Laura Shepherd is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist currently completing a HEE/NIHR ICA Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship on a part-time basis. She has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Leeds and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She works in the NHS in the area of Clinical Health Psychology, leading and developing psychology services in the specialisms of burns and cleft lip and palate.
Laura is a clinical-academic and her research interests have been shaped by her clinical work, where she helps patients manage and adjust to living with visible differences due to burn injuries or being born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Her doctoral research focuses on the roles of psychological flexibility and self-compassion in the development of appearance-related distress after burn injuries with a view to developing an early intervention.
She has a number of publications of which most are related to aspects of psychological burn care, including:
- assessing psychological difficulties in the inpatient hospital phase
- patients’ experiences and opinions regarding mirrors on a Burns Unit
- looking in the mirror for the first time following burn injuries, and
- how healthcare staff feel about helping patients with this
- patients’ experiences of scar management
- the relationship between post-traumatic stress symptoms and appearance-related distress
- how burns surgeons make decisions about treating self-harm injuries
- the role of psychological flexibility in the maintenance of appearance-related distress after burns
- the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for appearance-related distress in burns patients.
She has also researched in the areas of post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual health, and recording cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) sessions.
In addition to the above, Laura guest teaches on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology courses at the University of Sheffield and the University of Leicester, is the current Chair of the British Burn Association Psychosocial Special Interest Group, and is currently a member of the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Psychology in Physical Health Settings Task & Finish Group.