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Bryony Sheaves

DPhil, DClinPsy, BSc, CPsychol

Research Clinical Psychologist

  • NIHR Post-doctoral Research Fellow
  • Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust)

My work aims to improve psychological treatments for people experiencing severe mental health problems, with a particular focus on i) distressing voices and ii) sleep disruption. 

I have developed a new psychological framework for understanding voice distress: reasons for listening to and believing derogatory and threatening voices. The framework was generated from lived experience (qualitative) interviews, alongside a lived experience advisory panel, and quantitatively tested in a group of over 500 NHS patients who hear voices. I aim to use this understanding to inform cognitive behavioural treatment developments. I am currently working as the Oxford site lead for the NIHR/MRC EME funded multi-site trial Talking with Voices II, led by Dr Eleanor Longden. The trial is testing a novel psychological therapy that aims to improve the relationship between the patient and distressing voices that they hear. 

I have worked on a range of studies led by Prof Freeman, which have demonstrated that sleep disruption is one contributory cause of mental health problems, including paranoia and hallucinatory experiences (e.g. the OASIS trial). Building on this, I led a pilot randomised controlled trial which demonstrated that a brief intensive sleep treatment on acute inpatient wards was feasible, acceptable and led to promising reductions in insomnia and the duration of admission (OWLS trial). I have a particular interest in nightmares, their causes and relationship with mental health problems. Our pilot RCT demonstrated that a brief CBT intervention for nightmares showed promising reductions in nightmares, insomnia and paranoia in a group of patients experiencing persecutory delusions (NIteS).

I am committed to sharing the learnings from our research with clinicians, patients and the general public. Our animation on the challenges and opportunities of being around people whilst hearing derogatory and threatening voices is below. I deliver workshops to NHS clinicians, and our sleep treatment on inpatient wards is described in an openly accessible research paper

I am an HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist and hold an honorary clinical contract with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. I completed my doctorate in clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, following which I joined the Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis research group as part of the Wellcome Trust funded Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. I have since been funded by an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship and a Development and Skills Enhancement Award.   



Coping with voices: Being with people

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