Holly Sugg

Department: Medical School
Discipline: Medicine
Research Centre/Unit: Complex Interventions Research Group

Project Summary

Clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder are the two most common mental health disorders.  In the UK, it is estimated that one in six people will experience a neurotic disorder such as depression or anxiety each year.  Due to difficulties with current mental health treatments, many people do not receive adequate treatment and both depression and anxiety remain chronic disorders, with only 55 - 56% of people receiving treatment through 'Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies' services reaching recovery.

Therefore, it is important to continue to test promising new treatments for depression and anxiety in order to provide patients in the UK with choice alternatives.  Morita therapy, a psychological therapy which is in sharp contrast to established western psychotherapeutic approaches in teaching that undesired symptoms associated with mental health problems are natural features of human emotion rather than something to be controlled or eliminated, is potentially one such innovation.  Morita therapy is currently widely practised in Japan, but little known in the UK.

Whilst evidence predominantly from case studies in Japan supports the potential efficacy of Morita therapy, evidence of its suitability for a UK population is yet to be established.  The first phase of this project will aid the development of the Morita therapy protocol to enhance its suitability for a UK population.  A pilot randomised controlled trial of Morita therapy versus primary care as usual for 60 participants, with embedded qualitative interviews, will then be undertaken to investigate the feasibility, acceptability and likely effect size of Morita therapy for a UK population.  On completion of the pilot study, we will have undertaken all the important preliminary and developmental stages to proceed to the design and conduct of a fully-powered evaluation of Morita therapy, or to conclude that such a trial is not feasible.

Supervisory Team

Wider Research Interests

  • The causes of mental health problems, in particular depression, at the level of the individual and society
  • Cross-cultural differences in wellbeing and the experience and treatment of mental health problems, and the application of psychological therapies across cultures
  • Causes, effects and discourses relating to social inequalities and prejudice

Authored Publications/Reports

Jenkinson, C. E., Winder, R. E., Sugg, H. V. R., Roberts, M. J., Ridgway, N., Kuyken, W., Wiles, N., Kessler, D., Campbell, J. (12th March 2014) Why do GPs exclude patients from participating in research? An exploration of adherence to and divergence from trial criteria., Family Practice, 31(3), 364-70