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Dr Dora Bernardes

Dr Dora Bernardes

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

 Washington Singer 


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist (D.ClinPsy) and academic Senior Lecturer (PhD), specialised  in working with children, young people and families. I joined the University of Exeter in October 2020 as the Academic Lead for MCAPs (Clinical Associate in Psychology MSc). In addition, I am working towards creating a  culture where we bring Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to all that we do.

I completed my Psychology undergraduate degree in Lisbon, Portugal. Following this, I completed a PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Exeter in 2006 (supervised by Professor Tom Postmes). With the support of a Scholarship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, I investigated the ways we make impressions and how this impact on how we relate to group members. I presented my research at international conferences and was awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) which I took up at Cardiff University in 2006-7 (Mentored by Professor Russell Spears).

Following this, I completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with Distinction at Plymouth University. During my training, I completed a Family Therapy foundation course. I was also selected on the basis of a national competition for a clinical placement at the Tavistock Clinic in London, Adolescent Department. Post-qualification I worked with children, young people in a variety of settings, including in a CAMHS team in Edinburgh, in Paediatric Psychology Service in Forth Valley and in a Child Development Centre in Torbay. In 2015 I was promoted to Lead of a Paediatric Psychology Service which I took up until 2020. During this work, I further developed my skills in Leadership, service development, clinical supervision and joint working with other services towards best patient care.

I received the British Psychological Society Award for contribution to Clinical Psychology at doctoral level in 2012.


  • Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology (PhD)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Evidence-based Psychological Interventions (PGCert)
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSc Hons)

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Research interests

I am interested in applied clinical psychology research:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of psychological interventions;
  • exploring the value of psychological interventions across diverse client groups;


  • Bernardes D, Nicholson J, Prior H, Mills S. (2013). Setting up a Paediatric Psychology Service: Reflections and recommendations. Division of Clinical Psychology, Scotland.
  • Bernardes D, Shafi S, Gillies B, Brown F and Couper, R. (2013) Pilot evaluation of a manualised cognitive-behavioural treatment package for children (and their parents) with anxiety. Family and Child Clinical Psychology Review, 1, 93-104.
  • Bernardes, D, Wright, J and Livingstone, A (2012). Researching the mental health status of asylum seekers: Reflections and suggestions for practice. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care, 9, 201–8.
  • Bernardes D (2011). Learning from an Iranian man about his experience of CBT for treatment of PTSD: A case report. Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, 4(4), 210 – 216.
  • Bernardes D, Wright J, Edwards C, Tomkins H, Dlosz D and Livingstone A (2010). Asylum Seekers’ Perspectives on their Mental Health and Views on Health and Social Services: Contributions for Service Provision Using a Mixed-Methods Approach. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 6(4), 3-19.

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards and distinctions

I received the British Psychological Society Award for contribution to Clinical Psychology at doctoral level in 2012.

Competitively won research fellowships

2006-2007: ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award (PTA-026-27-1352), Title: “The dynamics of stereotype content and intergroup relations: The role of overlapping attributes in group construal”, Economic and Social Research Council, Cardiff University, UK (£51,086).

2002-2006: Doctoral Scholarship for PhD studies, Portuguese Science Foundation, Portugal (£73,428).

Public engagement

Over the years I have also enjoyed carrying out volunteer work with refugee children, older adults with dementia and with adults with mental health difficulties.

At present, I am keen to contribute to lessen the stigma of mental health by hosting public engagement sessions to bring Psychology to everyone who may be interested. More specifically, I am committed to collaborate with colleagues who may be interested in co-hosting commmunity events that promote well-being for all. For instance, I took part  in:

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Currenlty I Lead the Module Evidence-based Psychological Interventions in Clinical Psychology Practice as part of the Clinical Associate in Psychology MSc.

Some of the topics I teach include:

  • Supporting children, young people and families with sadness, fear and worry
  • Promoting secure attachement relationships between children, young people and caregivers
  • Introduction to using ACT (Acceptance and Commitement Therapy) when working with Adolescents
  • Developing cultural competence skills in mental health care
  • Working with interpreters in clinical practice



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