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Personal profile

Research Interests

Research interests

My main area of interest has been mental health linked to trauma and conflict and the development of evidence based psychological interventions, in particular cognitive therapy for conflict related PTSD.

1. In 1998 after the Omagh bombing I was invited with Dr Kate Gillespie to co-lead the work of the H&SC Trauma & Recovery team. In collaboration with Profs David M Clark and Anke Ehlers, Oxford university and KCL, we led and evaluated the application of a new cognitive model for PTSD with victims of this traumatic event.

2. Since 1998 I have systematically explored the phenomenology of PTSD linked to civil conflict and researched the effectiveness of Trauma Focussed cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (TFCBT) with other conflict related traumas via single case studies, a case series and clinical trials. Between 2003 – 2005, my colleagues and I helped secure funding for, managed and supervised a randomised controlled trial comparing cognitive therapy for PTSD with a wait list group. The trial has since been published in the British Medical Journal.

3. I have also been co -Investigator in large population and school based studies to explore predictors of PTSD and factors that may promote resilience or inhibit recovery. I have co-published several papers on cognitive predictors of PTSD and continue to collaborate with colleagues at Oxford ( Prof DM Clark and Prof Anke Ehlers) and the Institute of Psychiatry, at KCL/Maudsley on trauma related research.

4. Under the leadership of myself and Dr Kate Gillespie our local group has built considerable expertise in the treatment of trauma and we have been consequently invited to present many TFCBT workshops for clinicians working with survivors after tragedies such as: the 9/11 Twin Towers attack New York (2004); 7/11 bombings London  (2005); Oslo bombing and Utoya Island shootings in Norway (2012). In June  2017 I have provided a keynote on "the psychologival care of victims of terrorism" at the prestigious Summer school at the Complutense University Madrid. I have been advising the Manchester Mental Health Senior staff on responses for victims of the terrorist attack at the Manchester concert hall on 22 May 17 and am delivering a keynote on "evidence based responses for PTSD" in Manchester on 1 August 17 for 150 therapists working with victims of this tragedy. 

5. My trauma studies have had a strong impact in the field securing invitations to present our research at many international conferences includinga keynote address and present papers at 2 symposia at the BABCP annual conference in June 2016.

6. Locally, I have advised policy makers and local Health and Victims commissioning agencies on trauma services and in November 2015, with Dr Ciaran Mulholland School of Medicine Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences QUB, I have successfully presented a proposal for a new regional specialist trauma service to political leaders at the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly Health minister has subsequently endorsed and agreed to fund this important project.

7. In November 2015, with Dr Ciaran Mulholland,  I co-organised and presented research at a well attended 2 day Trauma conference at Ridell hall QUB entitled "Treating the Trauma of the Troubles with experts presenting research updates on a range of treatments for a multi disciplinary audience.

8. In order to disseminate the knowledge and skills protocols derived from these studies I have designed a new specialist TFCBT MSc course at Queen's university.

9. I have also conducted research into factors associated with enduring effects of CBT training. In the period  2010 - 2012 I helped co-design and  deliver a short agency based low intensity CBT course in the Republic of Ireland for 500 mental health staff and conducted a study of trainees, mentors and managers at end of training and 1 year follow up. .

 Current research

1.  I am PI on an ESRC NSPCC funded study of PTSD in children and adolescents exposed to abuse or neglect. The study has 2 parts; one to test the feasibility of frontline child care staff using a PTSD screening instrument and two a randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of trauma focused cognitive therapy with interventions as ususal for the treatmet of PTSD in adolescents.  

2.  I am currently studying the phenomenology of complicated grief and testing the components of a potentially new cognitive model with a grant application for a single case series. I have presented a workshop on my outline of a new model at the BABCP Spring conference in 2015 and am collaborating with colleagues at Oxford university to explore this important new potential intervention. I have just published a paper on a cognitive approach to complex grief.

3. I am collaborating with Dr Mulholland on studies exploring links between conflict, trauma and psychosis

4. I am collaborating with colleagues studying the rate and pattern of prescribed medications for mental illness in Northern Ireland in comparison with other regions

5. I am supervising one final year PhD student- thesis title - "a cognitve behavioural perspective on post relationship dissolution distress" and one first year PhD study - title  - "the phenomenoilogy of complex grief reactions-  a cognitive approach"


Research Interests


Principal Appointments since core professional  training (inc. Honorary Appointments)




Employed by (or Private Practice)

Job Title


1989 – 1992          

N & W Community

Mental Health Team,                                                                          Belfast

Social Worker /mental health                


1993 -  1994

N&W Belfast CMHT

Approved Social Worker

/mental health


1994 - 1995

N&W Belfast CMHT

Social worker

 /trainee psychotherapist


1995 – 1997       

Sperrin Lakeland

H & SC Trust

Approved Social Worker                    


1997-  1998         

Sperrin Lakeland

H & SC Trust

Senior Social Worker                            


1998 – 2002   

Sperrin Lakeland

 H & SC Trust

Team Leader,

Trauma Psychotherapist

Omagh Trauma and

Recovery Team


2002 – 2004   

Northern Ireland Centre

for Trauma & Transformation

 (NICTT) Omagh.  

Principal Cognitive Therapist

 & Team Manager


2005- 2009

University of Ulster


Lecturer & Course Director

MSc Cognitive Therapy

University of Ulster

& Cognitive Psychotherapist






Fellowship/ Membership

Fellow of British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

Member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy Beck Institute

Member of the UK Psychologial Trauma Society

Member of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Accredited by



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Research Output

Open Access
79 Downloads (Pure)

Psychological therapies for major depressive disorder and prolonged grief in bereaved adults

A., R., M.J., C., M., D., B., C., J., M., O., K. & M., D., 20 Dec 2018, In : Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018, 12, p. CD013237

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 50 Downloads (Pure)

    A cognitive approach to Persistent Complex Bereavement disorder (PCBD)

    Duffy, M. & Wild, J., 27 Nov 2017, In : The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist. e 16 , special issue - invited paper, p. 1 - 19

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    4174 Downloads (Pure)

    Exposure to Political Violence in Northern Ireland and Outcome of First Episode Psychosis

    Turkington, A., Duffy, M., Barrett, S., McCaul, R., Anderson, R., Cooper, S. J., Rushe, T. & Mulholland, C., 2016, In : Schizophrenia Bulletin. 42, 3, p. 626-632 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)


    Fellow of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

    Michael Duffy (Recipient), 16 Jun 2016

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

  • Activities

    UK Trauma Council - Council member

    Michael Duffy (Advisor)
    28 Feb 2019

    Activity: Consultancy typesWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-government organisation

    Journal Club: Trauma Research Group

    Michael Duffy (Organiser), Carolyn Blair (Organiser), Colm Walsh (Participant), Shauna McElroy (Participant), Sandra Dickson (Participant), Joseph Mavindidze (Participant)
    Oct 2019 → …

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Research Advisor to RCT for Veterans with PTSD

    Michael Duffy (Advisor)
    04 Aug 201918 Sep 2020

    Activity: Consultancy typesWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-government organisation

    Annual conference BABCP

    Michael Duffy (Member of programme committee)
    17 Jul 201820 Jul 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Regional Trauma Network

    Michael Duffy (Advisor)
    01 Jan 201801 Jan 2020

    Activity: Consultancy typesWork on advisory panel to industry or government or non-government organisation

    Press / Media

    BBC Documentary- A Great British Injustice: The Maguire Story

    Michael Duffy


    3 Media contributions

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    BBC documentary -The Shankill Bomb

    Michael Duffy


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities