On graduating from Oxford with a degree in psychology and philosophy, I went to the Institute of Psychiatry in the University of London (1968-75), where I trained in clinical psychology (an MSc degree in those days), obtained my PhD, and became a youthful Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, combining that with clinical practice in the Maudsley Hospital.
My early research focused mainly on behaviour therapy, especially the treatment of phobic disorders by desensitization, which I saw as a habituation process. I also worked on psychiatric rehabilitation, and co-edited a book on that with the charismatic Dr D H Bennett. In 1975 I moved to the other side of Denmark Hill to become Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology at King’s College Hospital (1975-81) and there developed an interest in behavioural medicine. In that period I was also Joint Director of the training scheme for clinical psychologists in the SE Thames RHA.
I became increasingly interested in the clinical application of cognitive psychology, partly through being involved in the development of behaviour therapy into cognitive-behaviour therapy, partly from a more general philosophical view about the importance of cognition in human nature. I moved to Cambridge in 1981 to become a Senior Scientist at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit. There I launched a new research group that focused on cognitive processes in emotional disorders and in cognitive therapy.
I was joined early on by Mark Williams, with whom I launched the journal, Cognition and Emotion. Later on John Teasdale, Andrew Mathews and Tim Dalgleish also joined the group. The book, that I wrote with Mark Williams, Andrew Mathews and Colin MacLeod sums up much of the work we did together. I brought my research in clinical psychology to a close when I left the MRC at the end of 1993, but continued many of my psychological interests in connection with the study of religion.
Towards the end of my time in Clinical Psychology I served for a year as President of the British Psychological Society, having previously served in various other roles in the BPS.
To view a list of my updated publications, please visit my blog site.