Dr Barney Dunn
Washington Singer 118
Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK
Broad research specialisms
- Positive emotion regulation in mood disorders
I am a research clinical psychologist with a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2002) and a doctorate in clinical psychology from University College London (2004). After completing my PhD and clinical training, I worked as a Senior Investigator Scientist in the Emotion Group at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge until April 2012. During this time I cofounded the Cambridge Clinical Research Centre in Affective Disorders, which conducts translational research to better understand and treat anxiety and depression. I served as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London, teaching and supervising research projects on the doctoral clinical psychology programme there. In May 2012 I joined the Mood Disorders Centre at Exeter University as an Associate Professor. In January 2018 I was promoted to Professor. From January 2015 to January 2020 my research will be supported by an National Institute of Health Research Career Development Fellowship.
I am a chartered clinical psychologist, registered with the Health Professions Council. My clinical interests currently primarily focus on developing ways of working with anhedonia in depression (see Augmented Depression Therapy project below). I am also broadly interested in treating emotion and interpersonal difficulties in clients with depression and personality disorders, using a mixture of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). I completed my CAT practitioner training in 2007 in Oxford. I was a Beck Institute Scholar in 2013, receiving training and supervision at the Beck Cognitive Therapy Institute in Philadelphia, US. I was awarded diplomate membership of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in 2013 and accreditation as a CBT therapist by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) in 2015.
At the Mood Disorders Centre, I am the co-lead for the AccEPT clinic (an NHS commissioned service providing treatment for mood disorders). I currently act as joint research group lead for the clinical research group and am a member of the Positive Working Environment Group at the University of Exeter focusing on managing staff wellbeing and stress.I contribute to teaching on clinical psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels within Exeter and provide training workshops nationally. I served as the faculty representative to the Lived Experience Group (service users who consult on our research and governance and assist with our training) until Spring 2018. Externally, I currently am a training advocate for psychology for the NIHR and serve on the ICA pre doctoral fellowship panel for the NIHR.
I am interested in considering applications from potential PhD students wishing to work on clinically facing research projects. I am also interested in supporting NIHR facing fellowship applications from clinically trained individuals via the Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme.
BA (Hons) Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, 1997 (1st class)
PhD Cambridge University, 2002
DClinPsy University College London, 2004
Practitioner training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, 2007
Level A and B BPS certificate in occupational psychology testing, 2008
Diplomate member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, 2013 onwards.
Accreditation as CBT therapist by Academy of Cognitive Therapy, 2014 onwards.
Accreditation as a CBT therapist by BABCP, 2016 onwards.
Research group links
My research examines how people control their feelings, and how this can go awry in those suffering from depression. I am currently particularly interested in:
1. Understanding what underpins difficulties in experiencing positive emotions (anhedonia) in depression and developing novel treatments to target anhedonia
2. Examining whether mindfulness based cognitive therapy can be adapted to treat acute and residual depression.
I use a combination of experimental (cognitive tasks, psychophysiology) and naturalistic (diary and experience sampling) methods to try and connect up the laboratory with the real world. I am using this basic science work is to help develop novel interventions to supplement existing therapeutic strategies. At present, I am focusing on the development of Augmented Depression Therapy. To ensure these interventions re fit for the NHS context, I am using principles from implementation science to co-design my interventions alongside service-users, clinicians and clincial commissioners.
ADepT: A research study of Augmented Depression Therapy
From January 2015 to January 2020 my research will be supported by a National Institute of Health Research Career Development Fellowship. During the fellowship I plan to develop and evaluate a novel psychological treatment for depression (see the ADepT Project Page).
Co-investigator on NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Award. Title: "“The clinical and cost-effectiveness of adapted Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for Bipolar Mood Instability in primary care (ThrIVe-B programme): A feasibility study”. Amount £262,000. Duration 03/2017-03/2019.
Co- principal investigator on NHS funded award. Title: "AccEPT clinic Devon 2017/2019". Amount: £272, 272. Duration 04/2016- 04/2017.
Co- principal investigator on NHS funded award. Title: "AccEPT clinic Devon 2016/2017". Amount: £136, 136. Duration 04/2016- 04/2017.
Principal Investigator on NIHR Career Development Fellowship award. Title: "Improving depression treatment outcomes by better repairing positivity deficits: Development and pilot randomised controlled evaluation of a novel psychosocial therapy." Amount: £557,000. Duration 01/2015-12/2019.
