Clinical and health psychology

Clinical and Health Psychology researchers in La Trobe's Department of Psychology and Counselling have expertise across a range of areas affecting the wellbeing and functioning of individuals, couples, families and communities.

The research conducted by Clinical and Health Psychology group is conducted in a variety of settings (laboratory, clinic, health service and community) and across the lifespan.

Our research aims to understand the psychological processes that cause and maintain challenging health and emotional problems. We use these understandings to develop effective change approaches (online therapies, psychological interventions, couples' therapy, groups, self-help, education and public health initiatives).

The Clinical and Health Psychology group have collaborations and linkages within the university, in Australia and internationally.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Adult attachment and mental health
  • Body image, eating problems, and eating disorders
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Clinical training
  • Common factors in therapy
  • Contextual behavioural science
  • Couple relationships and couple therapy
  • Forgiveness
  • Health psychology and behavioural medicine
  • LGBTIQ mental health and intervention
  • Mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments
  • Online support and psychological therapy
  • Parenting and parent mental health
  • Perinatal psychology
  • Professional training and supervision
  • Psychosis
  • Sleep
  • Trauma
  • Workplace wellbeing
Research areasResearchers
Eating, Feeding, Weight and Body Image: Psychological approaches to understanding, preventing and treating eating, weight and body image concerns and their biopsychosocial comorbidities (e.g., polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, stigma) in children, adolescents and adults. Current projects include body image interventions in specific groups (e.g., those with higher weights), eating disorder interventions in specific groups (e.g., women with PCOS), examining the impact of dietary interventions (e.g., Time Restricted Feeding) on psychological outcomes, developing a measure of diet related quality of life, etc.

Leah Brennan

Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine. Understanding the psychosocial aspects of health and health behaviours and designing and implementing theory-based interventions for health promotion and disease management. Specific interests include risk perception, social support, mental imagery, perfectionism, eating disorders, diabetes, lifestyle modification, workplace health and measurement development and validation Carina Chan 
Stress and wellbeing in parents with young children with autism: Moving away from self-report to objective indicators in naturalistic behaviour samples
How do parent interaction behaviours change over time, in the context of engagement with their infants showing early signs of autism?
How similar or distinct are differently 'branded' models of parent-mediated intervention for infants with autism, really?
Kristelle Hudry 
Perinatal psychology. Working with women during pregnancy and women and babies during the first postnatal year
Childbirth-related trauma, attachment between mother and unborn/newborn baby, tokophobia (fear of childbirth) related research, perinatal loss, perinatal anxiety and depression, perinatal OCD, twins and other perinatally relevant areas
Kirstie McKenzie-McHarg 
Clinical Psychology. Acceptance, mindfulness, compassion and values; processes of change; exposure therapy; clinical Relational Frame Theory; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; clinical supervision; transdiagnostic processes in psychosis, anxiety, OCD, trauma, mood instability, insomnia, non-clinical paranoia, schizotypy; wellbeing of health professionals; workplace interventions Eric Morris 
Socio-cultural risk factors, prevention and treatment of body dissatisfaction, disordered eating and obesity across the lifespan. Relationships between mothers eating and feeding patterns and the eating patterns of their young children. Early development of body image. Reducing stigma about eating disorders in the community Susan Paxton 
Clinical Psychology: Adult attachment and close relationships, including implications for couples and long-term singles; predictors of long-term singlehood; LGBTIQ mental health and relationships; sexuality and gender diversity; mindfulness, compassion-focused, and acceptance-based interventions; common factors in therapy Chris Pepping 
Parent and child outcomes following RCTs of early intervention programs; parenting and parent mental health in at-risk populations or contexts (e.g. children born prematurely, interparental conflict); relationships between brain development, parenting, and child development Karli Treyvaud

Research groups

Body Image, Eating and Weight Research Team (BEWT)

Research in Australia in the psychological aspects of feeding, eating, weight and body image concerns and their biopsychosocial comorbidities such as diabetes, depression, stigma.

Project pages

Achieving Body Confidence for Young Children (ABC-4-YC)

A school-based body image program aimed at reducing body dissatisfaction, weight stigma, and appearance-based teasing.

Children's Body Image Development Study

Aims to find out more about the influences of age, gender, body size and the social environment on the body image of pre-school children.

Cool Little Kids

Helping shy/anxious young children to build confidence and be brave.

Couples Research Program

We aim to better understand what makes couple relationships satisfying for heterosexual and LGBTIQ couples, and to develop interventions to enhance couple relationships.​


Our work focuses on understanding the development of body image in children, uncovering risk factors for body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, and evaluating prevention and treatment interventions for these problems.

Self-help for anxiety

Finding messages suitable for promotion to the public