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Bryony Sheaves

DClinPsy, BSc, CPsychol


Research Clinical Psychologist & NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

I am a Research Clinical Psychologist within O-CAP. The overall aim of my research is to improve psychological treatments for people experiencing severe mental health problems, with a particular focus on distressing voices. 

My fellowship is investigating why derogatory and threatening voices can be so believable and difficult to ignore.  I aim to use this understanding to inform cognitive behavioural treatment developments. 

Much of my work to date has focused on the association between sleep disturbance and psychotic experiences, working as part of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi).  Our research has highlighted novel psychological mechanisms associated with the occurrence of nightmares and we have used this to inform a brief CBT treatment for nightmares for patients experiencing high levels of paranoia (The Nightmare Intervention Study, NIteS).  I have worked on a range of studies which have demonstrated that sleep disruption is one contributory cause of mental health problems, including paranoia and hallucinatory experiences (e.g. the OASIS trial) and have a particular interest in optimising psychological interventions for inpatient wards.  We have recently completed a randomised controlled trial of insomnia treatment in this setting (OWLS) with promising effects on insomnia and the length of admission.  

I am committed to sharing the learnings from our research with the general public.  For example we have created an animation on hearing derogatory and threatening voices (see below).  My hope is that it is a tool that aids the understanding of, and conversations about the experience.

I am an HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist and completed my clinical doctorate at the Institute of Psychiatry.  My research through my clinical training investigated the occurrence of nightmares in individuals who experience psychotic symptoms.

Coping with voices: being with people

Hearing voices can come in many forms – some voices are friendly, helpful, insightful and inspiring whilst others are scary, critical or commanding. This animation shares the stories of people who hear one type of voices: those which threaten them or criticise them. Our hope is that this animation inspires more conversations about voices, because nobody should be hearing nasty voices alone.

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