Dr Vilas Sawrikar

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

Contact details

Address

Street

Medical Quad
Teviot Place
Doorway 6, Rm 1.M8

City
Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9AG

Background

I am a Lecturer of Clinical Psychology in the School of Health and Social Sciences, registered Clinical Psychologist, and Health Data Analyst/Statistician. I completed my postgraduate studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. My research was focused on approaches to prevention and treatment. Clinical psychology is a career change for me. I have also previously worked as a Health Economist implementing components of National Health Reform, including optimisation of hospital funding systems and resource allocation into practice. I aim to combine both professional skills focusing on clinical effectiveness research in mental health.

Qualifications

PhD in Clinical Psychology

Ms in Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology

Graduate Diploma in Psychology

Ms Applied Statitistics

B Economics

Responsibilities & affiliations

Programme Director of Msc of Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches 

Deputy Director of Centre of Applied Developmental Psychology

Neurocognitive Psychology Group Member

PGR PhD & MsR Application Review Panel Member

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate teaching

MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches:

- Evidence-based Psychological Interventions for Children and Young People 

- Parenting: Theory and Practice

MSc in Applied Psychology (Healthcare) For Children and Young People: 

- Child and Adolescent Development

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Research summary

My research area of interest is transdiagnostic approaches to child and adolescent mental health. I approach this through a developmental psychology lens with a particular interest in affective development and psychopathology, and evidence-based psychological interventions for common affective disorders in children and young people. I use translational research methods to maximise impact, that includes:

(i) Transdiagnostic modelling of mental disorders. This includes innovations in studying common risk factors that underpin emerging mental illness across childhood and adolescence. I am particularly interested in improving approaches to treatment and prevention for common comorbidities linked with emotional difficulties such as comorbid internalising and externalising problems, which may be linked to shared risk factors (i.e., early life experiences, neurodevelopment, and family environment) that could be targeted to prevent mental illness. 

(ii) Evidence-based practice in psychological interventions. The work attempts to address the research-practice gap in child and adolescent mental health. I study the utility of psychotherapy for common mental health problems such as disruptive behaviour, externalising problems, and depression, as well as factors that may either predict or moderate treatment outcomes. My work emphasises the salience of family-based interventions and how parental/family influence treatment outcomes from psychotherapy for young people.

(iii) Translational child and adolescent mental health research where the focus is on implementing new systems of transdiagnostic assessment and treatment for children and young people. To that end, I have been focused on 'staged care' which is an integrated care model that promotes prevention of common affective illnesses among young people.

Please refer to the research projects below about current activities focusing on personalising treatments for children, young people, and families/carers.

Current research interests

Clinical child and family psychology: internalising and externalising problems; family-based influences on child neurodevelopment and mental health (e.g., parenting, parent cognition; attachment; early adverse experiences), and child risk characteristics (e.g., temperament, emotion dysregulation, neurobiology).

Past research interests

Health cost and funding systems to determine allocation of economic resources

Project activity

I invite prospective students to contact me if they are interested in these current research projects: 

1. Neurocognitive psychology associated with mood dysfunction and mental disorders. This is pursued by employing cognitive neuroscience research methodology to understand subtypes of mood disorders based causal theories of depression, in order to personalise treatment approaches according to notable neurodevelopmental characteristics of illness. 

2. Role of irritability in comorbid externalising and internalising problems among young people. Irritability is a common dimension of mental ill health and may explain comorbid problems of externalising and internalising problems. I am interested in cognitive and emotional regulatory processes associated with irritability implicated in mood, self-harm and suicidality. 

3. Patient activation and self-management of mental health. The focus is on understanding processes in help-seeking, accessing, and engagement in various forms of family-management, self-management and professional help. To this end, I am interested in decision-making processes informed by behavioural economics to understand how best to promote family- and self-management of mental health.

4. Population health approaches for mental health ('right care, right time, right place'). I have been focused on 'staged care' which proposes that universal personalised healthcare can help reduce the occurrence and burden associated with affective disorders. Specific work includes building an evidence base for clinical staging for children and young people, stage-appropriate psychotherapy, stage-based stepped care, and workforce training in evidence-based practice and stage-based care.

View all 24 publications on Research Explorer