Co-investigator on NHS funded award. Title: "AccEPT clinic Devon 2014/15". Amount: £272, 272. Duration 04/2014- 04/2016.
Principal Investigator on Wellcome Internal Strategic Support Fund award from University of Exeter. Title: "Do disturbances in reward system function predict current and future mood disorder symptoms and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours? A community cohort prospective study". Amount £67, 000. Duration: 01/2013-01/2014.
Co-investigator on NHS funded award. Title: "AccEPT Clinic Devon 2013/14". Amount £136,136, Duration: 04/2013-03/2014.
Collaborator on project supported by NIHR CLAHRC for the South West Peninsula, led by Professor Chris Dickens and Professor Willem Kuyken. Title: "Determining the feasibility and acceptability of mindfulness based interventions in depressed people with chronic physical health problems: A pilot study". Amount: £14,412. Duration: 2/2013-12/2013.
Part of consortium bidding for EPSRC capital expenditure grant, awarded to University of Exeter. Title: "Small items of research equipment at the University of Exeter: Amount: total grant £512,259 (my share £12,000). Duration: 09/2012-03/2012.
Collaborator on Medical Research Council intramural programme grant (2009-2013) awarded to Professor Tim Dalgleish. Title: "Cognitive efficiency and mental control: From basic processes to clinical interventions". Amount: £2.2 million. Duration: 07/2009-07/2013. I independently developed, wrote, and lead two research streams, including a stream on anhedonia.
Collaborator on Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist Fellowship, awarded to Dr. Richard Meiser-Stedman. Title: "Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as an early intervention for PTSD in youth: preliminary efficacy and mechanisms of action". Amount: £755,000. Duration: 09/2009 – 09/2013.
Collaborator on British Academy Small Grant awarded to Dr Luke Clark. Title: "Characterising Resilience: a Cognitive-Psychophysiological Approach". Amount: £7,309. Duration: 07/2008-07/2011.
Principal applicant on Royal Society Short Visit Grant. Title: "Understanding the Link Between Suppression and Intrusions in Clinical Depression". Amount £1,950. Duration:09/2008 – 12/2008.
On advisory board of ESRC grant awarded to Professor Peter Totterdale. Title: "Emotion Regulation of Others and Self: A collaborative research network". Amount: £2.1 million. Duration: 01/2008-01/2013.
Collaborator on Wellcome Trust project grant (2007). Grant holder: Bundy Mackintosh. Title: "Alleviating anxiety through Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM)". Amount: £270,367. Duration: 4 years (03/2007-03/2011).
Supervisor for Biomedical Vacation Scholarships scheme (2007). Grant Holder: Davy Evans. Title: "The role of body state feedback in mindfulness training". Amount: approximately £1000. Duration: 6 weeks (07/2007-08/2007).
John Campbell, Rod Taylor, Anne Spencer, Christabel Owens, David Richards, Kim Wright, Nigel Reed (all Exeter), Willem Kuyken (Oxford), Gerjo Kok and Nicole Geschwind (Maastricht), Michelle Moulds (UNSW), Richard Moore (Cambridge), Andy McLeod (Royal Holloway) - developing and evaluating Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT project).
Kim Wright (Exeter) - developing and evaluating a DBT approach for rapid cycling bipolar disorders(THRIVE project).
Thorsten Barnhofer (Exeter) - developing an adapted form of MBCT for treatment resistant depression.
Victoria Pile (IOP) - developing ain imagery based intervention for adolescent depression
Rob DeRubeis and Steve Hollon (Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt) - reanalysis of anhedonia outcomes of CBT depression trials
David Richards (University of Exeter) - secondary analysis of anhedonia outcomes of COBRA trial
Willem Kuyken and Chris Dickens (Oxford and Exeter) - developing mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression in context of chronic health conditions (HeLM project)
Aliza Werner-Seidler (Black Dog Institute, Sydney), Susanne Schweizer, Fionnuala Murphy (both Cambridge), Nicole Geschwind (Maastricht) - evaluating mechanisms driving anhedonia using basic science mechanisms.
Victoria Pile (IoP, London) - Developing a brief early intervention for adolescent depression.
