“It’s a Pain Series”

6th December 2012, Stockton Arts Centre, 7.00-8.15pm

Free entry and no booking required


Professor Stephen Morley, University of Leeds

What’s this lecture about?

What has psychology got to do with pain?  I suspect that psychology is associated with abnormality in the minds of many people. In the clinic the professional help of a psychologist is more often than not sought when the person with pain exhibits extreme distress or behaves in a way that suggests that there is a marked discrepancy between their ‘real pain’ and their behaviour.  In this talk I want to try and redress this balance by considering the normal psychology of pain.  We can understand peoples’ responses to persistent pain in terms of normal psychological processes that everyone experiences.  For convenience we can capture the impact of pain in three ways: it grabs your attention and interrupts your conscious experience and behaviour; it interferes with the tasks you want or need to do; and if it persists it impacts on your identity – the sense of who you are and what you want to be. My overall emphasis will be on chronic pain and the problems that it presents to individuals who have to adjust to living with it.  I will also talk about how psychologists have developed treatments to address pain, the effectiveness of these treatments and what the future might hold.

Stephen Morley – brief biography

Stephen Morley is Professor of Clinical Psychology and director of the clinical psychology training programme at the University of Leeds.  He holds an honorary post in the NHS where he works for one day a week with people with chronic pain.   He has been involved in research and treatment for pain since the 1980s.  His current research is focuses on the effectiveness of psychological treatments for chronic pain and on the impact of pain on a person’s sense of identity.

After graduating from University College London he spent a couple of years working in a ‘rat lab’ where he acquired a variety of rodent-related skills which centred on their toilet habits. Finding this a career limiting set of skills he then trained as a clinical psychologist at Institute of Psychiatry, London.  He completed his PhD in the psychophysiology of migraine headache after which he moved to work in the mental health services in Cambridge before moving to the University of Leeds to work on the clinical psychology training programme.

Contact for this event is:  Paul Chazot.  No booking required.


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