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Daniel Freeman joins Experimental Psychology

Man smilingProfessor Daniel Freeman has just been appointed as Chair of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, moving from the Psychiatry Department.

Professor Freeman is a consultant clinical psychologist at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, an NIHR Senior Investigator, a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and the scientific founder of Oxford VR, a University of Oxford spin-out company. He has published over 300 research papers and 10 books and presented the BBC Radio 4 series A History of Delusions.

The aim of Professor Freeman’s work is to help improve the lives of people with mental health conditions by developing, testing, and implementing new cognitive-behavioural interventions. These interventions are based on robust experimental psychology and working closely with people with lived experience. Over the past decade, he developed the most effective psychological therapy for persecutory delusions: the Feeling Safe programme. Such delusions are a common and distressing feature of psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia.

Professor Freeman has also been a pioneer of the use of virtual reality (VR) to assess, understand, and treat mental health conditions. In recent years he has been automating the delivery of psychological therapy within VR by use of a virtual coach. This means a therapist is not required to provide the treatment, thereby facilitating widespread adoption. The most recent example is gameChange, which is starting to be used in mental health services in the UK and USA.

Professor Daniel Freeman commented, “It’s an honour to be appointed to Oxford’s Chair of Psychology. The outstanding achievements of David M Clark in the professorship sets the bar extremely high. It’s a wonderful department in which psychological research, practice, and teaching noticeably flourish. The team and I are looking forward to joining very soon.”

Published: 6 February 2023

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