Publications by category
Publications by year
External Engagement and Impact
Awards and distinctions
Beck Institute scholar in 2013, receiving CBT training and supervision at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
My 2012 article in Cognitive Affective and Behavioural Neuroscience was selected as article of the year in that journal for 2013 by Psychonomics Society ($1000 prize)
Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London (2005-2012)
Current committee roles:
NIHR advocate for psychology 2016 onwards
Member of multi-agency integrated psychological therapies workstream, setting and implementing strategy for psychological therapy provision in Devon 2015 onwards
Member of Dean for UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) faculty trainees advisory panel 2015 onwards
Member of NIHR ICA pre doctoral fellowship panel 2018 onwards
Past committee roles:
External examiner for Royal Holloway Doctorate in Clinical Psychology 2010-2014.
Member of Research Committee for Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy 2005-2008
British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology
British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy
Diplomate member of Academy of Cognitive Therapy
Regular journal reviewer, including for Psychological Science, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Emotion, and Behaviour Research and Therapy.
Regular grant reviewer for NIHR, ESRC and Wellcome Trust
Dunn, B. D., Galton, H., Morgan, R., Evans, D., Oliver, C., Meyer, M., Cusack, R., Lawrence, A. D., Dalgleish, T. (2010). Listening to your heart: How interoception shapes emotion experience and intuitive decision-making. Psychological Science, 21, 1835-1844. Covered in: National Geographic, Daily Mail, Time, Business week, Metro, Oprah Magazine (also featured in article in New Scientist).
Indovina, I., Robbins, T. W., Nunez-Elizalde, A. O., Dunn, B. D., & Bishop, S. J. (2011). Fear conditioning mechanisms associated with trait vulnerability to anxiety in humans. Neuron, 69, 563-571. Covered in: Fox News (Video Clip) Spiegel, ScienceDaily, Times of India
Dunn, B.D., Evans, D., Makarova, D., White, J., Clark, L. (2012). Gut feelings and the reaction to perceived inequity: the interplay between bodily responses, regulation, and perception shapes the rejection of unfair offers on the ultimatum game. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience,12, 419-429. Covered in Reuters
Dalgleish, T., Navrady, L., Bird, L., Hill, E., Dunn, B.D., Golden, A.M. (2013). Method-of-Loci as a mnemonic device to facilitate access to self-affirming personal memories for individuals with depression. Clinical Psychological Science. Covered on Radio 4’s “All in the Mind”
Organised Conference Symposia
BABCP 2017, Manchester. Positive emotion regulation in mood disorders.
BABCP, 2014, Birmingham. Understanding and treating disturbances in positive mood in mood disorders: From basic science to clinical intervention
ABCT, 2013, Marrakech. Positive Clinical Psychology Approaches to Mood Disorders
BABCP, 2011, Guildford. Exploring emotion regulation process in health and psychopathology
BABCP, 2010, Manchester. Understanding anhedonia and positive information processing in depression: From basic science to clinical intervention
BABCP 2007, Sussex: Role of the body in mood disorder and brain injury
Selected Conference Presentations
BABCP Annual conference, Glasgow, 2018. Should we be depressed about CBT outcomes for depression (panel debate)
International Conference on Mindfulness, Amsterdam, 2018. How Does Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Bolster Positive Affect and How is This Related To the Prevention of Depressive Relapse?
Key Note, BABCP Annual Conference, Manchester, 2017. Understanding and treating disturbances in positive mood in depression.
BABCP annual conference, Manchester, 2017. How well does Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy repair the residual symptoms of depression?
Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 2016. Improving capacity to treat anhedonia by identifying which mechanisms blunt pleasure experience in depression (keynote).
Association of Depression and Anxiety annual conference, Philadelphia, US, 2016 Cognitive Therapy and SSRI pharmacotherapy do not normalize positive affect.
Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy at 30 conference, 2014. Challenges and opportunities for Cognitive Analytic Therapy at 30.
Exploring mindfulness, neuroscience and eating disorders conference, Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group, University of Exeter, 2013. The importance of bodily awareness in anorexia: An interactive cognitive subsystems account.
Society for Experimental Social Psychology Conference, 2011. Does interoceptive accuracy influence cognitive-affective processing?
BABCP Annual Conference, 2011, Guildford. The pain of being on the outside: Exploring how dysphoric participants respond to social rejection
International Society for Research on Emotions, 2009, Leuven, Belgium. Somatic regulation of cognitive-affective processes in depression
Applied Positive Psychology Conference, 2009, Warwick. Follow your heart? Experimental investigations of whether mindfulness in part works by changing the relationship to the body
BABCP, 2008, Edinburgh. Obstacles to effective emotion regulation: Implications for CBT
World Congress of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies, 2007, Barcelona. Does emotional suppression help regulate affect when processing traumatic material?
