richard hallam

My main career path has been in the field of clinical psychology. I have practised cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) since the 1960s, almost from the beginning of the movement. After qualifying in 1966 at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, I spent eighteen months in Canada, first at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and then assisting with research being conducted by Brenda Milner and Laughlin Taylor at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Since then, I have devoted my energies more or less equally between teaching, research and practice, often on different topics, so it seems best to divide up my biography into sections.

* Clinical Psychology – teaching
I returned to the UK to complete a PhD on applications of conditioning processes in behaviour therapy under the supervision of Jack Rachman (1969-72). Soon afterwards, I worked with Isaac Marks and Joe Connolly to set up a clinic in which nurses were trained in behaviour therapy, one of the first schemes of its kind (1972-75). I contributed to the development of National Curricula and therefore towards establishing this nursing specialty.

Over the next 25 years I taught part-time on two London postgraduate clinical psychology training courses, first helping to set up the MSc at North East London Polytechnic with Andrée Liddell and Martyn Baker (1975-78). To complement our teaching, we offered CBT and other therapies in a community clinic in Silvertown, London Docklands, one of the first ventures of clinical psychology into Primary Care. Later, I taught in the University College and Middlesex Hospital Medical School (Department of Psychiatry) and then moved on in 1987 to the Psychology Department at UCL. Here I joined the clinical psychology course team, acting as research tutor at the start of the North Thames training scheme, and for their doctoral programme. I returned to the University of East London (1992) also in the role of research tutor, and helped to inaugurate their doctoral course (1992-2001).

* Clinical Psychology – practice
My practice was until 2005 in the British National Health Service and I have worked in the following areas: services for children and adolescents, inpatient and outpatient psychiatry, primary care, inpatient psychosomatic medicine, drug and alcohol services, and audiological medicine. I devoted most of my time to the latter field, working chiefly with two audiological physicians, the late Ronald Hinchcliffe and S D G Stephens at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in London (1981-88). With psychology colleagues Simon Jakes and Laurence Mackenna, I developed pioneering clinical psychology services for tinnitus, disorders of balance, and hearing loss. With Jack Rachman, I published a psychological model of habituation to tinnitus that has stimulated a great deal of subsequent research, also forming the theoretical basis of a self-help book I had published in 1989. This has now been translated into Swedish, German, and Dutch. I have also researched attitudes towards hearing loss and the use of hearing aids (1997-98) and with the LINK charity for people affected by profound or total loss of hearing acquired in adulthood, the effect on family life and communication (2002-2005). In collaboration with the One Clear Vision charity (2014-16) I helped develop a questionnaire to assess the effects of 'floaters'.

While working in the NHS Camden and Islington Psychology Service and in St Ann’s Hospital, Haringey, my clinical interest switched to people with life-long problems and to the application of schema-focused cognitive therapy.

* Clinical Psychology Research
My early publications were on the theoretical basis of CBT and on problems of anxiety, especially panic attacks and agoraphobia. My ideas came largely from research conducted within clinical settings but, with Jack Rachman, I also researched fear and courage in military bomb disposal officers (1979-80). In 1985, I wrote a theoretical survey of the field of clinical anxiety, published by Academic Press, and in 1989, a manual of therapeutic techniques, published by Sage in their popular series for counsellors. I also became more interested in obsessions and compulsions and began to experiment with dialogical (role-playing) techniques, publishing articles in this area with Kieron O’Connor, who has developed a related narrative approach at the Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin in Montreal. I consider the process of formulating individual problems to be an important and somewhat underrated skill and have now published a book entitled 'Individual Case Formulation' (Academic Press, 2013).

* Research in the constructionist tradition
Somewhat dissatisfied with the scope of psychological theory, I studied for an MSc in Social Anthropology at UCL (1980). This influenced my understanding of anxiety, which I came to view as a reified metaphor, a perspective previously suggested by Theodore Sarbin. I wrote a chapter dealing with anxiety as a socially constructed concept for a book entitled ‘Constructing the social’ edited by Ted Sarbin and John Kitsuse (Sage, 1992). I also began to reconceptualise ‘self’ along similar lines, jointly publishing these ideas with Kieron O’Connor (‘Sorcery of the self’, 2000). I have now written about ‘person’ and ‘self’ from several disciplinary angles (‘Virtual Selves, Real Persons: A Dialogue Across Disciplines’, Cambridge University Press, 2009).

* SciArt collaborations

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All content © Richard Hallam 2009-2018