Matthias Schwannauer

Professor of Clinical Psychology - Head of Clinical & Health 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, 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 PhD 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.

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

Postgraduate teaching

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Child and Adoelscent Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology and Psychological interventions in Psychosis and Bipolar Disorders)
  • MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People (Research Methods and Psychological Therapies with Young people)
  • MSc in Chidren and Young People's Mental Health and Psychological Practice 
  • Cognitive Benhavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Young People (IPT-A)

Current PhD students supervised

  • Parental attachment, attributions and self efficacy as moderators and mediators of outcome in an evidence-based parenting intervention: who benefits and how does it work (Student: Holly Jones)
  •  Association between trauma and psychosis: the role of dissociation and cognitive appraisal (Student: Rena Lad)
  • Attachment style and service engagement in Adult Mental Health (Student: Lucy Risk)
  • Time Perspective and Memory as a predictor of Mood States in Bipolar Disorders (Student: Melanie Suettman)

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 in a number of randomised ocntrolled trials to develop  psycholgical interventions for severe mental health problems. 

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 experiences 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.

Research activities

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