System addict?

Terrible pun – apologies – we are all very tired after an intensive session on M152PY Introducing Research Informed Practice in Health Psychology.

Today we looked at systematic review papers, searching and downloading some examples from the online database (other databases are available).

We were identifying the key features of systematic review papers to get students started on their own systematic review assignment. Prisma flow diagrams and tabulated findings were our main focus. Looking at published examples of systematic reviews will really help students understand what a systematic review looks like and (hopefully) help them make a start on their own.

We also looked very briefly at RefWorks  – there are some great videos on YouTube that aim to get new users started in 20 minutes.

So quite a busy and packed session but lots of new skills being acquired. Looking forward to reading the finished reviews in December.

The Professionals

Our first week of term saw new and returning students start classes in modules including:

  • Health Promotion and Behaviour Change
  • Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology
  • Biopsychosocial Aspects of Stress, Health & Illness
  • Research Informed Practice in Health Psychology

In the last of these modules we explored what it means to be a trainee in health psychology, and ways to develop each student’s personal professional profile. Students taking the dissertation module this year have started setting up and sharing online progress journals.

It’s going to be an intensive year ahead but things are looking good!


appiness pic for twitterThis is mainly aimed at alumni and friends of the MSc health psych course (as current students have classes that day):

The Health Psychology in Public Health Network are holding an event at Coventry University, on apps to improve the public’s health and wellbeing.

14th November 2017, Coventry University

Aimed at public health staff, researchers, health professionals & app developers
Come along to this insightful mhealth event with speakers from industry, public health and academia showcasing their use of behavioural science in today’s apps! Hosted by Dr Kristina Curtis, Coventry University, & Jolel Miah, Health Psychology Public Health Network.

Booking can be made at the HPPHN website.


The journey to becoming a health psychologist: Midlands Health Psychology Network event

MHPN careers event nov 2017

The Midlands Health Psychology Network will be holding a careers event on Friday 17th November, in the new Science & Health Building at Coventry University. A range of speakers will talk about how they became health psychologists. As there are different career routes and roles we’d really recommend this event to our current students and recent graduates. You can find out more and book a place by visiting the MHPN site for the event.

Sex, lies and mediascape: sexuality and ageing research in the public eye

Hayley Wright MHN

The Midlands Health Psychology Network Coventry Local Interest Group will be hosting Dr. Hayley Wright on Wednesday December 6th (12 – 1 pm). Dr. Wright will be discussing her research into ageing and sexuality.

The MSc health psych course team would like to encourage all students to attend.

Light refreshments will be provided so please let the organisers know if you can make it. It is an informal meeting so do feel free to bring your lunch too!

If you would like to attend, please contact Nikki Holliday, Senior Research Assistant, CIRAL: Centre for Innovative Research Across the Life Course




‘A many doored mansion’: how one of our health psych students described the NHS

Once again PsychAssist have featured a blog post by one of our MSc Health Psych students: Gurkaran Dhanda. He makes some really important points which we’ll be sure to share with new students coming for induction next week.

Check out Gurkaran’s post at PsychAssist.

Check out this new blog post by a student just finishing his health psych masters


Over on the lovely blog at psychassist you can read a short post by Thomas Hadden, who has just finished his MSc Health Psychology at Coventry.

Good luck in your results Thomas!

You can read more students’ experiences of studying with us here.


MSc Health Psych graduate leads mindfulness at national patient conference


On 15th October, staff member Carol Percy and recent graduate Charys Orr contributed to the annual conference of Verity, the national charity for patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). More than eighty women from across the UK took part.

Carol gave a presentation on the emotional impact of PCOS, and took part in an expert Q&A panel, alongside Dr Suman Rice of St George’s University Hospital, Dr Judith Ibson, GP and Senior Lecturer in Primary Care and Prof Stephen Franks, Imperial College and St Mary’s Hospital. This was followed by a practical self-management workshop, which gave tasters of different approaches and signposted places where patients could get more support. Charys, who interviewed patients with PCOS for her MSc dissertation, led a mindfulness meditation, while Carol gave some suggestions for using cognitive behaviour therapy and self-compassion.

Charys and Carol have been working on developing a new self management support programme for PCOS patients. Charys conducted patient interviews as part of her MSc health psychology dissertation project, and Carol is currently interviewing health professionals and charity stakeholders.  They are using a co-creation approach to designing the new intervention, which will be an adaptation of Coventry’s HOPE programme.

Charys said: “The Verity conference was a great opportunity for me to meet with patients, doctors and researchers to enhance my knowledge of PCOS and see how the self-management programme will benefit those who suffer with the condition. I also benefited from from being able to practically apply my knowledge and skills in mindfulness I had learnt over the course of  my masters, particularly during my dissertation research.”

More about PCOS from Verity’s website:


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormone condition and manifests differently in each woman. It can be incredibly devastating to a woman’s self esteem and quality of life.


