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Daniel Freeman

PhD DClinPsy CPsychol FBPsS FBA

Chair of Psychology

  • Lead, Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis (O-CAP)
  • National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator
  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Psychological therapies theme co-lead, NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre
  • Founder of Oxford VR
  • Professorial Fellow, Magdalen College Oxford
  • Fellow, British Psychological Society
  • Fellow, British Academy

My work aims to help improve the lives of people with mental health conditions by developing, testing, and implementing new cognitive-behavioural interventions. A key focus is on paranoia. Over the past decade I have developed the most effective psychological therapy for persecutory delusions: the Feeling Safe programme. This is a translational treatment built upon advances by my research group in the theoretical understanding of paranoia.

I have pioneered the use of virtual reality (VR) to assess, understand, and treat mental health conditions. These treatments are automated: a virtual therapist guides the patient through the program. This means the interventions can be supported by a range of staff, thereby increasing access to effective psychological therapy. gameChange, a ground-breaking VR treatment for people with psychosis, is now being used in mental health services in the UK and USA. Development of gameChange was supported by the inaugural National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR) Invention for Innovation Mental Health Challenge Award.

My current work includes producing a more accessible version of the landmark Feeling Safe programme (Feeling Safer); conducting a clinical trial of a new automated VR therapy for young patients with psychosis (Phoenix); developing and testing a new automated VR therapy for needle fears; running a large multi-centre clinical trial testing the effects of treating sleep difficulties in patients with psychosis (Sleeping Better); a randomised controlled trial evaluating psychological therapy for patients at crisis with suicidal ideation (RAPID); and carrying out new psychological studies of paranoia, grandiose delusions, and hallucinations. My research has been supported by the NIHR, UK Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Wellcome Trust.

I studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge and then completed a PhD and a doctorate in clinical psychology (DClinPsy) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. I have held a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, a Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellowship, and an NIHR Research Professorship. In 2011 I moved to the University of Oxford as Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and set up the Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis (O-CAP) research group.

I joined the Department of Experimental Psychology in 2023 to hold the Chair of Psychology. I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, an NIHR Senior Investigator, founder of the University spinout Oxford VR, Professorial Fellow at Magdalen College Oxford, and Fellow of the British Academy. I am the recipient of the 2020 British Psychological Society Presidents' Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge.

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