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Posted on May 8 2024 by Fiona Bailey

Dr Emily Fox, who started her career working as a Healthcare Assistant at St Andrew's Healthcare in the 80s, has now been appointed President of a prestigious therapy organisation.

Dr Fox, who has worked her way up at the charity and is now Director of Psychological Therapies, has just been named the new President of the Society for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (SfDBT).

The organisation was set up to support Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) practitioners and for those who are interested in furthering the development of DBT as an evidence-based treatment.

Dr Fox began working at St Andrew’s Healthcare in 1988, before deciding she wanted to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology.

Once qualified, she returned to the charity as a Clinical Psychologist in 1998 and has worked her way across the Northampton-based charity, working in a number of settings including learning disability, eating disorders, acute admissions, and adolescents.  

But DBT – commonly referred to as the ‘talking therapy’ - has remained Dr Fox’s focus and she has become one of the country’s leading DBT experts.

The approach is based around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) but has been adapted to help people who are experiencing extreme emotions. Developed in the US by Psychologist Marsha Linehan, DBT was designed to treat people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, particularly individuals who had suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Dr Fox said: “I love helping people to unpick their challenges (whether that’s with their emotions, thoughts, relationships or life stresses), and agreeing what intervention is needed to help them recover and achieve their life goals. This is the reason why I trained as a Clinical Psychologist and the reason I have stayed at St Andrew's for so long.

“I first became aware of DBT in 2000 when I was being supervised by a Clinical Psychologist whilst working in our Child and Adolescent Mental Health service. Twenty-four years later and I’m still interested in how we use the principles of DBT in inpatient settings and with a range of mental health diagnoses.

“The DBT approach perfectly aligns with St Andrew's purpose of giving hope and I’m very pleased to be able to have a small part in providing hope to our patients.

“An example that immediately springs to mind, was speaking to a recently discharged patient who turned to me when she was leaving and said ‘when I had given up hope, the staff team held the hope for me. Thank you for not giving up on me.’ Those words are what drives me, and I really can’t say it better than that.”

Dr Vivienne McVey, CEO of St Andrew's, added: “We are exceptionally proud of Dr Fox's new appointment. Emily has been a member of Team St Andrew's for more than 25 years, and her dedication to our patients is inspirational.

“Dialectical Behavioural Therapy has the power to make a real difference to people with personality disorders, and I have seen first-hand the impact that it has, helping patients to manage their most intense emotions including the urge to self-harm. I am proud that we continue to offer it here at St Andrew's as part of our treatment model for patients with diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.”