School of Psychology

Staff Profiles

Dr Lucy Robinson

Lecturer

Background

I am a lecturer in Clinical Psychology on the Newcastle Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme. I joined the team in April 2017 from a clinical academic fellowship in Academic Psychiatry and the Regional Affective Disorders Service (RADS). I have a research and clinical interest in idiographic (person-specific) methods in mental health, including finding innovative ways to map out individual experience, such as dynamic network modelling. I also have an interest in interoception and individuals' perceptions of and reactions to their internal states. I am especially interested in how this relates to people's experience of distressing physical complaints and the role it may play in Persistent Physical Symptoms (sometimes called Medically Unexplained Symptoms or Functional Syndromes). 

Before my clinical training, my PhD studies investigated neuropsychological function in Bipolar Disorder and I continue to have an interest in this area - especially metacognition and the way in which people come to understand their degree of cognitive ability and how this impacts on their daily functioning.

 

Qualifications:
2010-2013 Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Newcastle University, School of Psychology

2005-2010 PhD – Neuropsychological Performance, Emotion Processing and Psychosocial Function in Bipolar Disorder, Newcastle University, Institute of Neuroscience (Academic Psychiatry)

2002-2005 BSc (Hons) Psychology – 1st Class, Newcastle University

1999-2002 BA (Hons) Economics – 1st Class, University of Durham

 

Esteem indicators:
2015- External Examiner for University College London Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Awards & Prizes:
2012 Associate Fellowship of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)

Feb 2006 Robert Fischl Postgraduate Travel Award

July 2005 Mary Mckinnon Prize – Awarded by Newcastle University to the student with the highest overall mark

July 2005 British Psychological Society Award for Undergraduate Psychology – Awarded by the British Psychological Society to the student with the best performance in clinically relevant modules

Research Funding:
April 2014 Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust - Research Capability Funding (£15,192)
Durham, J. & Robinson, L.J. Exploring Dysautonomia’s Relationship with Catastrophisation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

April 2012 Mental Health Foundation - Small-scale research grant
Freeston, M. H., Robinson, L. J., Harenwall, S., Zhao-O’Brien, J., Bottesi, G. Psychological processes in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

April 2012 NTW Mental Health NHS Research & Development department; research grant (£1,000)
Freeston, M. H., Robinson, L. J., Harenwall, S., Zhao-O’Brien, J., Bottesi, G. Psychological processes in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Dec 2006 Mental Health Foundation - Small-scale research grant
Gallagher, P., Barton, S., Freeston, M., Armstrong, P., Belshaw, T., Gray, J. M., Robinson, L. J., McAllister-Williams, R. H. CBT early intervention for treatment-resistant depression: potential neuroendocrine markers of response

Jan 2006 Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland Mental Health NHS Research & Development department - Research grant
Robinson, L. J., Gallagher, P., Cousins, D. A., Corcoran, C., Fergusson, A., Gray, J. M., Ferrier, I. N. Factors influencing functional outcome in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder
 

Research

Whilst our understanding of various mental health difficulties has increased greatly over time, there are still a large number of people living with psychological distress that current treatments do not help. I am interested in understanding more about person-specific ways in which distress is caused and maintained in the hope we can find better ways of tailoring interventions to a specific individual. The aim of this personalised medicine approach for mental health is to bring the right treatment to the right person more quickly and achieve better outcomes than the current practice of working through a sequential series of treatment steps.


I am interested in any methods that further this endeavour. At the moment, network analysis and especially dynamic network modelling, hold great promise for bringing a different perspective to how we study mental health. The network approach conceptualises mental health difficulties as arising from mutually causal elements rather than the observed features (such as change in mood, fatigue, withdrawal, negative thoughts, changes in appetite) resulting from an unseen 'common cause'. For example, from a network perspective. depression would result from a series of causal interactions between experiences, thoughts, beliefs, behaviours, physiology and biology. This in contrast to established ways of thinking about disorders as a simple consequence of some central cause that triggers all of the symptoms. This opens the door to exploring the relationship between elements to identify causal and maintenance patterns and frees us up from specific syndromes as the units of interest (we know that many broad syndromes are comorbid, partly due to overlapping definitions, but also because the development of certain maintenance cycles can have knock on consequences that develop further maintenance cycles of distressing experiences). This has the potential to allow us to test whether some of our existing models are a reasonable account of what happens in mental health problems and will hopefully allow us to develop insights into maintenance mechanisms that are currently untargeted by existing treatments.


I have a number of projects underway collecting individual-level data and will be establishing a clinical dataset of ecological momentary assessment data on patients referred for treatment for depression and anxiety from January 2018.


I also have an interest in interoception and individuals' perceptions of and reactions to their internal states. I am especially interested in how this relates to people's experience of distressing physical complaints and the role it may play in Persistent Physical Symptoms (sometimes called Medically Unexplained Symptoms or Functional Syndromes). 


Before my clinical training, my PhD studies investigated neuropsychological function in Bipolar Disorder and I continue to have an interest in this area - especially metacognition and the way in which people come to understand their degree of cognitive ability and how this impacts on their daily functioning.

Teaching

I teach evidence based practice, experimental design and research methods on the DClinPsy course.

I am also lead for the Service-Based Project.

Publications