WhichTest the App available to download from iStore

WhichTest the App
Developed by Dr Sue Holttum and Dr Jerry Burgess WhichTest the App is an interactive tool to help you decide what sort of statistical analyses will be suitable for analysing various kinds of data. It is now available for the iPad for only £4.99



Prof Jan Burns Re-elected as Head of INAS

Prof Jan Burns was re-elected as the Head of Eligibility for the International Sports Federation for Para-athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (INAS) at their General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro. This was voted on by 32 member nations and whilst many of the seats on the Executive Committee were fiercely contested Jan was elected unopposed and unanimously. This testifies to the considerable amount of work Jan and the rest of the Eligibility Committee put into making sure that all the procedures were robust and operating appropriately ready for the inclusion of athletes with ID in the London 2012 Paralympics. 120 athletes with ID walked into the stadium for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games as a result. All eyes are now set on Rio and the eligibility panel has been expanded to include some of our Doctorate in Clinical psychology trainees and local clinical psychologists to cope with the growth of inclusion of ID athletes in world class competitions. Some of our trainees have also devoted their spare time to become classifiers in athletics and swimming for the International Paralympic Committee and spend some of their holidays travelling the world helping out international competitions to classify ID athletes. This work has, and continues to be, a great example of how the application of psychological skills can have a real impact of the lives of people with ID.

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Paralympic eligibility workshop at Salomons

Ten trainees and local clinical psychologists attended a workshop delivered by Prof Jan Burns at Salomons to learn how the system works to grant eligibility for athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in high level sporting competition up to Paralympic level. This process is run by INAS , the International Sports Federation for Para-athletes with Intellectual Disabilities, and means that these psychologists will now join the INAS Eligibility Panel, together with psychologists from across the globe. The process involves assessing portfolios of evidence, including IQ tests, adaptive behaviour assessments and developmental histories of individual athletes, to ensure they meet the World Health Organisation definition of intellectual disabilities. This process provides a fascinating insight into the practice of applied psychology across the world and the challenging process of determining what the definition of intellectual disabilities means across cultures.

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Dealing With Suicidal Risks

Here is an audio slideshow of a recent presentation by our Academic Director Dr John McGowan and regular supervisor Dr Lucy Hickey of Oxleas NHS Trust. This is based on a presentation they gave to the European Symposium of Suicide and Suicidal Behavior  in September 2012. It offers a model for clinical decision making when confronted with the risk of suicide or self-harm. 

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Newest Pulbication by the Applied Psychology Team

Monitor on Psychology, the APA's version of The Psychologist, has published a report highlighting the results of a paper recently published in the highly prestigious APA journal, Psychotherapy. The article, Perceived Social Stigma and Attitudes Towards Seeking Therapy in Training: A Cross-National Study, was writen by Malena Digiuni, Fergal W. Jones, and Paul M. Camic of the Applied Psychology Department, and has now appeared on several US and UK blogs and is already turning up in discussion groups on both sides of the Atlantic. The article can be found at:  

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Paralympic Classification of Elite Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities


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This short video will tell you the inspiring story of how athletes with intellectual disabilities have re-joined the Paralympics for London 2012. You will hear from... athletes, the GB Head Coach, the GB Team Manager, the Chief Exec. of the UK Sports Association and the Head of Eligibility for Inas, what is involved to become eligible to compete on this world stage, and the anticipated legacies of London 2012 for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The video describes the classification process which recently won the Research Councils UK gold award for ‘Exceptional Research’ at the Podium Awards.

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Psychology and the Paralympics: The role of the classifier for athletes with intellectual disabilities


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Jennifer Maris is a trainee clinical psychologist. She recently volunteered to use her psychological skills to help the classification process for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Here she describes what this means, what's involved and the exciting opportunities and challenges this has opened up for her.





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Prof Jan Burns profiled in article on science in the Olympics featured in 'Nature'.

 Nature goes large on the Olympics profiling four scientists who are involved. First up is our very own Prof. Jan Burns. Click here to read the full article.

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Prof Jan Burns speaking at the Taipei ‘International Symposium of Sports for Persons with Disabilities’


Prof Jan Burns recently visited Taipei as an invited key note speaker at the ‘International Symposium of Sports for Persons with Disabilities’ hosted by the Lien I-Nan Foundation for Promotion of Education and Research in Rehabilitation Medicine. Jan presented two papers, one on the ‘Eligibility and Classification of Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities for Paralympic Classification’ and the other on ‘The impact of involvement in sport on psychological factors such as self-esteem and social networks for people with intellectual disabilities’. The conference was very well attended with over 200 attendees and illustrated the tremendous efforts Taiwan is putting into assisting their disabled athletes and encouraging sports involvement for all those with disabilities. Jan commented ‘The research and resources being put into this area are truly inspirational and it was an exception experience to be part of this conference’.

