Helen Beckwith

Clinical Psychologist and Doctoral Candidate at Department of Public Health & Primary Care, University of Cambridge


Helen is a Clinical Psychologist interested in attachment theory, anxiety, psychological treatment development, clinical practice and public mental health. Before joining Cambridge in 2016 Helen trained in the North East working in a variety of mental health and clinical research settings, specialising in family therapy and systemic practice in child and family services. She now works in a community mental health team for adults with complex health and social care needs, promoting psychological understandings of distress and wellbeing.

Research interests

Helen is trained in gold-standard classification assessments of infant and adult attachment and is part of the global community of researchers working to understand the importance of attachment relationships for physical and mental health across the lifespan. Specifically, Helen is concerned with current applications of attachment theory in clinical practice and resulting implications for the public understanding of attachment-related difficulties and disorders that drive policies of care around the world. This work is funded by The Wellcome Trust and the NIHR School for Primary Care Research.

Helen’s previous research examined the central tenets of attachment theory and contribution of early experiences to the development of later life anxiety problems. Within these contexts, she investigated the role of intolerance of uncertainty – a dispositional aversion to situations where the outcome is as yet unknown; including manifestations in everyday life, developmental origins and trajectories, therapeutic interventions and implications for classification and diagnosis. Helen continues to study transdiagnostic anxiety mechanisms; and contributes to research within her clinical role regarding obsessive-compulsive symptoms in psychosis with second-generation anti-psychotic medication, and psychological processes underpinning hoarding disorder.

  • 14 November 2017, 5:30pm

    Can you handle the truth? Facts, figures and communicating uncertainty

    Chaired and hosted by Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, guest speakers include: Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority; and Amanda Farnsworth, Head of Visual and Data Journalism, BBC News.