Professor Willem Kuyken
Professor of Clinical Psychology


Willem Kuyken is Professor of Clinical Psychology.  His work is focussed on mood disorders and evidence-based approaches to mood disorders. The aim is to better understand depression and translate this understanding into cost-effective approaches to preventing and treating depression, off-setting the distress and disability associated with depression and improving the long-term course of depression and quality of life of people who suffer depression. His research and teaching are primarily on mindfulness-based approaches and individualizing evidence-based therapies through collaborative case conceptualization.

Professor Kuyken‘s work tends to be part of collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams, including colleagues with a range of strengths and specialist expertise. For example, the Exeter Mindfulness Network brings together researchers, mindfulness teachers and health / social care / education professionals. These teams typically include people with lived experience of depression, whose personal experiences inform each stage of the research and treatment development process. All of his work is informed by a longstanding personal mindfulness practice in the Vipassana tradition.


Professor Kuyken’s specialist expertise as a clinical psychologist / psychological therapist is in cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. His research expertise is in clinical trials, mechanisms of change in psychological therapies, experimental clinical research and qualitative research. His management approach is informed by the work of Stephen Covey.

BSc Psychology (University College London)

PhD Psychology (London)

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (South Thames)


Professor Kuyken is a research clinical psychologist, with a PhD from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London (1992) and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Salomon‘s Clinical Psychology Training Programme (1997). After completing his PhD and clinical training he worked for two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania / Beck Institute with Aaron T. Beck (1997-1999).

Since 1999 he has worked in Exeter, England.  He has held a number of roles including heading up the doctoral clinical psychology training programme (2001-2004), leading the clinical research group (2001 – 2010) and Academic Lead for the clinical academic staff (2010-date). 

In 2006 he was awarded the May Davidson award for clinical psychologists who “have made an outstanding contribution to the development of clinical psychology within the first 10 years of their work as a qualified clinical psychologist.” In 2008 he co-founded the Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapies which was broadened in 2011 to include a Masters in Mindfulness-based Approaches. He is a "grand-fathered" Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

In 2004 he co-founded the Mood Disorders Centre, a research, clinical and training centre that aims to better understand depression, translate that understanding into accessible evidence-based therapies and improve access to these therapies for people who suffer depression. He directed the Centre through its formative years from 2004 to 2012.

In 2012 he co-founded the Exeter Mindfulness Network that has the intention to reduce human suffering, promote well-being and create the conditions in which people can flourish. The network brings together researchers, mindfulness teachers, dharma teachers and health, education and social care professionals.


Research group links

Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1392 4659
Fax(+44) 1392 722423
BuildingWashington Singer
AddressWashington Singer Laboratories
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter

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