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Supporting a success story: The impact of University research and sport development.  

Research contributed to by Prof Jan Burns, Professor of Clinical Psychology, is included in a report, launched on Wednesday 2 May, ‘Supporting a success story: The impact of University research and sport development’. Professor Burns’ research contribution has directly influenced the re-inclusion of elite athletes with learning disabilities into the London 2012 Paralympic Games.Research contributed to by Prof Jan Burns, Professor of Clinical Psychology, is included in a report, launched on Wednesday 2 May, ‘Supporting a success story: The impact of University research and sport development’. Professor Burns’ research contribution has directly influenced the re-inclusion of elite athletes with learning disabilities into the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Professor Burns said: “London 2012 will be the largest ever showcase for Paralympic sport in the UK and this will put people with learning disabilities back on the same platform with elite sports competitors. It will also ensure the development of sports for their group and change the public’s perception of them.”

Professor Burns, a member of an International Paralympic Committee sponsored international research group, and Head of Eligibility for Inas, the International Federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability, is part of an international research team which devised a robust classification system to ensure that elite athletes meet the criteria for entry into Paralympic level events.

More on the Research Councils UK website.

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Sport Classification project strikes Gold at Podium Awards

  Canterbury Goldcrop

Members of the research project which helped to secure the re-inclusion of athletes with an intellectual disability into the Paralympic Games are celebrating today after their programme triumphed at the first ever Podium Awards for London 2012 inspired projects.

The project fought off fierce competition from more than 230 nominated projects to win the gold medal in the RCUK Award for Exceptional Research Contribution in front of over 350 attendees and dignitaries including London 2012 organising committee (LOCOG) CEO, Paul Deighton and Xavier Gonzalez, Chief Executive of the International Paralympic Committee.

The black tie ceremony, held close to the Olympic stadium, was a one-off event to celebrate UK colleges and universities contribution to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and their legacy. The projects recognised ranged from education, research and sport to culture, volunteering and international collaboration.

The sports classification project was put forward by Professor Jan Burns of Canterbury Christchurch University who is also Head of Eligibility for Inas, and a member of the research project team. The research project, supported by Inas – the International Federation for Para-Athletes with an Intellectual Disability and IPC – the International Paralympic Committee, was a collaboration between a number of UK, European and North American Universities. Its aim was to develop a method of classification – the process which measures the impact of an athlete’s impairment on sport performance – to enable athletes with a learning disability to compete in the Paralympic Games, beginning with London 2012.

Paul Deighton, CEO LOCOG said; “Colleges and Universities have played an integral role in supporting London 2012. I congratulate all involved with the Sport Classification for Paralympic Athletes with intellectual disabilities project on winning a gold medal at the Podium Awards. This project is a tremendous example of how the power of the Games is being used to inspire people to make a real and lasting difference.”

On receiving the award, Xavier Gonzalez, IPC Chief Executive said “ I am very happy and proud to receive this award for the classification research, but more than anything I am happy that athletes with an intellectual disability are back in the Paralympics'.

Dr Bob Price added “This award recognises the commitment of the research team, all of whom worked on this project in a voluntary capacity, and the value of partnership between the universities involved but it also recognises the huge contribution of the many athletes and Inas member organisations who supported the project over a numbr of years and worked with us to put in place the procedures needed to secure Paralympic re-inclusion”.

Athletes with an intellectual disability will participate in the London Paralympic Games for the first time since Sydney 2000, and will compete in Athletics, Swimming and Table Tennis.

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Alumni Awarded Visiting Senior Lecturer position in the Department of Applied Psychology

Dr Em Perera, who gained her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in

  Dr Em Perera

2006 has been working overseas since developing mental health services in Nepal and Nigeria. Dr Perera will be working with the Department on collaborative international projects. Below Dr Perera described her current activities….

I have lived in Abuja, Nigeria, since August 2010. I work in different areas. Firstly, mental health promotion and problem prevention through public education on ‘Radiopsych’. This is a weekly programme broadcast on Radio Nigeria, national radio, which discuss issues that the public comment on; such as addiction, post-natal depression and bullying. Secondly, I am advising the Nigerian Psychological Association, using BPS guidelines, to develop professional ethical standards for the profession, which is very new in Nigeria. Lastly, I provide direct individual and family therapy (and supervised support to a junior clinical psychologist) for people who attend as inpatients or outpatients at ‘Synapse Services’. This service promotes practices uncommon in Nigeria, such multi-disciplinary working and recovery-based treatment for people with severe mental health problems.

