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Mental Health Research Group

PhD Community

Ever wanted to study a topic in detail? Had a burning question to ask from your undergraduate studies or your clinical experience? Is a PhD the answer to your curiosity?

Why choose a PhD?

  • Studying at PhD level is both a challenging and intellectually stimulating experience.
  • A PhD will provide you with the opportunity to make an original research contribution in the field of study. This work contributes to internationally recognized standards in that field.

Why study with the Mental Health Research Group?

  • We aim to provide all PhD students with development opportunities and research training to enhance your analytical, conceptual and critical thinking skills to the highest level.
  • We have a strong focus on applied clinical research with strong links with the North East Mental Health Research Network and the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

“My first degree was awarded by Durham University in 1994. I am really excited to be returning to study at the University, this time working as part of the research community within the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health. I qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 1985. Since then I have worked in a number of clinical and teaching settings. My major clinical interest is in working with people who are experiencing psychosis. I am a Nurse Consultant for Psychosis Services with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Trust and an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. For some years now the focus of my practice has been CBT for psychosis.
The focus of my PhD research is on the psychological case formulations used by psychosis community teams. I am particularly interested in the usefulness and accuracy of the discussions held, in relation to service user problems. Through a mixed methodology I will examine how the formulation meeting is used by the team, and whether it fits closely with the service user's view of the issues maintaining their symptoms or distress.”

Valentina Short, Current PhD Student

“My decision to study at Durham University was based upon the award of a Durham Doctoral Fellowship and the strong links between the Mental Health Research Group and the local mental health trust (Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust). My research has focused upon how adolescents with an At-Risk Mental State for psychosis present to mental services in terms of symptomatology and functioning and how they personally experience their condition and subsequent support offered. I have also examined this area of clinical practice through the attitudes, knowledge and opinions of various mental health professionals within the local region. My experiences of studying for the PhD have been very positive in terms of regular supervision and support from both my supervisors (Dr Paul Tiffin and Prof Pali Hungin) and the opportunity to conduct a clinically focused research project. I was also provided with opportunities to present my research at local, national and international conferences which has in turn led to the publication of various papers and abstracts. My PhD experiences have been invaluable in securing my current post doctoral research associate position.”

Dr Patrick Welsh, Recently completed PhD Student

Contact Details

Durham University
School of Medicine,
Pharmacy and Health
Wolfson Building
Queen's Campus
TS17 6BH

Tel: 0191 33 40320