision of mental health care.


Hence, my research can be divided into two core themes:


1) Language-based methods to inform the development of interventions to improve provision of mental health care. 


2) Language-based approaches to explore presentations and phenomenology of mental health problems.


My Ph.D. project at Lancaster University explored the mind-body paradigm by analysing how individuals construct self and object boundaries through the use of language and mental imagery in autobiographical memory recall and psychotherapeutic dialogues. I also hold an M.A. in Applied Linguistics - Sociocultural Approaches from Goldsmiths College with a focus on rhetorical strategies that underpin the construction and reproduction of identity and power in discourses and talk-in-interaction.


As a part of ongoing work that explores mental health in discourses, I have obtained a prestigious research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studie in the Humanities where I am focussing upon ‘Presentations of complex mental illness in media and medical discourses: A corpus‐assisted study’. Collaborators include academics across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, such as clinical psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, anthropology, social work and medicine. My mentor is Prof. Matthias Schwannauer, Head of Clinical and Health Psychology at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. As a part of my research, currently, I am writing a monograph entitled "Presentations of Borderline Personality Disorder in the UK press: A corpus-assisted study" (due sprring 2021, University of Exeter Press).


During my postdoctoral appointments at the School of Health in Social Science of the University of Edinburgh, I was involved in numerous projects that used language-based data to develop policy guidelines and interventions. For example, I explored the online sharing of self-produced nude images by young people (‘sexting’), and also deterrents to viewing indecent images of children online. The results of these studies were implemented in policy frameworks and guidelines, such as the Scottish Government, the Home Office and the National Crime Agency. Another project developed a policy framework for perinatal mental health, which informed the Mental Health Strategy for Scotland. I also contributed to the development of a patient-centred brief alcohol intervention for remand prisoners and patients presenting with alcohol-related traumatic brain injuries.

Visiting and Research Positions

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Honorary Research Psychologists, NHS Lothian


Course Organiser: Social Inequality and Child and Adolescent Mental Health — MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches (Online) 

Course Organiser: Dissertation — MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches (Online) 

Course Organiser: Psychological Perspectives on Health and Care — MA Health, Science and Society 

Deputy Course Organiser: Language and Communication in Health and Society — MA Health, Science and Society 

Critical Psychology — MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches (Online) 

Mapping Health and Illness Across Societies — MA Health, Science and Society



I am the co-founding editor-in-chief of two journals and a research network, as well as the lead editor of a book series:

Language and Psychoanalysis is a fully peer reviewed online journal that publishes twice a year. It is the only interdisciplinary journal with a strong focus on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of language and psychoanalysis. The journal is also inclusive and not narrowly confined to Freudian psychoanalytic theory.


Language and Mind Research Network is an international and interdisciplinary network and blog for knowledge exchange within the field of language and the psychological sciences and humanities, ranging from psychotherapy, psychoanalytic theories, philosophy, literature and the arts as well as social phenomena. Our aim is to create an open environment for academics, practitioners and students to share news and resources related to teaching, development and research in the field of language and the mind.


Social Science Protocols is a peer reviewed online journal platform. It is the only platform with a focus on publishing study protocols in the social sciences, including the disciplines of archaeology, the arts, communication studies, economics, education, geography, history, law, literature, linguistics, philosophy, politics, psychology, religious studies, sociology and social work.


Book series "Language, Discourse and Mental Health" (University of Exeter Press). This book series is a unique resource to further knowledge and understanding of mental health from a pluralistically informed linguistic perspective. Using qualitative and quantitative approaches to language-based analysis, the empirical and theoretical contributions will provide a compelling insight on mental health from a range of perspectives and contexts, including psychotherapeutic communication, public presentations of mental health, literary accounts of lived experiences, and language features associated to specific mental health problems. This interdisciplinary book series will be an essential reference for students, researchers and practitioners in linguistics and communication, education, cognitive science, psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, special needs, medicine, nursing, and medical anthropology.

Research activities & awards

  1. Introduction to Counselling Psychology, Guest Lecture

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  2. British Psychological Society Annual Conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Gendered Presentations of Borderline Personality Disorder in the UK Press

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesOral presentation

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Research projects

  1. Step One Seed Fund

    Project: University Awarded Project Funding

  2. IASH Postdoctoral Bursary

    Project: University Awarded Project Funding

  3. ESRC Festival of Social Science

    Project: University Awarded Project Funding

View all (5) »

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