Staff Profile


Dr Sue Holttum

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

Campus: Salomons

Tel: 01227 927113

Profile summary

Dr Sue Holttum is based at the Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology in Tunbridge Wells four days per week and at the British Association of Art Therapists one day as part-time Research Officer. Having previously carried out research on depression, Sue's interests moved to personal growth and 'recovery', and arts and health. Sue views recovery as individual to each person and as influenced by social context. Sue is interested in creativity in both science and arts, carries out research in art therapy, and is also interested in training, learning and teaching.

Sue organises the bulk of the research teaching on the Clinical Psychology Doctorate and assists Dr Alex Hassett in leading the PhD in Professional Practice. Sue regularly supervises clinical psychology doctorate research and PhD students. Sue has acted as external examiner for many clinical psychology and counselling psychology doctoral projects, and is external examiner for the Masters in Clnical Psychology and Mental Health at London South Bank University.

Research and knowledge exchange

Sue has supervised research projects on health psychology, professional development and training, autogenic training, post-traumatic growth, mental health recovery and art therapy. Sue meets regularly with members of the Salomons Advisory Group of Experts by Experience (SAGE), a service user group that advises the clinical psychology programme. In her role with SAGE, Sue takes a special interest in discussion of issues around research and facilitating research consultation to clinical psychology trainees in relation to trainees' research.

Sue now divides her time between the university (four days per week) and the British Association of Art Therapists (one day per week) where she works with art therapists. The two roles are complementary, with the BAAT role including offering research consultation, co-authoring research papers, and carrying out research and guideline development with the BAAT task-and-finish group on art therapy for people who have diagnoses of psychosis-related difficulties.

Alongside Sue's output of peer-reviewed research papers, many co-authored with former trainee clinical psychologists, Sue writes a regular Research Watch feature for the journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion, aimed at a broad readership and examining the implications of recent research. Two of Sue's papers for that journal have received awards as 'outstanding paper', one of which (2016) was on how involved mental health service users really are in decision-making about medication, and one (2017) on the contrast between ways of addressing stress and mental health in the military and in civilian life.

Teaching and subject expertise

Sue is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of the British Association of Behavoural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. Sue works with ResearchNet servivce users and volunteer workers and with the British Association of Art Therapists.

External activities

As already mentioned, Sue writes a quarterly ResearchWatch feature for the journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion, highlighting new and recent research that has relevance to social inclusion of people who experiene mental health difficulties.

Sue is a member of the editorial board of Mental Health and Social Inclusion, and the International Journal of Art Therapy (IJAT). Sue carries out article reviews for numerous journals, and provides one or two reviews for major research bids each year (National Institute for Health Research). Sue is presenting in July 2019 at the joint British and American Associations for Art Therpay Attachment and the Arts conference, on art therapy for people with diagnoses of psychosis-related difficulties.

Publications and research outputs

Chisholm, L., Holttum, S. & Springham, N. (2018). Processes in an experience-based co-design project with family carers in community mental health. Sage Open, October-December 2018: 1–13. Full text at:

Stevens, J., Butterfield, C., Whittington, A. & Holttum, S. (2018). Evaluation of Arts based Courses within a UK Recovery College for People with Mental Health Challenges. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public HealthFull text at:

Lynch, S., Holttum, S., & Huet, V. (2018). The experience of art therapy for individuals following a first diagnosis of a psychotic disorder: a grounded theory study. International Journal of Art Therapy (Inscape), Early online

Bonnett, V., Berry, C., Meddings, S., & Holttum, S. (2018). An exploration of young people’s narratives of hope following experience of psychosis. Psychosis, 10, 99-109.

Cheetham, J., Holttum, S., Springham, N., & Butt, K. (2017). "I can see it and I can feel it, but I can't put my finger on it": A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of experiences of relating on psychiatric inpatient units. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, Early online: doi: 10.1111/papt.12162

Holttum, S., Huet, V., & Wright, T. (2016 Dec). Reaching a UK consensus on art therapy for people with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder using the Delphi method. International Journal of Art Therapy (Inscape). Early online:

Deboys, R., Holttum, S., & Wright, K. (2016). Processes of change in school-based art therapy with children: A systematic qualitative study. International Journal of Art Therapy (Inscape). Early online:

Huet, V., & Holttum, S. (2016). Art therapists with experience of mental distress: Implications for art therapy training and practice. International Journal of Art Therapy (Inscape). Early online:


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:57:00