Dr Filippo Varese PhD, ClinPsyD

Clinical Lecturer in Psychology

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Overview

I am a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychology and an NIHR Advanced Fellow at the University of Manchester. I contribute to Clinical Psychology and research methods teaching on the BSc Psychology, MSc Clinical & Health Psychology and ClinPsyD programmes. I also supervise several doctoral research project carried out by PhD students within the Division of Psychology and Mental Health.  

Since 2018, I have been the Director of the Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit (C-TRU). C-TRU is a collaboration between the University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust which aims to improve understanding and clinical innovation of trauma, complex trauma and related mental health needs in the NHS. The unit is led by established clinical researchers in Manchester (co-Directors Sandra Bucci, Katherine Berry, Richard Brown and Eleanor Longden) and actively works with NHS stakeholders and survivors of complex traumatic experiences in the design and delivery of impactful research. 

I have expertise in a variety of quantitative research methods, including meta-analysis, questionnaire/survey methods, experience sampling, secondary analysis of epidemiological datasets and experimental psychopathology. My research interests focus on three areas:

1) The psychological and cognitive underpinnings of psychotic experiences (in particular auditory verbal hallucinations) in non-clinical and clinical populations;

2) The impact of adverse life experiences (e.g. childhood trauma) on severe mental difficulties (e.g. psychosis), and the psychological mechanisms that might account for these associations;

3) The development and evaluation of psychosocial interventions for psychosis/severe mental health problems and trauma-related difficulties, including trauma-focused and trauma-informed approaches.

In 2021, I have received an NIHR Advanced Fellowship to lead a 4-year programme of research focused on clarifying the impact of trauma and adverse life experiences on people at ultra high risk for psychosis, and the value of trauma therapy in this at-risk group. I also lead research projects funded by several NIHR programmes, including the RfPB-funded EASE trial (a feasibility randomised controlled trial of an adapted “EMDR for psychosis” protocol for clients with first episode psychosis), the HTA-funded IMPART project (an individual patient data meta-analysis to identify individual modifiers of treatment response in cognitive behavioural interventions for psychosis and clarify under which conditions Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis might be more or less effective), the HS&DR-funded 'Resilience Hubs evaluation' (a multi-site, mixed-methods evaluation of NHS services dedicated to supporting essential keyworkers whose mental health has been affected by the personal and professional challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic) and I am co-leading with Professor Alison Yung the HTA-funded IPPACT project (a programme of research that aims to develop clinically useful prognostic tools for identifying those at the highest risk of developing psychosis and evaluate their use in routine NHS settings). I am also a co-investigator on several other clinical trials,  including the STAR trial (an HTA-funded, multi-site randomised controlled trial of trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychosis led by Professor Emmanuelle Peters; KCL), an EME-funded research programme examining the mechanisms of action of the STAR trial intervention, the PICASSO trial (a clinical trial led by Professor Thanos Karatzias to evaluate psychological interventions for Complex PTSD in people with psychosis, funded by the Scottish Chief Scientist Office) and the i-Minds trial (an HS&DR-funded clinical trial led by Professor Sandra Bucci to develop and evaluate digital interventions to support survivors on online childhood sexual abuse). 

I supervise several PhD students funded through competitive funding schemes, including ESRC doctoral training partnerships and University of Manchester Research Impact Scholarship awards.   

Qualifications

2014 - Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (ClinPsyD); University of Manchester

2012 - PhD in Psychology; University of Wales, Bangor 

2007 - MRes in Psychology; University of Manchester

2006 - Laura Triennale (BSc) in Psychology; University of Parma (IT)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies(BABCP)

British Psychological Society (BPS)

Early Intervention in Mental Health network (IEPA)

IEPA · Early Intervention in Mental Health

External positions

Director - Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit (C-TRU), Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Aug 2017 → …

External examiner for the University College London (UCL) Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) programme, University College London (UCL)

Jul 2016Jul 2018

Expert panel member for the Undergraduate Awards (Psychology board), The University of Manchester

Jun 2016Jun 2017

External examiner for the Royal Holloway University of London Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) programme, Royal Holloway, University of London

Jun 2015Jun 2018

Areas of expertise

  • BF Psychology - Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Clinical Psychology, Hallucinations, Trauma, Meta-analysis

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2014 - Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Voices, conflict and personal goals: A Perceptual Control Theory perspective on auditory verbal hallucinations, The University of Manchester (2011 - 2014)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Cognitive, metacognitive and dissociative factors underling psychotic hallucinations and hallucination-proneness, Bangor University (2007 - 2011)
  • Master of Research, Dispositional mindfulness, attentional control and selective attention, The University of Manchester (2006 - 2007)
  • Bachelor of Science, Attentional biases in anxiety, University of Parma (2002 - 2006)

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