Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Deputy theme Lead: Precision psychological therapies
The purpose of my work is to make significant advances in the understanding and treatment of mental health disorders, particularly the problem of paranoia. Drawing on a variety of approaches, including epidemiological studies, psychological experiments, clinical trials, and a ground-breaking virtual reality laboratory, I use the theoretical knowledge to develop carefully tested psychological treatments that will truly make a difference.
I pioneered the use of virtual reality (VR) to assess, understand, and treat paranoia. Subsequently I have led work designing and testing new automated VR psychological therapies for mental health disorders. The aim is to produce VR therapies that produce greater clinical effects than face-to-face therapies. I founded and am a non-executive board member of Oxford VR, a spinout company from the University. Oxford VR built on my research into the use of virtual reality to understand and treat psychological disorders. I founded the company in 2016 with Jason Freeman, Mel Slater, Bernhard Spanlang, and Mavi Sánchez-Vives.
I’m also committed to making knowledge of the best psychological research and treatments for mental health problems available to the general public. Therefore I’ve written a number of popular science books on mental health issues. The latest to appear is The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women, and Mental Health, which sets out to answer a simple, but crucial, question: are rates of psychological disorder different for men and women? This important issue has been largely ignored in all the debates raging about gender differences.
I studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, completed a PhD and a doctorate in clinical psychology (DClinPsy) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, then held a Wellcome Trust Fellowship and a Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellowship. In 2011 I moved to the University of Oxford and set up the Oxford Cognitive Approaches to Psychosis (O-CAP) research group. From 2015-2020 I was an NIHR Research Professor. I am the recipient of the 2020 British Psychological Society Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge.
View Daniel Freeman’s profile on the Department of Psychiatry website.