Staff member awarded prestigious research fellowship

Posted: 26/05/21

A member of staff from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship, which will look at the use of creative approaches within psychotherapy to benefit the mental health of people with learning disabilities.

Consultant Arts Psychotherapist, Dr Simon Hackett, has secured a Senior Clinical Lectureship (SCL) within the Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) programme.

Given by Health Education England (HEE) and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), Simon was the only applicant to be awarded a fellowship this year within this highly competitive programme.

The ICA SCL offers funding for five years, to support successful nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals to have clinical-academic careers and to lead on research focusing on improving people’s health.

Simon’s project will involve a full clinical trial of interpersonal arts psychotherapy, something which he has been developing within the Trust’s services at Northgate Hospital.

“I’m really excited to be able to progress my clinical-academic career, which I hope will help improve the health of those who need it,” Simon said.

“This is an incredibly rare opportunity. Funding for clinical-academic roles has been available for medical doctors and dentists for a long time but it is only in recent years that this pathway has been developing for Allied Health Professionals. I have done lots of arts and creative based therapies research in the Trust but now hope to be able to take this work nationally and internationally.”

Arts psychotherapy is a form of therapy that uses a creative approach. In CNTW this is done through art, drama, music and dance movement therapies.

Simon added: “Arts psychotherapy helps people process things creatively. It works well for people who may find it hard to talk about difficult things or experiences.”

Starting in the summer, Dr Hackett will split his time between CNTW and Newcastle University’s Population Health Sciences Institute.

CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.