Local psychologist and researcher promoted to “Professor”
NORTHERN RIVERS-based clinical psychologist, educator and researcher James Bennett-Levy has been promoted from associate professor to full professor as a result of his pioneering work in the key areas of cognitive behavioural therapy, and compassion-focused therapy.
These modalities are playing an increasing role in the mental health support provided by health professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, Aboriginal counsellors and other health professionals, including doctors and nurses.
Professor Bennett-Levy was advised of his promotion by the medical school of The University of Sydney, the main institution behind the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast where he has been a staff member since 2008.
The English-born psychologist has lived in the Northern Rivers for many years, and was Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Lismore-based North Coast Head Injury Service from 1991-96.
He is a graduate of Oxford University, and gained his PhD through Southern Cross University.
During his time at UCRH the highly regarded organisation has developed productive partnerships with a range of key NGOs, and the area's health service coordinators.
"I have a particular commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues to enhance social and emotional wellbeing in the local community," Prof Bennett-Levy said.
"We hope to build on these foundations to help provide better support for Aboriginal health and community workers in their complex jobs, and to develop and research culturally appropriate wellbeing strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients."
Prof Bennett-Levy is also keen to continue his research and writing, which is aimed at developing better training for counsellors and therapists, with a strong focus on personal development and reflection.
He has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and four books, including The Oxford Guide to Behavioural Experiments in Cognitive Therapy.
Since its publication in 2004 this work has consistently been Oxford University Press' highest selling psychology textbook for clinicians. It was a British Medical Association book-of-the-year.
"With my passion for training and the success of this book, I also realised that there is an important unfilled need for specialist therapy books that translate cutting edge research and/or evidence-based treatments into structured, user-friendly textbooks," he said.
Recently he completed a new book, Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out, drawing on 17 years' working with this therapy.
Prof Bennett-Levy has lectured in many countries, including the UK, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Croatia, Morocco, and China.
UCRH director Professor Lesley Barclay AM congratulated Prof Bennett-Levy on his promotion.
"James' innovative work in this field has been highly influential, locally, nationally and internationally," Prof Barclay said.
"His valued presence here on the North Coast, and his involvement with UCRH, has been of immense benefit to health care professionals, and in turn very valuable for the many clients they help support at times of need."