Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Peter Alexander Cairns
Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council

Relevant experience and skills

2012 – present                 Independent psychological work.

1. Independent legal work commissioned by the family courts.

  • Psychological assessment of adults and children;
  • Parenting capacity and capability;
  • Risk assessment;
  • Mental health and personality disorder;
  • Cognitive, learning, and capacity assessment;
  • Assessment and formulation of attachment;
  • Impact of trauma, abuse, and neglect;
  • Contact disputes and private legal proceedings.

2. Provision of individual psychological assessment, formulation and therapy.

  • Specialist application of a range of therapeutic models and interventions;
  • Working with adolescents and adults with a range of issues, including mood problems, PTSD, complex trauma, and interpersonal difficulties.

From January 2023         

Clinical Psychologist,
Autism assessment and diagnostic service,
Psychology Clinic of East Anglia, Norwich.

  • Specialist, multi-disciplinary assessment of autistic-spectrum conditions;
  • Psychologically-informed formulation, recommendations, and guidance for individuals and their families.

2012 – 2022 

Assessments for Educational Psychology and Specialist Support (EPSS), Norfolk County Council.

  • Psychological assessment of children and young people in education (aged 4 to 19 years);
  • Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments of children and young people;
  • Assessment of learning and cognition;
  • Assessment of social, communication, and interaction difficulties;
  • Assessment of social, emotional, and mental health;
  • Impact of physical and sensory issues and disabilities.

April 2006 – March 2019
Clinical Psychologist, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, based in Great Yarmouth (Norfolk), Lowestoft (Suffolk), and surrounding areas.

July 2010 – March 2019   Child, Family & Young Person Mental Health Services.

Lead psychologist since 2013.

  • Psychological assessment and treatment;
  • Individual, group, and family work;
  • Staff supervision and multi-agency consultation;
  • Strategic clinical leadership;
  • Local and trust-wide training;
  • Research and service evaluation. 

March 2006 – July 2010   Clinical Psychologist, Adult Mental Health Services.

  • Psychological assessment and treatment across primary and secondary care;
  • Clinical lead for the newly formed ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT);
  • Staff supervision and training.

April 2004 – March 2006  Clinical Psychologist, Oxleas NHS Trust, London.

  • Assessment and intervention with adults with severe and enduring mental health problems;
  • Inpatient work on an acute psychiatric ward and a low-secure rehabilitation unit.

Further Education

1991 – 1994            University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

B.A. (Hons.) Degree in Psychology                   Grade 2(I)

1999 – 2000            University of Bristol

MSc. in Research Methods in Psychology

2001 – 2004            Salomons / South Thames Clinical Psychology Training Scheme

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

2007 – 2009            North Thames CAT Training Course

Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Recent Training

November 2018 – January 2019           Cambridge Centre for Attachment

Meaning of the Child training – A procedure for assessing and understanding parent-child relationships in ‘at-risk’ families (6 days)

I am accredited as a reliable coder in using this methodology

December 2019 Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust, London (Crittenden & Landini)

Attachment, Neurodevelopment, and Psychopathology (3 days)

January 2020 – February 2020             Anna Freud Centre, London

Stem Stories Assessment Profile training – A clinical tool for examining young children’s mental representations of attachment and relationships (3 days)

I am accredited as a reliable coder in using this methodology

November 2021                                   Anna Freud Centre, London

Child Triangulation Processes – A new, child-centered framework for understanding resistance to contact (Webinar).

September 2022                                   British Psychological Society

Expert Witness Conference 2022 (Webinar)

March - September 2023              Family Relations Institute

Adult Attachment Interview training (18 days)

Research & Publications

  • Cairns, P. & Jarrold, C. (2005). Exploring the correlates of impaired non-word repetition in Down Syndrome. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23, 401 – 416.
  • McPherson, S., Cairns, P., Carlyle, J., Shapiro, D., Richardson, P. & Taylor, D. (2005). The effectiveness of psychological treatments for refractory depression: A systematic review. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 111, 331 – 340.
  • Hodgekins, J., Clarke, T., Cole, H., Markides, C., Ugochukwu, U., Cairns, P., Lower, R., Fowler, D. & Wilson, J. (2016). Pathways to care of young people accessing a pilot Specialist Youth Mental Health Service in Norfolk, United Kingdom. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, doi: 10.1111/eip.12338.
  • Crockford, H., Cairns, P., Kingerlee, R. & Goodwin, M. (2019). ‘You have to start somewhere’: A service improvement strategy for people with trauma-related dissociation in Norfolk. Clinical Psychology Forum, 314, 10-16.
  • Doctoral thesis – A qualitative project exploring the experience of returning to work for people with severe and enduring mental health problems (2004).
  • Book chapter – Cairns, P. & Howells, L. (2019). Angry Young Men: Using an Interpersonal Formulation of Anger to Help Bring about Change. In: Handbook of male mental health and male psychology: theory and practice. Editors: Dr. John Barry, Dr. Roger Kingerlee, Mr. Martin Seager, Dr. Luke Sullivan.
  • Norfolk Principle Investigator (PI) for the Early Youth Engagement (EYE-2) study based at the University of Sussex, a national Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness of innovative engagement approaches within Early Intervention in Psychosis Services.

Additional roles

Between August 2018 and July 2021, I was on the Board of Trustees at the St Barnabas Centre in Norwich. This organization offers low-cost counseling and psychotherapy to people in the local community.

From 2016 to 2019, I facilitated seminar groups for trainees on the Doctoral Clinical Psychology Programme, at the University of East Anglia.

Professional registration

I am a Clinical Psychologist registered with the Health Professions Council (registration number PYL03312) and the British Psychological Society (membership number 125771).