Dr Judith Johnson

Dr Judith Johnson


Dr Judith Johnson is an HCPC-registered Clinical Psychologist based at both the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, and the Bradford Institute for Health Research. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc(Hons) in Psychology in 2007. She was awarded a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Manchester in 2010, and a ClinPsyD (Clinical Psychology Doctorate) from the University of Birmingham in 2013.

Dr Johnson is an expert in psychological resilience. Her work has identified personality factors which help some individuals to cope better with stressors than others, and she has used this to develop a training intervention to equip healthcare staff to cope better with stressful clinical events.

A key focus of Dr Johnson's work is the healthcare workforce. Her research suggests that when healthcare staff burnout is high, patient care suffers. She is now working to identify interventions which can reduce healthcare staff burnout and improve patient care.

One stream of Dr Johnson's work investigates the process of breaking bad or unexpected news in healthcare contexts. Her work in this area suggests that news delivery is a frequent but challenging occurence for healthcare professionals. She is now evaluating whether communication coaching could be a useful intervention and whether it might improve experiences for both staff and patients. 

Dr Johnson’s work on resilience has been featured in the Guardian newspaper and her resilience framework has informed the World Health Organization’s approach to resilience to suicide. Her work into communication in ultrasound settings has been featured on BBC news and BBC social media feeds. She has provided consultancy services to private and third sector organizations. She has produced a range of videos for teaching clinical psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy which are available on YouTube. These are used by universities internationally. She has spoken at conferences in the UK, USA, Singapore, Italy and Sweden. To find out more about Judith's work and read blog posts about her research, see judithjohnsonphd.com.

Current research students:

Alice Dunning, PhD student: Research suggests that when nurses are under stress and suffering from burnout, patient safety may suffer. Alice's PhD project aims to understand whether a brief intervention based on self-affirmation may be feasible and effective for reducing burnout in this group, and to explore whether it could have concomitant benefits for patient safety. Alice's research is funded by the NIHR CLAHRC Evidence-Based Transformation Theme and the University of Leeds.

Louisa Burton, PhD student: Patients and relatives express dissatisfaction with information provision following a stroke, specifically information about the timing and extent of recovery. Louisa's research aims to develop an intervention to enable staff to discuss recovery in a format that meets the needs of stroke survivors and their families. Her work is funded by the Stroke Association.

Tmam Al Ghunaim, PhD student: Tmam's PhD research is focusing upon the links between surgeon wellbeing and burnout and the quality and safety of patient care. Her work is funded by the government of Saudi Arabia.

Khalid Alshahrani, PhD student: Ambulance paramedics work under stressful conditions and regularly attend potentially traumatic events. Khalid's research aims to develop and test a psychological intervention to enable paramedics to cope with these experiences. His work is funded by the government of Saudi Arabia.

Cristina Harney, PhD student: Cristina's research aims to investigate the impact of listening to music on mood. She will test whether a brief music intervention may be feasible, acceptable and effective for reducing anxiety levels in individuals reporting heightened anxiety. Her work is funded by the University of Leeds.

Completed research students:

Raabia Sattar, PhD student (2016-2020): Raabia's PhD research project aims to develop a communication intervention to improve the practice of error disclosure to patients in UK maternity services. Raabia's research is funded by the NIHR CLAHRC Evidence-Based Transformation Theme and the University of Leeds.

Emma Howarth, DClin student (2016-2019): Emma's research is focused upon understanding the association between stressful life events and the development of suicidality, and which factors may confer resilience to individuals experiencing high levels of stress.

Susanna Ward, DClin student (2015-2018): Susanna investigated the impact of long shifts on mental health nursing staff wellbeing and the quality and safety of patient care using a qualitative research design.

Louise Hall, PhD student (2014-2017): Louise's PhD research project, WellGP, explored the associations between GP wellbeing and burnout, with patient safety. She conducted focus groups, a survey and a diary study in order to understand how GPs can best be supported in order to provide high quality, safe patient care. Louise's research was funded by the NIHR CLAHRC Evidence-Based Transformation Theme and the University of Leeds.

Catherine Corker, DClin student (2014 - 2017): Working with clients who have experienced trauma can be a rewarding but emotionally demanding experience, and Cat's research focused upon understanding how therapists working with these groups can best be supported in order to provide compassionate care.

Emma Waters, DClin student (2013-2016): Emma's research tested the effectiveness of an online intervention for boosting self-compassion and protecting against the development of shame and paranoia.

Research groups and institutes

  • Health and social psychology
  • Health services research
  • Mental health

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>