MSc Health Psychology students’ second visit to Sri Lanka

MSc Health Psychology students travelled to Sri Lanka in August, on a trip organised by Coventry University and the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology. The Sri Lanka visit enables our students to gain insight into the cultural differences in psychology and healthcare across the UK and Sri Lanka.

cirpDuring their ten day tour Coventry students worked at CIRP delivering lectures, visiting psychological sites, hospitals and counselling rooms. They also explored the local area, including some beautiful temples, and took part in an international conference.

Dr Elizabeth Sparkes, Course Director said

This is the second year that the trip has run and it was a huge success again. It’s lovely to hear the students have gained so much personally and professionally from the experience.

Find out more about students’ experiences below.


Healthcare in Sri Lanka


The most valuable experience I had during my time in Sri Lanka was visiting the hospital in Kandy. After the long drive to the highlands, we spent the morning at the main hospital there. We were given the opportunity to sit in on patient consultations, directed by the hospital’s head Psychiatrist, amongst clinical psychologists and other health care practitioners. Although the majority of consultations were in Sinhalese, conversations were translated and paraphrased so we could broadly understand patients’ situations in each appointment. What was really interesting to learn was that even though facilities in Sri Lankan hospitals are nowhere near as advanced as those in Britain, the way in which mental health is treated is very similar- mental health is still considered a taboo subject and is most commonly treated in a similar way to physical health. Despite practitioners trying to facilitate a shift in treatment and trying to encourage CBT and other behaviour change techniques, patients would rather be prescribed a long list of expensive medications than engage in therapy. After two additional hospital visits, we met with the Psychology staff and two government health representatives at the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology. We had a discussion where we compared cross-cultural health care. It was really interesting to learn about different aspects of both Sri Lankan health care and that of China and Singapore as well, where my friends were from.

We went to three different hospitals. It was interesting to see that for mental health patients, the hospital set a large timetable, including meditation, art workshops, music therapy and sport activities. We also joint a consulting time in outpatient clinic and met different patients with different psychological syndromes. It was a very practical experience, which is very rare to have in the UK.

Out and about in Colombo and beyond


Looking back at our time in Sri Lanka, the main thing that comes to mind is how busy Colombo was. We were straight into activities almost as soon as we arrived in the city and every day we spent was packed full of visits to hospitals, lectures and conference days. As valuable as these visits were, my favourite parts of the trip were definitely the calmer moments we spent in museums, temples and landmarks (especially the beautiful sights in Kandy) where we could learn more about the history of Sri Lanka and the role Buddhism plays in their culture. Overall, my trip to Sri Lanka was an amazing experience. My visit to the country was the first trip I had ever made outside Europe so experiencing and learning to respect Sri Lankan culture was eye-opening and has made me want to visit the country again and spend more time visiting cultural sights and landmarks.

The Colombo trip was good. People from CIRP were all very nice and caring. Before we went there, the weather forecast warned that Colombo would rain all the time when we were there. However, luckily, we had all beautiful sunshine when we were out. Colombo is a very busy city with bad traffic, luckily, the little tuk tuk taxi could take us running through the traffic to escape. Once, we went to a wrong place and we thought we couldn’t catch our schedule on time, but tuk tuk just magically took us to the right place in a limited time. We were not late at all. The first day after we arrived, we were excited to try local street food as our first meal and with CIRP people’s recommendation. I think after our first meal, we were kind of thinking maybe we could have some ‘normal’ meal next time, like western food maybe? My favourite part is, I could get avocado juice anywhere!

International conference


The ICAP conference days we had were really interesting. It gave us the opportunity to find out about up to date international research in applied Psychology. We were able to meet with psychologists and researchers from across the world to discuss our interests in Health Psychology. During the first day, we were able to have a conversation about issues and debates in Psychology and compare cross-cultural views of these. I found the workshops on the final day extremely engaging and related well to my own specific interests in Health Psychology. As well as learning about the more practical and academic applications of these topics, they also benefitted me on a more personal level.

The three days conference was a wonderful chance to understand the development of psychology in Asia.


The tour was a great way to mark the end of my masters in Health Psychology, driving my passion to continue research and has opened my eyes to clinical opportunities relating to my interests.

Thank you so much to Coventry University and the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology for granting me with this amazing opportunity and organising the trip of a lifetime!




Midlands Health Psychology Network Conference Coming to Coventry


We’re pleased to share the news that The Midlands Health Psychology Network will be holding its annual conference at Coventry University on March 2nd 2017. The theme will be Approaches to Wellbeing: Working Across Professional Boundaries.

Students from the MSc Health Psychology are encouraged to attend. This will be a chance to see recent graduates and other friends of the course in action, and make useful network contacts. Find out what our students have said about the experience of attending in years past.

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