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Professor Neil Thomas

Professor of Clinical Psychology

Biography

Professor Neil Thomas FAIDH FCCLP is lead for clinical psychology research with the Centre for Mental Health and Brain Sciences (CMHBS), and Director of two of Swinburne's online research and training clinics: the National eTherapy Centre, and the Voices Clinic.

Neil's research aims to empower people to improve mental health. He leads research spanning psychological therapies, digital interventions, mental health service delivery, and the psychological processes involved in mental health. His psychological intervention research has included cognitive behavioural, third wave and trauma-focused therapies, as well as peer support. Much of his treatment research incorporates digital technologies, including telehealth, online self-management programs, mobile devices and virtual reality.

The National eTherapy Centre provides self-guided and therapist-supported cognitive behavioural therapy programs to adults across Australia with anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. The self-management website Mental Health Online is accessed by over 10,000 new registered users per year, as well as providing 25 training placements per year to postgraduate clinical psychology students in blended models of therapy using digital technology.  In parallel, Neil currently leads a $1.8m National Health and Medical Research Council clinical trial of a telehealth delivered intervention examining the use of computer-generated avatars to support therapy delivery.


Among clinical populations, Neil is particularly recognised internationally for his work developing interventions for people with severe and complex mental health problems, and he is one of the world’s most published researchers on persisting experiences of hearing voices (auditory hallucinations): an intrusive and highly distressing experience in a range of populations. His pioneering Voices Clinic, established over 15 years ago, provides specialist treatment to people nationwide. Alongside this, through industry roles, including as Convenor of the Australian Psychological Society Psychosis Interest Group and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Aflred Hospital, he is a leader in the dissemination of practice with this population in Australia.

Neil supervises Honours, MPsych and PhD students. Research students will be able to develop methodological skills including quantitative and experimental psychological methods, treatment trialing methods, qualitative methods, ecological momentary assessment, codesign/coproduction approaches, and literature synthesis methods.

Research interests

Health Technology Assessment; Clinical Psychology; Clinical Psychology; Mental Health; Psychology

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

PhD applicants: I supervise students for both traditional research PhDs (intake throughout the year) and the integrated PhD in Clinical Psychology (PhD + postgraduate clinical training, competitive application process in Oct). I have projects available in my areas of interest as detailed in my profile. If you would like to think about project options, email me with a copy of your CV and academic transcript.

Students on MPsych: MPsych students conduct clinically-relevant projects embedded within my lab's research themes, often contributing an important piece of a broader research question. I also have clinical health psychology projects available in collaboration with the Alfred. If you have been offered a place on the course, get in touch!

Honours

Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Honours students: I am at capacity for honours supervisions for 2024.

Fields of Research

  • Clinical Psychology - 520302
  • Digital Health - 420302
  • Mental Health Services - 420313

Teaching areas

Clinical Psychology;Psychology

Publications

Also published as: Thomas, Neil; Thomas, N.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2023: Voices *; The Wellcome Trust
  • 2022: Avatar-mediated therapy for hallucinations: superiority trial (AMETHYST) *; Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants
  • 2022: Establishing the dynamic interaction between sleep and schizophrenia *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2022: Technology and Dementia Care – A Conceptualisation of Digital Twins for Facilitating Better Dementia Prediction, Prevention and Care. *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2019: Production, Delivery, and Evaluation of a Health Literacy Approach and Materials (RFP) *; Mental Health Commission of NSW
  • 2017: A longitudinal examination of the phenomenology of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) in mood disorders *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2017: A peer-led education program for women who have experience of mental illness and trauma  *; Quentin Hanich
  • 2017: Investigating therapeutic mechanisms of a new treatment for bipolar disorder *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2017: Understanding the role of dysfunction in affective network alteration and auditory verbal hallucinations in patients with bipolar disorder *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2016: Digitally Assisted Peer Support (DAPS) for Young People with Emerging Mental Health Problems: A Novel Model of Technology-Enhanced Peer Work (Student award) *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2016: Evaluating a Novel Smartphone-Assisted Coping Strategy Intervention for Distressing Voices The SAVVy Study *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2016: How do depressive symptoms influence characteristics (phenomenology) of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) in persons without a need for care? *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2016: Investigating factors that influence the efficacy of cognitive remediation therapy inindividuals with schizophrenia *; Research Endowment Fund
  • 2016: Understanding trauma-related auditory verbal hallucinations: phenomenology and predictors *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant

* Chief Investigator