Research related to the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Our Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psy.) programme provides NHS and self-funded training in Clinical Psychology. It provides many opportunities for collaboration with NHS, third sector, industry and voluntary organisations.

The D.Clin.Psy programme houses a group of research-active academics who are committed to enhancing clinical research and contributing to developments in clinical practice through the dissemination of research, the provision of excellence in professional training, and the local provision of clinical services. Our staff collaborate across the University and other universities, and with clinicians within the NHS and third-sector. They also supervise D.Clin.Psy. trainee research projects aiming to influence practice, as well as to contribute service-related projects.

Current research

  • Clinical health psychology. Within the field of Clinical Health Psychology, D.Clin.Psy staff have developed research within areas including: IVF treatment (Dr Helen Ellis-Caird); medically unexplained symptoms (Dr Wendy Solomons); HIV (Dr Jenna Harrington), sickle cell disease and other blood disorders (Dr Helen Ellis-Caird).
  • Intellectual disabilities. There are a number of research projects within the field of Intellectual Disabilities (Dr Helen Ellis-Caird and Dr Maria Qureshi).
  • Food health, food security and eating challenges. Dr Keith Sullivan has conducted research on feeding and development. Several team members have research expertise related to eating difficulties and also bariatric surgery (Dr Barbara Mason).
  • Clinical psychology training and leadership development. Dr Pieter W Nel has developed a programme of research in relation to clinical psychology training, with a focus on simulation training and problem-based learning. Dr Lizette Nolte and Dr Jacqui Gratton have an interest in research related to inclusion within the clinical psychology profession. Dr Helen Ellis-Caird has developed a programme of research related to ethics teaching and learning within clinical psychology, and Dr Barbara Mason to leadership development and teamwork in the NHS.
  • Social inclusion. Several course team members have research interests relating to improving social inclusion, including in relation to welfare reform (Dr Lizette Nolte), social housing and homelessness (Dr Lizette Nolte), increasing accessibility to clinical psychology services for those from minority backgrounds (Dr Jacqui Gratton, Dr Lizette Nolte).
  • Children, parents and families. A number of D.Clin.Psy. staff have an interest in research related to children, parents and families, including family and systemic approaches (Dr Pieter W Nel and Dr Lizette Nolte); parental mental health and parenting under difficult circumstances (Dr Lizette Nolte); adoption and looked after children (Dr Lizette Nolte), child mental health difficulties, e.g. OCD (Dr Emma Karwatzki); outcomes and outcome measures for work with children and young people (Dr Emma Karwatzki).


  • Dr David Novelli, Research Fellow at Herts, is continuing to build collaborative research relationships between the Department of Psychology & Sport Sciences, the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, programme, and Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation NHS Trust.
  • The Tavistock Gender Identity Service, with the work of Herts graduate, Dr Jos Twist, having been presented at numerous national and international conferences and published in both academic journals and grey literature. A number of projects are ongoing.
  • The Rotherham Institute for Obesity (RIO)
  • Luton Sexual Health Services. This is a new area of development.
  • Collaboration with The Muscle Help Foundation has led to the publication of a robust technical research report, informing on the impact of Muscle Dreams for young people with muscular dystrophy and their families, that will hopefully support future fundraising for this worthy organisation. Two research briefings and a research report have also produced to support the on-going awareness-raising work. Research by Herts trainee clinical psychologists, Dr James Randall and Dr Romila Ragaven, contributed to these reports and briefings.
  • Collaboration with AdoptionPlus has led to the inclusion of two chapters in an upcoming book published by Jessica Kingsley on the needs of and support for birth mothers whose children have been adopted or taken into care. This was informed by a number of research projects including research by recently qualified psychologists, Dr Hannah Morgan and Dr Hannah Wright.
  • Research collaborations with the Centre for Welfare Reform have led to inclusion of the research by Herts trained psychologist Dr Jessica Saffer in a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, entitled “Extreme poverty in a time of austerity”, authored by Dr Simon Duffy and Dr Claudia Gillberg. This research has also been referenced in a consultation document entitled “An emancipatory welfare state: how basic income might underpin the development of human potential”, authored by Dr Jim Elder-Woodward & Dr Simon Duffy for discussion at the BIEN Conference 2018 and for wider consultation with disability groups.
  • Several homelessness voluntary and third sector organisations including Dr Emma Williamson‘s work for Annemo, a new online training platform.