Profile image for Simon Knowles

Associate Professor Simon Knowles

Associate Professor


Since 2004, Simon has been a clinical and health academic in the Psychology discipline. Over this time, Simon has attained over AUD$4.5 million in competitive funding, published over 100 peer reviewed publications, and led three edited books, with the most recent “Psychogastroenterology with Adults: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals” published by Routledge Press in 2019.

Simon is a recognised leading expert in the field of Psychogastroenterology, which is the application of psychological science and practice to gastrointestinal health and illness. Simon’s clinical and research interests relate to the biological and psychological interactions of gastrointestinal conditions and the brain-gut axis, particularly how to ameliorate the significant impact of living with chronic gastrointestinal conditions through psychological interventions.

Simon has an active interest in mHealth and eHealth research, having developed and evaluated mobile apps to improve inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) management/identification of psychological issues, and is the creator of several websites that provide up-to-date information and free 5-week resilience programs for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (; formerly, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (; formerly, Gastroparesis (; formerly, Coeliac Disease ( and Bladder and Bowel Anxieties (also known as shy bladder, shy bowel, and incontinence anxiety;; formally Together, since 2013 these free eHealth resources have provided over 570,000 individuals around the world with comprehensive and accurate expert-reviewed sources of information and evidence-based psychologically-focused resilience programs. Reflecting the significant impact of these eHealth resources, Simon was awarded 1st place in the Swinburne University FHAD impact award in 2019.

Due to his expertise, Simon has multiple honorary clinical and research positions with St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne), Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Alfred Hospital. Simon regularly provides lectures and workshops in relation to the psychological impact of gastrointestinal conditions, the interplay between the brain gut-axis, and developing and implementing psychological-focused interventions for individuals living with gastrointestinal conditions.

As an academic, Simon has an excellent teaching profile. After completing his PhD in 2003, Simon has been an active lecturer at several universities in Australia. He has taught in a range of areas including Psychology, Medicine, and Biotechnology. Simon teaching has been recognised both within the university (Swinburne University VC award for early career teaching, FHAD 2019 Supervision Excellence Award, Highest Clinical Postgrad Student Unit Satisfaction Award Semester 1 2019) and externally (UniJobs has identified Simon as one of the top 3 lecturers at Swinburne University across multiple years). Simon has lectured and convened from the 1st year Introduction to Psychology unit to the final year clinical postgraduate unit, Foundations of Health Psychology.

Over the last 19 years at Swinburne, Simon has also held several senior administrative positions at Swinburne University, including mentoring junior and senior staff, Deputy Head of the Psychology Discipline, Facility Research Committee member, Facility Academic Committee member, Psychology Selection Coordinator, Psychology Major Coordinator, Coordinator of B.Soc.Sci, B.Arts, B.Sci and B.Health.Sci degree programs, Graduate Diploma of Psychology Coordinator, and Swinburne Psychology Clinic Board Member.

Simon has a clinical-health practice that specialises in working with individuals with chronic illnesses of the gastrointestinal system, see:

Research interests

Clinical Psychology; Health Psychology; eHealth; Gastroenterology; Chronic illness

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Disordered eating, eating disorders and their overlap with gastrointestinal symptoms and conditions: Dataset to be collected 

Experiences of brain fog in gastrointestinal conditions: Dataset to be collected 

Exploring resilience in individuals living with a gastrointestinal condition: Dataset to be collected

Functional dyspepsia and psychological well-being: Dataset to be collected 

Hypnosis versus mindfulness as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome: Dataset to be collected 

Living with a stoma and the psychosocial processes associated with adjustment: Dataset to be collected

Psychological aspects of GI conditions: Dataset to be collected

Sexual health and gastrointestinal conditions: Dataset to be collected 


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines


ACCIDENTS AND PROBLEMATIC MOBILE PHONE USE PROJECT: Does self-control, coordination disorder and cognitive failures mediate the relationship between problematic mobile phone use and accidents involving mobile phones. (Data already collected >1000 responses)

COELIAC DISEASE, COVID-19 AND COPING STYLES OVER TIME: Do coping styles change for individuals living with Coeliac disease in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Over 800 responses across 2-3 time points)

DRIVING ERRORS AND PROBLEMATIC MOBILE PHONE USE:  Does self-control, perceived risk and confidence mediate the relationship between problematic mobile phone use and driving errors (Data already collected >1000 responses)


GASTROINTESTINAL AND PARURESIS/PARCOPRESIS PROJECT: Does living with a gastrointestinal condition impact the psychosocial processes underpinning parcopresis (shy bladder)? (Data already collected 200 with a GI condition and 200+ without a GI condition)

PROBLEMATIC MOBILE PHONE USE PROJECT: Exploring the role of personality, psychological distress, self-control on problematic mobile phone use (Data already collected >1000 responses)


SOCIAL ANXIETY AND MALENESS PROJECT: Exploring the role of conformity to masculine norms, social dominance, and male body attitudes on social anxiety (Data already collected >300 responses)

SOCIAL ANXIETY AND PARURESIS PROJECT: Exploring the role of conformity to masculine norms, social dominance masculinity, male body attitudes, and social anxiety on paruresis (shy bladder) (Data already collected >300 responses)

SOCIAL ANXIETY AND PARURESIS/PARCOPRESIS PROJECT: Along with the extended bivalent model of social anxiety, does a sensitivity to disgust play a role in paruresis (shy bladder) or parcopresis (shy bowel)? (Data already collected >1000 responses)

SOCIAL ANXIETY AND SOCIAL DISTANCE PROJECT: Do the psychosocial processes of the extended bivalent model of social anxiety predict interpersonal distance preferences, and are there gender differences? (Data already collected >1000 responses)

SOCIAL ANXIETY PROJECT: Are there gender differences associated with an extended bivalent model of social anxiety? (Data already collected >1000 responses)

TRAUMA AND PARURESIS: Exploring the role of trauma and psychosocial processes on paruresis symptoms (shy bladder) (Data already collected >300 responses)

Teaching areas

Clinical Psychology;Health Psychology


  • 2019, Swinburne, Highest Clinical Postgrad Student Unit Satisfaction Award Semester 1 2019, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2019, Swinburne, Faculty of Health Arts and Design Supervision Excellence Award, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2019, Swinburne, 1st place in the Faculty of Health Arts and Design Research Impact Awards, Swinburne University of Technology


Also published as: Knowles, Simon; Knowles, S.; Knowles, S. R.; Knowles, Simon R.; Knowles, Simon Robert
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

  • 2015: Online psychoeducation and support service for Adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease transitioning to adult services. *; Telematics Trust Grants
  • 2012: A validation of an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) online support program involving two studies *; Melbourne Health
  • 2012: Mindfulness and coping in chronic illness: insights from a study of joint replacement surgery *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2011: IBDeTherapy: Development and validation of the world's first evidence-based, automated online program for the assesment and treatment of IBD-associated anxiety and depression. *; Broad Medical Research Program Inflammatory Bowel Disease Grants
  • 2010: Assessing the anxiolytic effects of a proprietary magnolia and phosphatidylserine extract: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Canopus BioPharma) *; Canopus BioPharma

* Chief Investigator