Dr. Claire McDonald
BSc. (Hons.), D.Clin.Psy., C.Psychol.
Chartered & HCPC Reg. Clinical Psychologist, Full Member of the Division of Neuropsychology (BPS)
I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist working within the NHS and as an affiliate of Oak Tree Consultancy. I have a firm belief in the effectiveness of talking therapy, and have gained considerable experience working with adults experiencing a broad range of emotional difficulties including: anxiety, depression, relationship and attachment issues, grief and loss, and substance misuse. I am particularly interested in working with people who are experiencing distress associated with serious / chronic physical health problems, acquired brain injury and also in meeting the psychological needs of older adults. I feel strongly that therapy should be accessible for all, and seek to develop a shared psychological understanding with the clients I work with.
I draw on a number of therapeutic approaches including: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I tailor my therapeutic approach to meet the needs of the individual, and believe it is equally important to create a warm and trusting space where people feel comfortable to think and talk about what brought them to therapy.
More recently, I have developed a strong interest in neuropsychology; thinking about how acquired brain injury can affect us psychologically and also cognitively. I have expertise in the administration and interpretation of a broad range of neuropsychological assessments, in order to help people understand more clearly their cognitive strengths and weaknesses and how these may have changed as a result of brain injury. I have also developed a strong interest and skills in the assessment of Mental Capacity.
Qualifications and Training
From an early age, I was aware that I enjoyed working with and supporting others. While at school, I regularly volunteered for a summer scheme for children with disabilities, and later as a befriender for a mental health charity. Such experiences opened my eyes to the psychological distress of others and I felt motivated to learn how to alleviate this.
After graduating with a first class BSc in Psychology, I worked as an Assistant Psychologist within an NHS Community Addiction Service and also within a primary care mental health service. I completed my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University and have since worked in secondary care mental health services and currently within a physical health service, specifically with people who have experienced stroke. I am currently undertaking a PgDip in Clinical/Applied Neuropsychology at the University of Glasgow.
I am continually developing my knowledge and skills through attending workshops and seminars and enjoy the process of learning. I feel this knowledge greatly benefits those I work with, and helps to ensure that my skills and approaches are aligned with what is considered current best practice. I am also keen to share skills with others, and regularly offer training sessions to clinicians from a broad range of backgrounds, and also voluntary agencies.
Registered Clinical Psychologist (Health and Care Professions Council)
Chartered membership of the British Psychological Society
Practitioner Full Member of the Division of Neuropsychology (BPS)
Craig D. Murray, Claire McDonald and Heather Atkin (2015). The communication experiences of patients with palliative care needs: A systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative findings. Palliative and Supportive Care, 13, 369-383. doi:10.1017/S1478951514000455.
McDonald, C., Murray, C. & Atkin, H. (2013). Palliative-care professionals’ experiences of unusual spiritual phenomena at the end of life. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2013.849668
Wells, D. L., McDonald, C. L., & Ringland, J. E. (2008). Colour preferences in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 122, 213-219. doi: 10.1037/0735-7036.122.2.213