BABCP, 2006, Warwick. Is emotional suppression a helpful or unhelpful form of affect regulation when processing traumatic material?
BABCP, 2003, York. Processing of discrete basic emotions in dysphoria and depression
Selected Departmental Presentations
University of Reading, 2017. The AccEPT clinic: An example of embedding psychological therapies research into routine NHS care.
University of Pennsylvania, US, 2015. Learning how to feel good in depression: Understanding and repairing anhedonia in depression.
Royal Holloway University, London, 2015: Learning how to feel good in depression: Understanding and repairing anhedonia in depression.
University of Ghent, 2014. Learning how to feel good in depression: Understanding and repairing anhedonia in depression.
University of Exeter, clinic think tank, 2014: Learning how to feel good in depression: Development of a novel psychosocial therapy.
University of Pennsylvania, 2013: A reanalysis of the the DeRubeis & Holldon Depression RCT.
University of Exeter, SEORG group, 2013: Examining interpersonal regulation in depression: A search for tractable methods.
University of Exeter Medical School Mental Health Research Group Seminar, 2013. Learning how to feel good: Understanding and treating the anhedonic symptoms of depression.
University of Exeter Clinical Research Facility, 2013. Do disturbances in reward system function predict current and future mood disorder symptoms and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours in the Exeter 10000?
Institute of Philosophy Workshop, London, 2011. Listening to your heart: Does interoceptive accuracy influence cognitive and affective processing?
Department of Philosophy Workshop, Exeter, 2011. Listening to your heart: How bodily response, perception and regulation processes shape emotion in health and mental illness
University of Manchester, 2011: Understanding positive emotion regulation disturbances in depression
Cambridge Clinical Research Centre in Affective Disorders, Cambridge, 2011 Finding ways to feel good: Positive emotion regulation disturbances in depression
University of New South Wales, Australia, 2010. Understanding anhedonia in depression
University of Exeter, 2010. Exploring bodily feedback mechanisms in psychopathology
Cambridge Neuroeconomics Workshop, 2009. Heartfelt emotions: How interoception shapes intuition.
University of East Anglia, 2009. Follow your heart? Examining the influence of bodily feedback on decision making and emotional experience in non-clinical and clinical populations
BABCP Spring workshop, 2009: Using the body to regulate emotions in CBT
University of New South Wales, Australia, 2008. Follow your heart? Examining the influence of bodily feedback on cognitive-emotional processing in healthy and mood disordered individuals
University of Louvain, Belgium, 2007. Follow your heart: Extending the Somatic Marker Hypothesis.
Selected Clinical Workshops
BABCP pre conference workshop, one day workshop on Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT), Glasgow, 2018.
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, one day workshop on treating anhedonia in depression. Cambridge, 2017.
Charlie Waller Institute, one day workshop on treating anhedonia in depression, Reading, 2017
University of East Anglia Master class on treating anhedonia in depression, Norwich, 2015
BABCP pre-conference workshop on building positive mood in depression, Warwick, 2015
IAPT High Intensity Master class on personality disorder in IAPT, Exeter, 2015.
BABCP Annual Conference. How to build positivity in depressed clients, half day skills workshop (co-facilitated with Richard Moore), 2014
High Intensity IAPT training, 2014. Managing personality disorder in an IAPT setting, one day skills workshop, Exeter 2014.
Selected Communication of Science and Public Engagement Activities
Speaker at Devon Partnership Trust Research Day, 2017
Wrote blog on embedding research in NHS practice as part of NIHR 'I am research campaign', 2017
Featured as a video case study on how to build a clinical trials career by NIHR
Co-organised with service users a public engagement day on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy on World Mental Health Day, 2015.
I was awarded an ASPIRE fellowship of the Higer Education Academy in June 2014.
I regularly supervise PhD, Masters, clinical psychology trainee, and undergraduate dissertations on clinically facing projects.
I am on a research fellowship till 2020, so have a limited teaching load at present.
I give invited workshops around the country on treating anhedonia in depression (most recently Reading and Cambridge)
Guest teaching on Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and on IAPT training programme at Exeter (treating personality disorder and depression).
Module convenor: Evidence based psychological therapy practice (PSY1302; 1st year BSc Applied Psychology).
Module convenor: Interpersonal and emotion regulation processes in psychopathology (PSY3207: 3rd year BSc Psychology).
