Dr. Helen Griffiths

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology


Helen Griffiths studied Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University before coming to Edinburgh for clinical psychology training, qualifying in 1997.  Subsequently, she worked in an adult mental health service in West Lothian, specialising in psychological interventions for individuals distressed by their psychotic experiences for 13 years.  She joined the academic team at the University of Edinburgh in 2010, initially as a Senior Teaching Fellow and then as Lecturer.  She is now Programme Director of the University of Edinburgh/NHS Scotland Clinical Psychology training programme (DClinPsychol).  She also works a day a week as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Early Psychosis Support Service, CAMHS, NHS Lothian.

Postgraduate teaching

I am the Programme Director for the University of Edinburgh/NHS Scotland clinical psychology training programme (DClinPsychol).

I co-ordinate adult mental health teaching on the programme as well as the Advanced Practice Seminar for Psychosis.   I primarily teach CBT, Working with Psychosis, a mentalization based workshop and critical psychology sessions on this programme, although also contribute to the other courses available within the department. 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

I am currently 2nd supervisor for 3 PhD students:

Alice Thomson: Psychological Processes in the Development of Social Withdrawal

Laura MacLean: Tracking young people's responses to daily hassles - the impact on emotion regulation and mental health well-being

Liesbeth Tip: Social Anxiety and Social Functioning in Psychosis


Recent and current DClinPsychol trainee projects include:

  1. Help-seeking within mental health services for individuals with a history of chronic psychosis
  2. Self and other information processing in psychosis
  3. Mentalisation in Anorexia Nervosa and Disordered Eating
  4. How does Mentalizing and Interpersonal Functioning relate to adverse life events and service engagement in people who experience psychosis?
  5. Does self-compassion or self-esteem mediate the relationship between attachment and symptoms of depression and anxiety in a clinical adolescent population?
  6. Modified Metacognitive Therapy for negative symptoms in psychotic disorders (a case series analysis)
  7. Exploring autobiographical memories and sense of self in recovery from adolescent-onset psychosis
  8. A Trans-diagnostic Emotion Regulation group therapy intervention for an acute inpatient setting: A Mixed Methods Pilot Evaluation Study 
  9. A transdiagnostic DBT informed group intervention to enhance distress tolerance: A mixed methods pilot evaluation in an acute inpatient setting.
  10. Deciding not to seek help for substance use: Exploring the role of attachment and reflective function

Research summary

Her clinical and research interests focus on adolescents and adults experiencing psychosis and other complex psychological disorders.   She is interested in how the theoretical framework of attachment can offer new clinical perspectives on difficulties previously believed to be intractable (e.g. regarding negative symptoms in psychotic presentations), and how the application of mentalisation based approaches can improve service provision for these populations.

She works as an investigator on case series and randomized controlled trials to develop psychological interventions for complex mental health problems such as treatment-resistant psychosis and self-harm in adolescents.

Research Activity

Helen belongs to the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology which is focused on investigating developmental trajectories of mental health and well being in children and young people and the development of current psychological models of emotional distress and mental health.  The Centre is also concerned with the development and evaluation of psychological interventions for young people with significant mental health difficulties and emotional distress.

She is also a member of the Edinburgh Child and Adolescent Research Network (ECAP), which brings together child psychologists based in Clinical Psychology, Psychology and Education.

Recent trial work includes:

  • Focusing On Clozapine Unresponsive Symptoms (FOCUS): a randomized controlled trial - funded by the National Institute for Health Research via the Health Technology Assessment program .
  • Efficacy of Mentalization-Based Group Therapy for Adolescents: a pilot randomized controlled trial – funded by Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation

Research themes

  • Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Risk and Resilience
  • Developmental Psychopathology and Wellbeing.

Research groups

  • Psychological Interventions
  • Psychosis

View all 22 publications on Research Explorer