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New for 2024 - Launch of the Annual Recognition Awards in Trauma Research Practice

Psychological trauma is increasingly present in mental health research and clinical services. Yet, significant gaps exist in our knowledge and disparities between research & practice, especially in meeting the needs of marginalised populations, are pronounced.

To improve outcomes for trauma exposed populations it is vital that we ensure service users and healthcare professionals are supported by:

  • Developing & implementing practices that are effective
  • Sharing good practice
  • Investing in the professional development and wellbeing of health professionals working with trauma exposed populations

To help meet these goals we are launching a series of annual recognition awards to highlight and promote clinical and research practice that improve outcomes for service users and staff groups.

To find out more about these awards, including the different award categories and how to apply, head over to:

The Centre for Developmental and Complex Trauma, St Andrew’s Healthcare 

The Centre for Developmental and Complex Trauma (CDCT), St Andrew’s Healthcare, focuses on improving the lives of marginalised populations, who have been subject to repeated trauma exposure. The centre was established to provide a forum to network, coordinate and engage in activities to improve outcomes for people who live with the impact of trauma.  

In keeping with this focus, the CDCT has a strong co-production and multi-disciplinary focus to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the care and support of people with trauma-related needs have a voice. A sense of ‘ownership’ by providers and recipients of care is key to the success of the CDCT in achieving its aims.  


The Values of the CDCT 

The values of the CDCT reflect those of the St Andrew’s healthcare and frameworks within healthcare that seek to promote inclusive approaches to education and research. As such the centre the centre works within a framework of:    

  • Advocating and empowering: for those who have experienced trauma and assuring that marginalised voices are heard  
  • Mainstreaming: ensuring that the needs and voices of marginalised populations who experience structural inequalities are embedded in policy, research and practice frameworks, rather than approached as ‘add ons’
  • Partnerships: developing networks with leading practitioners and renowned experts in the field to strengthen voices to bring about change 
  • Reducing the gap between research evidence and clinical practice to maximise potential and to achieve the best possible clinical outcomes  
  • Promoting and protecting the wellbeing of those who work with trauma populations to reduce the impact of this work 


Aims and Key Objectives of the CDCT

The broad aims of the Centre are achieved through developing partnerships and practices to deliver comprehensive research, teaching and CPD programmes that incorporate holistic and survivor coproduction work that will focus on some of the most marginalised and disenfranchised sections of society.   The core aims of the Centre are the advancement of clinical practice to achieve better outcomes for people who have experienced repeated incidents of trauma.  The Centre will operate according to three broad principles: 

  • To improve the lives and outcomes for of people who have experienced repeated trauma 
  • To bridge the gap between academic knowledge and clinical practice
  • To increase awareness of the trauma experiences and care needs for the most marginalised sections of society 


To improve the lives and outcomes of people who have experienced repeated trauma. 
Through recognising the whole-person impact of trauma and to place those affected by trauma at the centre of activities to improve the effectiveness of services.  This will be achieved through research, hosting continuous professional development events and through influencing the national policy agenda to ensure that the voices and needs of our populations are reflected in government policy.  

To bridge the gap between academic knowledge and clinical practice. 
To support the development of models of care derived from research driven by a strong academic rigour and developed by clinicians and peer researchers working in the field. This will be achieved through employing people with lived experience and providing comprehensive training to promote the quality of survivor research. Our service evaluation and research programmes will also have a strong applied clinical focus and will report findings based on the needs of our populations.  

To increase awareness of the trauma experiences and care needs for the most marginalised sections of society who are typically excluded, or who are minimally present, in trauma research and have limited access to trauma services. 
This will be achieved through focusing our CPD, service evaluation and research activities with these populations and using this platform to inform and influence national policy agenda’s. 

Meet the Team


Dr Deborah Morris, Lead for the Centre for Development and Complex Trauma


Deborah is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and the course director for the MSc Practitioner in Psychological Trauma course, University of Buckingham.  During her career she has worked clinically with adults with complex personality disorder, neurodevelopmental, forensic and mental health needs in the community, assertive outreach, crisis, residential and inpatient settings.  Deborah has previously worked in professional and clinical lead positions and in services to support the mental health and trauma needs of healthcare professionals.  Her publications and ongoing research interests include; occupational distress and trauma, treatments for personality disorder, intellectual disabilities, developmental trauma disorders, the intersection between trauma and personality disorder, moral injury, gendered approaches to trauma and trauma care, adverse childhood experiences, the physical health impact of exposure to trauma and the psychometric properties of psychological tools.

Deborah holds a number of visiting lecturer roles and lectures on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across different universities.

Elanor Webb, Research Associate and Lecturer

After graduating from University with undergraduate and master’s degrees in psychology and clinical psychology research, Elanor has worked within research at St Andrew’s Healthcare. Her research interests include psychological trauma in forensic populations, physical health, and moral injury and wellbeing in mental healthcare staff. Alongside her role, Elanor is also a PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire, completing a programme of research on the sources, risk factors and cognitive mechanisms underlying moral injury in secure mental healthcare workers. 


David Gibbs, Practice and Policy Advisor

David is a trainer and consultant who is passionate about matters of race and mental health. He is an expert by experience working with the University of Birmingham, Psychology Department and as a Lay Manager for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust. David also serves on the Board of the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology - Involvement Group. He recently completed a Master’s Degree in Theology and Transformative Practice.

Students & Volunteers

We also have a number of postgraduate students and volunteers working with the centre. For more information about the placements that we offer and other opportunities to get involved with the centre, head over to the 'collaborations' page. 

CDCT Brochure and Annual Report

Download our brochure for more information about who we are and what we do. You can also access a copy of our latest annual report for an overview of our achievements and highlights in 2022-2023.