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Professor Chris Brewin

Clinical psychology; phenomenology, diagnosis, neural basis, & treatment of depression & post-traumatic stress disorder; psychological care following major incidents
Professor of Clinical Psychology, University College London
I am a Professor of Psychology at University College London and a practising clinical psychologist treating patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using cognitive-behavioural methods. Our theory of PTSD claims that people lay down traumatic memories in both an image-based form (underlying involuntary flashbacks) and a more abstract, contextualised form (underlying narrative memories of trauma). The theory is supported with clinical, experimental and neuroscientific data. More recent research has used immersive virtual reality to treat depression. As an expert on memory and trauma I have since the 1990s been a prominent advocate for a balanced, scientifically grounded position on the false/recovered memory debate and I continue to act as an expert witness in such cases. After the London bombings I was involved in designing a unique outreach programme to ensure survivors recovered and I continue to advise Government on mental health after major incidents. I also contributed to recent international changes to the diagnosis of PTSD and to mental health provision for military veterans as honorary Consultant Advisor in Clinical Psychology to the British Army. I am a trustee of the Centre for Emotion and Law, a charity that informs the legal system about psychological evidence on memory.
Past appointments
  • 2018 -
Principal publications
  • Intrusive images and memories in psychological disorders: Characteristics, neural basis, and treatment implications Psychological Review 2010, 117, 210-232
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder: Malady or myth? New Haven: Yale University 2003
  • Imagery rescripting as a brief stand-alone treatment for depressed patients with intrusive memories Behaviour Research and Therapy 2009, 47, 569-576
  • Episodic memory, perceptual memory, and their interaction: Foundations for a theory of posttraumatic stress disorder Psychological Bulletin 2014, 140, 69-97
  • Psychopathology and early experience - a reappraisal of retrospective reports Psychological Bulletin 1993, 113, 82-98.
  • Embodying self-compassion within virtual reality and its effects on patients with depression British Journal of Psychiatry Open 2016, 2, 74-80

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