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Psychological therapy innovator wins BPS President’s Award

08 September 2020

Professor Daniel Freeman, an innovator in the research and treatment of psychosis, is the 2020 recipient of the British Psychological Society’s President’s Award.

Most well-known for his work on understanding and treating psychosis, including using innovative methods, such as virtual reality, Professor Freeman’s research focusses on greatly improving the effectiveness of psychological treatments for persecutory delusions; a key problem of patients with severe mental health problems. 

He has held fellowships with the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, and NIHR. In 2018 he won the NHS NIHR Mental Health Challenge Award for his research leading to the first use of virtual reality (VR) to treat persecutory delusions. Professor Freeman now heads a large NHS team with a £4million budget to develop, implement, and assess psychological treatment using VR. 

His new VR treatments are being introduced into NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) clinics and his recent research into the use of VR for conquering people’s fear of heights has been published in the Lancet. 

Professor Daniel Freeman said:

"It is a fantastic honour, although it could never have happened without the support of so many wonderful mentors, colleagues, and team members, and the patients who have shared so much."

The Research Board also awarded Professor Robert Plomin 2020 BPS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Read about Professor Plomin’s award on this website.

Professor Daryl O’Connor, chair of the Research Board said:

"The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidents’ Award are two of the highest and most prestigious honours the society can bestow on its members.

This year we received a large number of incredibly high calibre nominations reflecting excellence in the areas of research, education and practice.

As a result, the Award Committee had a very difficult time deciding upon the winners, but after much deliberation and discussion, we have awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Robert Plomin and the Presidents’ Award 2020 to Professor Daniel Freeman.

Many congratulations to both winners who have made such distinctive and exemplary contributions to psychological knowledge over a sustained period of time.” 

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