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, where I completed a combined Masters/Phd in in Clincial Psychology. My research was focused on family-based interventions for child mental health. I was then fortunate to have postodoctoral research fellowships at the University of Sydney conducting mental health service research focusing on population health-oriented system 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 is in the major forms of psychopathology found in childhood disorders (e.g., disruptive behaviour, externalising problems, ADHD, emotion dysregulation, anxiety etc) and child/family/social determinants of major mental disorders. I adopt methods from a range of disciplines, that include:

(i) Neurocognitive psychology where I study risk mechanisms that may underpin pathways from common childhood mental health problems (Disruptive Behaviour, Externalising Problems, Anxiety) to major mental disorders in adulthood. I explore neurocognitive vulnerabilities that may inform novel personalised approaches to treatment based on targeting key determinants of illness progression. I am particularly interested in links between transdiagnostic features of childhood psychopathology (i.e., emotion dysregulation) and common affective disorders (i.e., anxiety and mood disorders).

(ii) Evidence-based psychological interventions. I examine the clinical utility of psychological interventions  for treating childhood mental health problems; especially for children with disruptive behaviour or externalising problems. My work emphasise the salience of family-based interventions and how parental factors influence treatment outcomes from psychotherapy. 

(iii) Mental health service research where the focus is on improving the quality of mental health care in relation to effectiveness, efficiency, access and reach of evidence supported treatments for common mental disorders (e.g., anxiety, externalising behaviour, depression) in the community. To that end, I have been focused on 'staged care' which is an integrated care model that promotes prevention of common affective illnesses in the population.

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: child externalising problems; ADHD; 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 childhood mental disorders. This is pursued by employing cognitive neuroscience research methodology to understand subtypes of childhood mental health, in order to personalise treatment approaches according to notable neurodevelopmental characteristics of illness. We are doing some current work in understanding neurological mechanisms underlying the emergence of mental health problems (externalising/internalising) among children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

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, as well as family processes involved in these problems. 

4. 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.

5. 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 18 publications on Research Explorer