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Dr Amy Harrison
Room 201
25 Woburn Square
Dr Amy Harrison profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • IOE - Psychology & Human Development
  • UCL Institute of Education

I completed my PhD at King's College London with Prof Janet Treasure OBE and Prof Kate Tchanturia on Cognitive Styles and Emotional Functioning in Eating Disorders. 

I trained as a Clinical Psychologist at King's College London and worked for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in their specialist eating disorder services and at a specialist child and adolescent eating disorder service where I developed the psychological therapy service. 

I joined UCL in 2016 wanting to develop my research further. To achieve this, I set up the FRIENDS lab (Furthering Research into Eating Disorders and Social Skills) and the work of this lab aims to understand the basic science underpinning the difficulties with social life that people with eating disorders often experience and to then use this knowledge to develop innovative training/coaching packages to help people develop their social skills and confidence to make better use of social support to aid their recovery. 

Research Themes
Research Summary

My research focuses on understanding the cognitive and social emotional factors that maintain eating disorders and translating this research into novel treatment adjuncts for people with the most severe and complex forms of eating disorder. 

My work has demonstrated that people with eating disorders have strengths for processing information by focusing on small details and that they are able to stick to rules more closely than their unaffected peers. My research has shown that this can make bigger picture and flexible thinking more challenging and that the more detail focused and inflexible the cognitive style, the more severe and enduring the illness. These findings have been translated into clinical practice and I have conducted one of the largest randomised controlled trials in the child and adolescent literature exploring how Cognitive Remediation Therapy might help young people with these skills as part of their recovery. 
My work has also shown that people with eating disorders have challenges in recognising and regulating emotions, particularly anger and disgust and I have begun to uncover some of the reasons, why, in my studies, both adults and young people with eating disorders have reported significant difficulties with their social lives and social skills. I have conducted innovative studies using eye-tracking and observational methodologies to better understand the social skills that might be more challenging for people with eating disorders with the aim of using this knowledge to support people to make better use of social support to facilitate their recovery. 
I have developed and tested novel treatment enhancers which target intolerance of uncertainty and use positive psychology to help improve quality of life in eating disorders.

Current Projects
My Medical Research Council funded project explores how decision making under conditions of risk might contribute to the later onset of eating disorder symptoms. 

My BA/Leverhulme funded project uses EEG to investigate emotional functioning in people with bulimia nervosa. 

I collaborate with researchers from around the world to find solutions to the challenges that people with eating disorders report with their social emotional functioning.

Teaching Summary

My teaching areas focus on clinical psychology and research training through supervision of undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral level students. 

I lead and teach the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Applications and Practice module (PHDE0069). I also lead the Psychology: The Science of Behaviour 1 module (PHDE0067). 

24-JUN-2019 Associate Professor in Psychology Psychology and Human Development University College London, United Kingdom
01-APR-2018 Lecturer Psychology and Human Development UCL, United Kingdom
31-OCT-2016 – 30-MAR-2018 Teaching Fellow Psychology and Human Development UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2013   Doctorate in Clinical Psychology King's College London
2010   Doctor of Philosophy King's College London
2006   Master of Psychology University of Manchester
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