Paul is Professor of Mental Health in the School of Health and Social Care and Associate Director of the Edinburgh Research and Innovation Centre for Complex mental health problems (ERICCA), an NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Napier University research centre.
From 2016 to 2018, he was School Lead for Postgraduate Research, where he led a number of successful initiatives to improve PGR student experience, including the launch of the School's Clinical Academic Research Leader (CARL) training programme in 2017. From 2018 to 2020 he was School Deputy Director of Research, and from 2019 to 2021 he was University Lead for REF2021 Unit of Assessment 3.
Paul completed degrees in psychology at the University of Glasgow and clinical psychology at the University of Manchester. He has worked clinically within the NHS for a number of years, including most recently as Principal Research Clinical Psychologist in GMW NHS Trust’s Psychosis Research Unit. Before joining Edinburgh Napier University in 2016, Paul was a Chancellor’s Fellow in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.
Paul's research interests are focused on understanding the causes of psychotic symptoms, understanding impaired decision-making capacity in the context of psychosis, and developing effective interventions to reduce psychotic symptoms and improve decision-making capacity in people who have these experiences. Paul has been a collaborator on a number of clinical trials of psychological interventions for psychosis and has published a number of articles on various aspects of psychosis. From 2011 to 2014 he was part of the team that completed the first trial of cognitive therapy for people with psychosis who are not taking antipsychotic medication. More recently he worked with Dr David Turner and colleagues to complete the first randomised controlled trial of a psychological intervention to improve treatment decision-making capacity in psychosis and, with Dr Philip Murphy and colleagues, the first study of the effects of collaborative psychological assessment and formulation of impaired capacity in people with psychosis. He is Chief Investigator on a Chief Scientist Office-funded Umbrella trial, where the effect of these and other interventions on capacity is being examined in parallel randomised controlled trials.
Paul was a member of the expert committee which developed the 2018 National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on supporting decision-making for people who may lack mental capacity, and was a member of the expert committee for a new NICE guideline on shared decision-making in health and social care. He also leads the 'Adults with Incapacity: The Assessment of Capacity for Health Care Professionals' module, which provides training and certification to health care practitioners who need to issue Section 47 certificates under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.
He currently supervises 3 PhD students, and has supervised 27 postgraduate research projects to successful completion, including 14 Doctoral and 13 Master's theses. Graduates in psychology, law or other relevant disciplines (nursing, medicine, philosophy, social work) who are interested in pursuing a PhD in the area of psychosis and autonomy (including decision-making capacity) are welcome to contact Paul to discuss possible opportunities.