Matthias Schwannauer

Head of School and Professor of Clinical Psychology


Matthias Schwannauer graduated with first degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Marburg in 1994. In 1998 he completed his applied clincial psychology training at the University of Marburg with internships in Marburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Edinburgh. His first position as a qualified clinical psychologist was in the Adolescent Mental Health Services in Greater Glasgow NHS. He moved to NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh in January 2000. During this time he was able to carry out his research into psychological interventions for bipolar disorders. This research involved the implementation of a randomised controlled trial of Cognitive Interpersonal Therapy and an investigation of the role of interpersonal and cognitive factors in mood regulation in bipolar disorders and the recovery process.

From 2009 he was Head of Clinical & Health Psychology and Programme Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training programme at the University of Edinburgh. He further works as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Early Psychosis Support Service at CAMHS Lothian.  

He took up the role as Head of School for Health and Social Science in 2019. 

Postgraduate teaching

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Child and Adoelscent Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology and interpersonal and developmental factors in individuals with Psychosis and Bipolar Disorders)
  • MSc dissertations for projects related to the developmental psychopathology of mental health and well being in Chidren and Young People 
  • Psychological Therapies Research (CBT, IPT, MBT, CBASP), structured case series,  pilot trials

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

His current research interests include the application of attachment theory, reflective function and psychological processes of affect regulation to further our understanding of the  development, adaptation to and recovery from major mental health problems in adolescence, in particular psychosis and recurrent mood disorders. 

He is particularly interested in the psychology of onset and recovery of severe mental health problems in young adults with regard to current developmental models of psychiatric disorders and the advancement of specific psychological interventions.

Matthias is Principal Investigator of a number of randomised controlled trials to develop and evaluate psychological interventions for severe mental health problems. He is further involved in a number of service developments and evaluations using an implementation science framework. 

Current research interests

Our research group Developmental Psychopathology 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. We are further focused on the development and evaluation of psychological interventions for young people with significant mental health difficulties and emotional distress. He is further a memer of the Edinburgh Child and Adolescent Research Network (ECAP), which brings together child psychologists based in Clinical Psychology, Psychology and Education. In collaboration with two Early Intervention services in Scotland for psychotic disorders we are currently engaged in a follow up study of young adults who experience a first psychotic episode. We further conduct a study in the developmental and interpersonal aspects of psychosis comprising the longitudinal assessment of known vulnerability factors as well as a detailed qualitative investigation of specific developmental factors. Focusing On Clozapine Unresponsive Symptoms (FOCUS): a randomised controlled trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research via the Health Technology Assessment program for four years.

View all 108 publications on Research Explorer