Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio

  • Vaneeta Sadhnani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Critical Literature ReviewIndiscriminate friendliness (IF) is a concept that is poorly understood within the field of institutionalised and maltreated children. Theories as to its existence vary from IF being a disorder of attachment, to neurobiological theories proposing IF to arise out of the interaction between a severely deprived upbringing and genetically predisposed brain abnormalities. The current literature review aims to look at studies that have investigated the interaction between attachment and indiscriminate friendliness, in order to ascertain whether IF is, in fact, a symptom of disordered attachment. Findings were considered in relation to quality of studies and literature within this field.Using specific search criteria, 11 papers were found and evaluated. Findings concluded that IF was not a symptom of disordered attachment, due to the majority of papers failing to find a link between the two constructs. Studies were evaluated in terms of sampling, measurement, analyses, and design.The review pulls together the literature on indiscriminate friendliness, which has previously been confined to the area of attachment. The review highlights potential areas for exploration such as the background of families, as well as the assessment of quality of care, and how this impacts on the development of IF. The review also raises concerns around the measurement of this construct, and calls for further use of validated measures.Service Improvement ProjectThis study describes the development of a new group using psychological approaches for caregivers of individuals with dementia. This follows consultation with the service and its users, to the implementation and running of this group. Thematic analysis was used to extract key themes on the utility of the group. Barriers to intervention have been identified, and further research recommendations have been made.Main Research ProjectBackground: Metaphors are commonly used within clinical settings to communicate concepts to young people. Whilst theories of how metaphors work have been proposed, alongside ideas to implement metaphors effectively, there has been little research as to whether metaphors impact upon memory and understanding, in comparison to basic language. Aims: The current study aims to assess whether metaphorical explanations leads to improved memory and understanding for psychological concepts. Method: 25 participants took part in the study (10 boys and 15 girls). Individuals who were on the waiting list for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) were given the opportunity to watch a video which explained the main concepts of CBT. Half of the participants watched a video with metaphorical explanations (Metaphor group); the other half watched a video using basic language (Psychoeducation group). The participants answered questions immediately after the video and then four weeks later, on psychopathology, memory and understanding measures. Results: T-tests were carried out to determine any differences between the two groups. There were no significant differences on all variables tested (memory, understanding, intention to change) immediately or after four weeks. Correlational data, looking at the link between age and understanding/memory between the two groups found that older individuals were more likely to understand and remember the content of the Psychoeducation video. Whilst this correlation did not differ significantly from the Metaphors group, there were no such trends for individuals exposed to a metaphorical understanding. Conclusions: Metaphors do not appear to enhance memory and understanding of young people, in comparison to basic language. However, it seems they are equally understood by younger and older children, therefore making them an accessible way of communicating complicated concepts. Definitive conclusions cannot be made due to the small sample size, so there is a call for further research in this area.
Date of Award10 Sep 2014
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPaul Salkovskis (Supervisor), Claire Lomax (Supervisor)Ailsa Russell (Supervisor)

Cite this

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio:
Sadhnani, V. (Author). 10 Sep 2014

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)