Functional somatic syndromes and symptoms

We have a strong track record of empirical and theoretical work on functional somatic syndromes and symptoms, including:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome,
  • chronic oro-facial pain,
  • somatization disorder,
  • psychogenic non-epileptic attack disorder,
  • somatoform dissociation,
  • physical symptom reporting more generally.

Our work focuses both on understanding the biopsychosocial bases of functional symptoms, and on developing and evaluating interventions for these conditions, including ways to enable health professionals to work more effectively with patients. We use a variety of methodologies. Quantitative methods include self-report, cognitive-experimental, electrophysiological and brain imaging paradigms.

Qualitative methods include thematic analysis, IPA and grounded theory. We also use treatment evaluation techniques such as randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and metasyntheses. We study a range of different clinical interventions, including:

  • physical exercise,
  • pragmatic rehabilitation,
  • guided self-help,
  • cognitive behaviour therapy,
  • psychodynamic interpersonal therapy,
  • mindfulness meditation.


Name Job title Email address
Richard Brown Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology and Research Theme lead
Alison Wearden Professor of Health Psychology
Sarah Peters Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Ellen Poliakoff Senior Lecturer in Psychology