David Gillanders

Senior Lecturer


I graduated from City University in London and trained in clinical psychology at the University of Glasgow, qualifying in 2000. My major research thesis was an experimental study investigating repetitive information processing in depression.

After qualifying I worked for NHS Ayrshire, spending part of the time in a community mental health team and part of the time in a district general hospital treating individuals who had been referred from a wide range of medical specialties and in particular chronic pain services.

I joined the University of Edinburgh in October 2004 and until August 2012 spent half the week working for the University and the other part of the week working for NHS Lothian Chronic Pain Service. I now work full time for the University. 

My main theoretical interest is in contextual behavioural approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, said as one word, rather than three letters).

I am one of only a handful of Peer Reviewed Trainers in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in the UK and can provide training to other organisations in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, through an arrangement via Edinburgh Innovation. Please email me to enquire further. 



University of Glasgow, 2000, DClinPsy

City University, London, 1994, BSc (HONS) Psychology

Responsibilities & affiliations

School Academic Workload Allocation Model Lead

British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist

Health and Care Professions Council Registered Practitioner Clinical Psychologist

Association for Contextual Behavioural Science Founding Member

Association for Contextual Behavioural Science Fellow

Former President of the ACBS UK & ROI Chapter

Former ACBS Training Committee Chair

Postgraduate teaching

  • DClinPsychol, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • DClinPsychol, Research Tutorials

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

I lead a research programme in clinical health psychology, focused on a variety of long term health conditions and investigating different theoretical perspectives on psychological factors in long term conditions. This research strategy supports thesis projects for DClinPsychol students, and PhD students.

These projects have investigated adjustment and acceptance in long term health conditions, including pain, breast cancer, HIV, diabetes and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This programme of research has investigated relationships between appraisals, acceptance, adjustment, emotion regulation and how these relate to emotional and behavioural function.


Current research interests

The majority of my research activity comes through the supervision and mentorship of Trainee Clinical Psychologists and PhD students. Many of these research collaborations lead to publication and presentation, for a list of publications and conference presentations see below. Our research programme has two main overlapping strands: living effectively with illness, including persistent and terminal illness and theory and measurement in acceptance and commitment therapy. These research themes have led to studies and collaborative projects in the area of chronic pain, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, breast cancer, prostate cancer and palliative care. In addiiton, we have published a well validated measure of cognitive fusion. A developing area that I am currently working on is the empirical evaluation of ACT training, and the application of ACT to Palliative and Supportive care.

Affiliated research centres

View all 76 publications on Research Explorer