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Prof Jan Burns presents at the International Paralympic Committee Conference in Bonn.

Prof Jan Burns has just returned from a meeting in Bonn of the officials in charge of classification for the Paralympics, organised by the International Paralympic Committee. A theme to the conference was about increasing the evidence-base behind sports classification. Jan gave a short presentation on the experiences of the research group behind the work which led to the re-inclusion of athletes for London 2012. Jan commented that 'This is such a rich area for research and collaboration and I would encourage other academics to become involved.'

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Dr Claudia Zitz presenting at the University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario, California.

An alumni from the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology has had her research accepted for presentation at a major international conference.  Dr Claudia Zitz will be presenting the research project she completed with Prof. Jan Burns and  Dr Erasmo Tacconelli at the Trans*Studies 2012 Conference, March 2-4 at the University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario, California. The title of her presentation is “Trans Men and Friendships” which is a qualitative study of  how the friendships of  Trans Men develop and change through the course and their lives and gender transitioning. 

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Prof Paul Camic awarded grant from Arts 4 Dementia

Prof Paul M Camic has been awarded a grant from the charity, Arts 4 Dementia, to conduct an evaluation of a series of community arts programmes being developed for people with a dementia and their carers. The venues will be across London and the programmes will run throughout 2012.

Our Involvement in the Parapan American Games

In November 2011, the Parapan American games, a huge international sporting event for paralympic athletes, took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. We, Jade Redfern and Jennifer Maris (two trainee clinical psychologists) and Dr. Clare Watts (recent clinical psychology graduate), were fortunate to be part of the reintroduction of the Intellectual Disability (ID) class for athletes competing in swimming and athletics (shot putt, long-jump and 1500 metres). We were involved in a three-part classification process (cognitive testing, sports-specific testing and in-competition observation), with the aim of determining eligibility to compete in the ID class at the London 2012 Paralympics. The cognitive tests measured intellectual ability relating to sports performance, including processing speed, short-term memory and planning and sequencing skills. The sports specific measures assessed the technique and strategies of the elite ID athletes, which has been found to differ from non-ID elite athletes.

We compared our in-competition observations of the athletes for both sports with the cognitive testing results and sport-specific results, enabling us to come to an informed decision regarding eligibility for the ID class, including ruling out any possible attempt to ‘fake bad.’

Working with these athletes was a pleasure and an inspiration. We look forward to seeing some of them compete at London 2012 and we wish them great success.

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Department projects showcased at national conference

Four members of staff from the department gave presentations at the recent national conference of the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology in Exeter. On 7 th November, Louise Goodbody and Hilary Brown mounted a mini-play as part of a workshop on the use of creative activities in training. On 8 th November, Laura Lea, Anne Cooke and Louise Goodbody led a workshop on involving service users and carers in training. At a recent British Psychological Society accreditation visit to our programme, the visiting team suggested that ‘Service user involvement in the programme is innovative and exemplary, particularly in relation to the efforts being made to break down the them/us, staff/trainee/service user barrier towards a concept of all of us potentially or actually being service users. This has been and continues to be a process-based, systemic intervention into the whole programme that is an example of national best practice’ .

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Professor Jan Burns is awarded Public Engagement Grant from the BPS

Public Engagement Grants 2011

A collection of resources for elite athletes with learning disabilities and a project to communicate psychology to the public through expressive dance are among the schemes to receive a public engagement grant from the British Psychological Society this year.

Each year the Society makes grants to help its members promote the relevance of evidence-based psychology to wider audiences, either through direct work or by organising special communications activities. For 2011 the Society increased the sum available for grants to £40,000.

This year grants have been given to five Society members:

Professor Jan Burns, Canterbury Christ Church University
Web and physical resources for elite athletes with learning disabilities

Ian Conyers, Independent Living Solutions Ltd Demonstrating psychology experiments and tests at British Science Festival

Dr Diana Harcourt, University of the West of England
A permanent interactive exhibit within an award winning science centre (At-Bristol) to promote understanding of the psychology of appearance and stereotypes.

Professor David Lavallee, University of Stirling
A website for the greatest (sport) psychological show on earth

Dr Carl Senior, Aston University
Communicating psychology to the public with expressive dance

Professor Graham Powell, chair of the Society’s Publications and Communication Board says: “We are delighted with the range and quality of this year’s recipients. Making the public aware of the breadth of psychology as a science, and of the practical help it can give, is an important part of the Society’s work.”

For further information contact the British Psychological Society press centre, Tel: 0116 252 9500, email

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