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Dr Helen Murphy

Academic Social Psychologist

    Helen is a Social Psychologist in the School of Psychology at the University of East London. Helen gained her BA (Hons) in Psychology from the Queen's University of Belfast and then studied at the London School of Economics & Political Science for her MSc in Social Psychology. Helen returned to Northern Ireland to take up a PhD scholarship at the University of Ulster where she completed her thesis in feminist social psychologies. Helen’s research interests concentrate on the psychological health and wellbeing of individuals, groups and populations. Helen has recently conducted research on mental health service delivery, specifically the lived experience of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT); and client violence against NHS staff. Helen has published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, in the Journal of Mental Health and in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice.


    Helen’s research and scholarly activity fall under main three themes: psychological health and wellbeing for individuals; psychological health and wellbeing for groups; and psychological health and wellbeing for populations.

    Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

    Jussab, F., & Murphy, H. (2015). ‘I just can’t, I am frightened for my safety, I don’t know how to work with her’: Practitioners’ experiences of client violence and recommendations for future practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(4), 287–297. doi:10.1037/pro0000035|

    Murphy, H., & Lahtinen, M. (2015). ‘To me, it’s like a little box of tricks’: Breaking the depressive interlock as a programme participant in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 88(2), 210–226. doi:10.1111/papt.12041|

    Murphy, H., & Perera-Delcourt, R. (2014). ‘Learning to live with OCD is a little mantra that I often repeat’: Understanding the lived experience of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the contemporary therapeutic context. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 87(1), 111–125. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.2012.02076.x|

    Hefferon, K., Murphy, H., McLeod, J., Murtie, N., & Campbell, A. (2013). Understanding barriers to exercise implementation 5 years post breast cancer diagnosis: A large-scale qualitative study. Health Education Research, 25(5), 843–856. doi:10.1093/her/cyt083|

    Murphy, H. (2008). ‘The Troubles’, geographies of mental health in Northern Ireland and re-conceptualizing social capital. Critical Public Health, 18(1), 51–64. doi:10.1080/09581590600602161|

    Non-peer-reviewed Journal Articles

    Riley, S., Evans, A., Griffin, C., Morey, Y. , & Murphy, H. (2015). Crossing into the digital realm. The Psychologist, 28, 652–655.|

    Conference Papers

    Murphy, H. (2014, June). Understanding experiences of civil violence against the emergency services: The paramedics’ story. On the Receiving End of Intervention: Methods in Human Security, The Centre of International Intervention, School of Politics, University of Surrey, Guildford, England.|

    MacKinnon, J., & Murphy, H. (2013, July). Seeking discourses of care: The next challenge for improving access to psychological therapies. Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Conference of International Society of Critical Health Psychology, Bradford, England.|

    Murphy, H., & Lahtinen, M. (2013, July). “To me, it’s like a little box of tricks”: The experience of programme participants in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Paper presented at the 8th Biennial Conference of International Society of Critical Health Psychology, Bradford, England.|

    Murphy, H., & Jussab, F. (2012). Experiences of client violence: The psychologists’ story. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference of Violence in the Health Sector, Vancouver, Canada.|


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    Peer-reviewed Journal Articles Murphy, H., & Lloyd, K. (2007). Civil conflict in Northern Ireland and the prevalence of psychiatric disturbance across the United Kingdom: a population study using the British Household Panel Survey and the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 53(5), 397–407. doi:10.1177/0020764007078340

    Murphy, H., & Murphy, E. K. (2006). Comparing quality of life using the World Health Organization Quality of Life measure (WHOQOL-100) in a clinical and non-clinical sample: Exploring the role of self-esteem, self-efficacy and social functioning. Journal of Mental Health, 15(3), 289–300. doi:10.1080/09638230600700771

    Murphy, H., & Roopchand, N. (2003). Intrinsic motivation and self-esteem in traditional and mature students at a post-1992 university in the north-east of England. Educational Studies, 29(2–3), 243–259. doi:10.1080/03055690303278

    Murphy, H. (2003). Exploring leisure and psychological health and wellbeing: some problematic issues in the case of Northern Ireland. Leisure Studies, 22(1), 37–50. doi:10.1080/02614360306570


    Helen is currently working with national practitioners and international scholars on a range of projects that highlight the significance of psychological wellbeing in service delivery and the factors that impinge upon the good psychological health and wellbeing that we can enjoy. With Jess MacKinnon, Helen is examining the experiences of IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) in the NHS and with Joanna Strong, understanding the psychological needs of women who experience posttraumatic stress as a result of giving birth. Helen is continuing to work with Dr Marika Lahtinen on mindfulness and compassion, understanding how this is useful for individuals with generalised anxiety disorder. Internationally, Helen is collaborating with Dr Maura Sellars on the psychological and educational needs of Sudanese–Australian refugee children. Helen continues her work in peace psychology, collaborating with Professor Marie Breen-Smyth on the particulars of NHS service delivery during times of conflict.


    BSc (Hons) Psychology
    BSc (Hons) Clinical and Community Psychology
    MSc Psychology
    Professional Doctorate Supervision in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)
    Professional Doctorate Supervision in Counselling Psychology (DCounselling)
    PhD by research
    Helen is a reviewer for the following journals.

    British Journal of Psychiatry
    International Journal of Social Psychiatry
    Journal of Health Psychology
    Journal of Obsessive–Compulsive and Related Disorders
    Psychology & Health
    Social Science and Medicine