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Prof Marc Serfaty
Wing B
6th Floor Maple House,
149 Tottenham Court Road,
W1T 7NF.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 9712
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7679 9426
Prof Marc Serfaty profile picture
  • Professor of Psychotherapy Research
  • Epidemiology & Applied Clinical Research
  • Division of Psychiatry
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Qualifications:  Dr Serfaty's completed an intercalated BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (physiology) at St Andrews University (1978-1982). He achieved at least a Merit in every exam taken.  His clinical training (MBChB) was at Manchester University (1982-1985), working as a houseman and then as a lecturer in Anatomy for a year. He started trained in Psychiatry at Edinburgh University, as a rotational registrar (1987-1991),  completing a Master of Philosophy degree (MPhil) investigating benzodiazepine suicides and parasuicides. He was a Senior Registrar and Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1991-1996), and also trained as a CBT therapist at the Newcastle Cognitive Therapy centre and obtained a distinction (CertCBT). He is a British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists (BABCP accred). While Senior Lecturer at UCL (1996-2013) he completed a Doctorate (MD Res) titled: “The use of melatonin for sleep disturbance in depression and dementia.” He is a qualified university teacher, as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).  In 2013 Dr Serfaty was promoted to clinical reader in Psychiatry at UCL.  In 2016 he gained the title of Fellow of the BABCP (FBABCP) awarded to 1-3 people a year for their contribution to teaching and research in CBT.

Clinical: He has over 32 years of experience working as a psychiatrist.  His current clinical post is at the Priory Hospital North London (PHNL), an independent health care organisation which funding his Associate Professorship at UCL.  He has ensured PHNL is a teaching hospital, linked to UCL. He is Lead Consultant for day care and supervises CBT therapists and psychology students in their practice. He is a member of the Royal college of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych).  He is recognised under section 12 of the Mental Health Act, by the secretary of State as an Approved Clinician and is also on the GMC register as specialist in psychiatry.

Teaching:  He has extensively contributed to both under and post graduate medical training and is an examiner for UCL and is a joint collaborator in running the depression and anxiety module in UCLs MSc in Psychiatry.

Administrative:  Dr Serfaty is a UCL examiner.  He is currently on the General Board of the National Institute of Health Research-Health Technologies Assessment Programme.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Dr Serfaty is a specialist in CBT and has completed funded Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), in people excluded from receiving care; older people, cancer patients, eating disorders, people with intellectual disabilities, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and older victims of crime. He is also a specialist in new 3rd wave CBT, called Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), which helps people engage in things that are important to them and face their fears.  He has conducted novel and pioneering work through RCTs:
1.Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) for anorexia nervosa informing NICE guidelines.  Results: dietary advice alone is not beneficial;
2.CBT by email for bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Results: email helps with engagement;
3.CBT versus aromatherapy massage for depression and anxiety in cancer.  Results: CBT appears promising;
4.CBT for depression in older people.  Results: individual CBT effective, dispelling the prejudice that “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks”.  Improvement was not due to common factors in therapy, but rather specific CBT techniques.
5.Dr Serfaty's Doctoral work (MD Res).  Melatonin for sleep disturbance in dementia and depression and suggested no effect in dementia, but a trend towards improvement in mood in depression.
6.Helping Aged Victims of Crime (HAVoC), the impact of crime (trauma) in older people may benefit from a  CBT based Victim Improvement Package (VIP).
7.CBT, for anxiety and depression in Intellectual Difficulties. Results:  CBT appears promising.
8.CBT for depression in advanced cancer, delivered through IAPT may not be effective treatment.

