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Professor Helen Dent

Job Title and Responsibilities

Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology

My job title is Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology. I am the Programme Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology which is delivered jointly by Staffordshire and Keele Universities. Graduates from this programme are eligible for registration with the Health and care Professions Council and for chartership with the British Psychological Society. I also have responsibility for awards in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. one of which has received Accreditation from the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.

About Me

I received a BA(Hons) in Psychology from Hull University; a PhD in Psychology from Nottingham University and an MPhil in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London. My PhD and post Doctoral research concerned the reliability of children’s evidence in court. My interest in this continues and I am often invited to be an Expert Witness in legal proceedings. I am currently conducting research jointly with Dr Sarah Krahenbuhl into ex police officers’ views of attrition in child protection cases and I am supervising PhD research into the child’s journey through the forensic process.

Since obtaining my clinical qualification I have worked in various specialties in the NHS, including adult and child, substance misuse and neuropsychological assessment. My clinical research interests centre on Attachment Theory, which I find to be a very useful model to explain the difficulties experienced by people who have suffered adverse experiences in childhood. 

I have worked in Higher Education on training programmes for clinical psychology at Leeds, Birmingham and Staffordshire/Keele Universities, where I developed the current Clinical Psychology Doctorate. I enjoy encouraging new trainees and I regularly supervise DClinPsy research projects.

I have recently enjoyed training as a Coach on an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) validated module at Staffordshire University.


  • BA (Hons)  Psychology University of Hull, 1973

  • PhD   University of Nottingham, 1978

  • MPhil  Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, 1982

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Clinical and Forensic) - Health and Care Professions Council

  • Chartered Psychologist (Clinical and Forensic) and Associate Fellow - British Psychological Society

  • Member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

  • Co-Chair of the British Psychological Society Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology 2012 - 2016

  • Member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology Executive 2013 - 2016


My clinical and forensic expertise centres around vulnerable young people and their parents. I conduct assessment, intervention and research in this area. I have held research grants and have acted as a Professional Consultant to the Department of Health, the British Psychological Society and other national organisations. In 2013, Dr Sarah Krahenbuhl and I were awarded a Student Academic Partnership to support our research into the progression of child protection cases. I regularly act as an External Examiner and as a reviewer for other clinical psychology Doctoral programmes.

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

In 2007 Dr Christine Blincoe and I were awarded A HEIF grant to explore Police Officers’ adherence to Child Witness interview training. As part of We delivered workshops to Police officers in Birmingham, legal professionals in Stoke on Trent and in 2009, were invited to address the Designated Civil Judges’ Annual Conference at the University of Warwick.

Research Interests

  • Children as Witnesses
  • Attachment Theory
  • Inter-professional Education

Selected Publications

Niebieszczanski, R., Dent H.R. & McGowan, A. (In Press). “Your personality is the intervention”: A Grounded Theory of Mental Health Nurses’ Beliefs about Hope and Experiences of Fostering Hope Within a Secure Setting. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.

Dent, H. (2015). Impact of Delay in the Child protection System: Consequences of Abuse and Neglect on Children and Young People. In B.Williams, E. Peart, R. Young & D. Briggs (Eds) Capacity to Change. Understanding a Parent’s Capacity to Change Within the Timescales of the Child. Bristol: Family Law, Jordan Publishing

Dent, H. (2014). Clinical Psychology: Research and Developments. London & NY: Routledge.

Priest, H., Roberts, P., Dent, H., Hunt, T., Weston, D., Chell, A., Blincoe, C., & Armstrong, C. (2011) Preparing for  collaborative working in mental health: an interprofessional education project with clinical psychology trainees and nursing students. Journal of Mental Health Education, Training and Practice, 6 (1), 47-57.

Dent, H.R. & Blincoe, C. (2009). Experts from the Experts’ Perspective. Invited presentation to the Designated Civil Judges’ Annual Conference, 25th & 26th June, University of Warwick

Dent, H.R. & Dobbing,R. (2009). Vulnerability & Resilience: The role of childhood factors. Invited presentation to Protecting Women, the Annual Conference for Genito-Urinary Nurses, 2nd May, Staffordshire University

Priest, H., Roberts, P., Dent, H., Blincoe, C., Lawton, D. & Armstrong, C. (2008). Interprofessional education and working in mental health: in search of the evidence base. Journal of Nursing Management, 16, 474–485

Golding, K., Dent, H.R., Nissim, R., & Stott, E. (2006) Thinking Psychologically about Children who are Looked After and Adopted: Space for Reflection.  Chichester: Wiley

Current Teaching

  • Introductory Clinical Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Attachment Theory (undergraduate & post-graduate)
  • Working with vulnerability (post-graduate)
  • Child Clinical Work (post-graduate)


Professor Helen Dent
School of Psychology, Sport & Exercise (P/G, Partnerships & Distance Learning in Psychology)
Faculty of Health Sciences
Staffordshire University
Science Centre
Leek Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294007
e: helen.dent@staffs.ac.uk