Guest teaching on Masters in Psychological Therapies (cognitive analytic therapy).
Information not currently available
Supervision / Group
- Emily Widnall (Associate Research Fellow, Exeter). Trial manager on the ADepT feasibility trial.
- Merve Yilmaz (PhD student, Exeter) – examining dampening as a mechanism driving anhedonia in adolescence
- Anna Adlam (2009, clinical trainee, UEA): Empathy and emotional recognition following head injury. Now a senior lecturer at University of Exeter.
- Modi Alsubaie PhD completed on adapting MBCT for vascular disorders, funded by Saudi Arabian government. Now working at a Saudi Arabian University
- Danielle Billotti (2006, masters student, University of Cambridge): The consequences of acceptance in response to trauma. Left to complete clinical psychology training at IOP.
- Nikita Bos (visiting masters student, Maastricht) – secondary analysis of the COBALT trial. Left to study for a clinical masters in the Netherlands.
- Nina Brauner (2013, clinical trainee, UCL): Training sustained attention in depression (2nd supervisor). Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Harriet Bunker-Smith (masters student, Exeter) - training alternatives to positive dampening appraisals. Left to work as a research assistant.
- Leigh-Anne Burr (masters student, Exeter) - experience sampling investigation of the role of positive dampening appraisals. Left to complete a PGCE.
- Claudia Copestake (2014, clinical trainee, Exeter). The impact of the detached protector mode on positive emotion experience (primary supervisor). Left to work as NHS clinical psychologist.
- Clem Edwards (2011, undergraduate student, Cambridge University, previously a summer student): Social decision making in depression (primary supervisor). Accepted onto 4 year funded PhD programme at IOP and now working as a clinical psychologist.
- Davy Evans (2012, full time MRC funded Phd student, previously Wellcome funded summer student and undergraduate student): Emotion regulation in borderline personality disorder (primary supervisor). Now working as a clinical psychologist.
- Grace Fisher (PhD student, Exeter). Mind wandering, negative inhibitory control and anhedonia (primary supervisor). Left to work in the NHS as a psychology assistant.
- Sarah Harding (2014, masters student, Exeter). Positive elaboration in depression. Left to work in adolescent mental health.
- Joe Hickey (2013, clinical trainee, UCL): Negative inhibitory control training in dysphoria (primary supervisor). Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Emma Hill (2014, PhD student, MRC CBU, Cambridge): Perspective broadening in depression (2nd supervisor). Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Maxine Howard (2011, full time voluntary RA and MRC funded summer student): Interoception and emotional memory (primary supervisor). Accepted onto 4 year mental health funded PhD programme at UCL.
- Sarah Howley (2013, clinical trainee, UCL): Positive elaboration in depression (primary supervisor). Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Esther Maissi (2010, clinical trainee, Holloway): Affective forecasting in depression. Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- James Martyn (2014, masters student, Exeter). Positive dampening appraisal style in depression. Left to work as a psychology assistant.
- Ruth Morgan (2007, clinical trainee, UCL): Does mindfulness work by changing relationship to the body? Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Adele Pacini (2011, clinical trainee, UEA): Suppression and positive emotion experience in depression (primary supervisor). Left to work at the Open University.
- Lucy Parkin (2009, clinical trainee, UCL): Mindfulness and emotion processing. Now working as a clinical psychologist in the NHS.
- Jodi Pitt (2016, clinical psychology trainee, Exeter). Mind wandering in depression. Now working as a clinical psychologist.
- Alice Price Placement student from University of Cardiff, now completing final year of undergraduate degree
- Louise Quarmby (2007, clinical trainee, UCL): Consequences of habitual acceptance versus suppression on response to trauma. Moved to Canada.
- Henrietta Roberts (postdoc, Exeter). Does reward system function predict vulnerability to mood disorders? Now completing clinical psychology training.
- Benjamin Rosser (2014, clinical trainee, Exeter). Thought speed and the interpretation of threat in mania prone individuals (second supervisor). Now working at Liverpool John Moores University.
- Patricia Schartau (2007, PhD student, MRC CBU): Examining the consequences of cognitive reappraisal. Now working as an NHS medic.
- Iolanta Stefanovitch (2006, clinical trainee, UCL): Self focused attention to mind and body in anxiety. Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.
- Mairi Stewart (2010, clinical trainee, UCL). Affective forecasting in depression. Now working as an NHS clinical psychologist.