PhD Studentship : Why do psychological treatments work: a process analysis comparing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Behavioural Activation in the treatment of depression

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Science

Academic Supervisor: Dr Heather O'Mahen and Dr Kim Wright, University of Exeter.

Project description: The University of Exeter is pleased to be offering an ESRC funded +3 studentship in Psychology as part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre to start on 1st February 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible UK/EU students the full time studentship will cover fees and an annual Research Council stipend of £14,296 for up to three years of full time study (pro-rata for part-time).

This doctorate will examine the “active ingredients” in two widely researched, evidence-based psychological therapies for depression, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Behavioural Activation (BA). Using a pre-existing dataset and set of therapy tapes collected as part of the COBRA trial (recently published:

You will work with others to code therapy audio-tapes according to an innovative system devised by collaborator Prof Adele Hayes, University of Delaware, and relate processes occurring within therapy to patterns of symptom change. In the latter part of the project, with the guidance of your supervisors, you will determine ways in which your findings have relevance to clinical training / and or practice within the U.K. NHS.

Based in the highly-regarded Mood Disorders Centre ( and in collaboration with national and international experts, you will benefit from both project-specific and diverse training and learning opportunities.

This project would particularly suit those pursuing a career in clinical research or clinical psychology / psychological therapy.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,296 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 

Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit and are awarded for 3 years of full-time study.

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South West England