Currently research/collaborations:
1. CanTalk: A national UK study investigating the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBT in people with advanced cancer and depression.
2. CanACT:  A pilot trial of a third wave CBT, ACT in people with cancer in palliative care. 
3. The VIP trial; A joint collaboration with the metropolitan Police and Mind using a Victim Improvement Package for older victims of crime.  He is Chief Investigator.
4. ToSCA: a Trial of Sertraline versus Cognitive behaviour therapy for generalised Anxiety disorder.  This feasiblity work shows it was difficult to recruit people from IAPT.
5. DOSID: (CA) Disturbances of Sleep in Dementia; He is co-investigator on a feasibility study of light therapy in dementia.
6. FACTOID: A feasibility study of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for older people with treatment -resistant generalised anxiety disorder.
7.  ElecConf: Service users and clinicians perspectives on electronic records versus paper records; mixed methods to examine choice around medical confidentiality and behaviour . 
Planned research:
8. BeWell:  Cognitive Grief Therapy for wellbeing for bereavement in palliative care.
9.  PallACT: An RCT into the clinical and cost effectiveness of ACT for dysfunction in patients in palliative care.
10. COMMEND: A feasibility study and RCT of acceptance and COMmitment therapy for people with Motor nEuroNe Disease.
11.  BLIMI: An RCT of blue blocking glasses compared to non-blue blocking glasses as an adjunctive treatment for mania: clinical and cost effectiveness.
12.  CBTHYPEM:  An RCT of CBT versus Hypnotherapy for treating a Specific Phobia of Vomiting (emetophobia).

Teaching Summary

Dr Serfaty is an accredited teacher and Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Post graduate teaching:
1996-2006 (i) He set up the MRCPsych Academic post graduate psychiatric trainee programme, developed to be consistent with the syllabus detailed by the Royal college of psychiatrists.  It was regarded as one of the best academic training programme in the UK which achieved consistently high pass rates on the theory papers for candidates sitting the MRCPsych exam. Elements of this are still used as the template for the MRCPsych course at UCL. (ii) He was responsible for the psychotherapy academic programme on the MRCPsych course, where he introduced novel and up to date psychotherapeutic interventions onto the training programme, including interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). (iii) He consistently achieved extremely high ratings for teaching on the MRCPsych course.


(i)  Dr Serfaty has a liaison role between UCL and Priory group, an independent health care provider. Delivering medical education in Primary care: He conducts regular lectures in primary care to GPs and to GP training schemes on behalf of UCL and PHNL. Talks have included seminars on CBT for depression, anxiety and panic, CBT for Cancer, Sleep problems, CBT for eating disorders and obesity, Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and work related stress. These seminars consistently achieve high ratings and disseminate findings from research at UCL.

(ii) Dr Serfaty supervises and teaches psychotherapy practitioners at the Priory Hospital North London weekly, encouraging them to practice new skills using role plays.

(iii)  Dr Serfaty has been actively involved in disseminating knowledge in ACT, including delivering talks at national and international conferences to mental health practitioners.

(iv) Dr Serfaty has been involved in training specialist psychologists in how to apply their skills to people with cancer.  This includes training “Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)” therapists across the UK, as well as the application of ACT to specialists in this field. (v) Dr Serfaty supervises a PhD student on the CanACT study and is planning to supervise another PhD student for the VIP trial.  (vi) Dr Serfaty is mentor to 2 MSc in Psychiatry students and in collaboration with Prof Lewis and Dr Billings, has organised the depression and anxiety module of the MSc in psychiatry.

Undergraduate teaching:
2006- Currently:  Dr Serfaty is the academic tutor for 3 cohorts of 4 medical students sent to the Priory Hospital North London from the UCL every year as part of the medical student rotation, having set up the undergraduate training package for medical students, which has consistently received high ratings through independent on line feedback.

01-OCT-2013 Clinical Reader in Psychiatry Mental Health Unit UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 – 30-SEP-2013 Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry Research Department of Mental Health Sciences UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 Consultant Psychiatrist Priory Hospital North London Priory Group, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2006   Doctor of Medicine University College London
1999   Diploma Not stated
1993   Certificate Newcastle University
1993   Master of Philosophy University of Edinburgh
1991   Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Royal College of Psychiatrists
1985   Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery University of Manchester
1982   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of St Andrews
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