Health psychology research

We investigate, from a psychological perspective, a variety of phenomena that fall within the general label of holistic health and well-being.

We use psychological research methods to investigate a range of topics including placebos, contextual models of psychotherapy, complementary and alternative medicine, spirituality, self-help, positive psychology and complexity.

Study with us for a postgraduate degree

Graduates from the UK and the rest of the world can apply to join us. Most of our postgraduates have a psychology degree but graduates with other first degrees have joined our group.

We seek applicants who:

  • have a strong motivation and commitment to do research that is challenging and has practical implications
  • have evidence of critical thinking
  • are open minded and have the ability to consider multiple perspectives. We avoid assumptions about the superiority of one particular therapy or belief system.

Although the above characteristics are highly desirable, in practice successful postgraduates are people who are well organised and are able to give full attention to the less interesting as well as the more interesting aspects of research. It would seem that overall aptitude for research, including attention to detail, is more important than the background of prior training.

This research group is not suitable for those who wish to demonstrate the usefulness or superiority of a particular therapeutic approach.


We do not have our own funding. The University of Plymouth has a highly competitive scholarship scheme and there are external grant giving bodies who fund UK residents. Students from overseas may have other funding opportunities. 

We'll help suitable applicants prepare a grant application, for example, discussing research ideas. Do postgraduates need to come with a research idea? No. We support novel and challenging research. Applicants should have a commitment to an area of research or topic, but it is very difficult for graduates to be able to identify 'leading edge' research.