Dr Helen Combes

Job Title and Responsibilities

Principal Clinical Lecturer


About Me

I graduated from Bangor University with a first class BSc in Psychology and Health. After completing my undergraduate degree I went to work as an assistant psychologist with Prof C Cullen in North Staffordshire. I completed my DClinPsy at Sheffield University, and my final year dissertation used Q methodology to identify the values of people with learning disabilities (and their circle of support). I joined the programme team on the Staffordshire and Keele Universities doctorate in clinical psychology in 2004. I have supervised a number of qualitative research projects on recovery and wellbeing and I am especially interested in supervising systematic single-case methodologies. Since working on the programme I have completed my post-graduate diploma in CBT at Oxford University and have completed a post-graduate certificate in higher education and an MA in education at Staffordshire University.


  • BSc (Psychology & Health) 1st Class. University of Wales, Bangor.

  • DClinPsy.  University of Sheffield

  • PGDiploma CBT, Oxford University

  • PGCHPE, Staffordshire University

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • HCPC – Accredited Practitioner.

  • BPS – Chartered Psychologist.

  • BABCP – Member and Accredited Therapist.

  • Member of the Division of Clinical Psychology (West Midlands Branch) Committee.

  • Member of the British Psychological Society’s Awards Committee.


  • Diversity and Difference in Multi-professional learning.

  • Radical Behaviourism.

  • Single case methodology – including Q method, grounded theory and single case experimental designs.

  • Third Wave, contextual psychotherapie (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Functional Analytic Psychotherapy).

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

I work in independent practice in North Staffordshire.

Research Interests

  • Sexuality and People with Learning Disabilities

  • Multi-professional differences in understanding psychological distress.

  • The systematic application of single case methodology, especially Q methodology and relational frame theory.

  • Emancipatory research paradigms.

Selected Publications

Combes, H., and Cullen, C. N. (In Press). Formulation in Behavioural Work. In N. Tarrier: Case Formulation in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Brunner-Routledge.

Combes, H., and Tan, R. (2009).  Involving Vulnerable People in Research. In P. Roberts and H. Priest (eds).  Healthcare Research:  A textbook for students and practitioners.  Wiley Blackwell.

McClimens, A. and Combes, H. (2010). Sex and Sexual Health. In G. Grant, M Richardson, P. Goward and P Ramcharan:  A Handbook of Learning Disability.  A lifestyle approach to valuing people.  Open University Press. 

Stokes, L,. Combes, H,. Stokes, G. (2011) Understanding the dementia diagnosis: the impact on the caregiving experience. Dementia. The International Journal of Social Research and Practice.

Tan, R., Gould, R., Combes, H., and Lehman, S. (2012).  Distress, Trauma and Recovery:  Adjustment to First Episode Psychosis.  Psychology and Psychotherapy;  Research and Practice.  (Accepted for publication June 2012).

Current Teaching

  • Social Role Valorisation

  • Single case designs

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • The BPS and the HCPC – statutory regulation and professional standards

  • Psychological Skills

  • Service Evaluation and the NHS

  • Evaluating Outcomes in casework



Dr Helen Combes
Principal Clinical Lecturer
School of Psychology, Sport & Exercise (P/G, Partnerships & Distance Learning)
Faculty of Health Sciences
Staffordshire University
Science Centre
Leek Road
t: +44 (0)1782 295803
e: h.a.combes@staffs.ac.uk
twitter: @coombes