Melissa Pyle is a research trial manager who has worked at the Psychosis Research Unit since 2008. However, previous to this she worked as an assistant research psychologist on a trial of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for people at risk of developing psychosis (EDIE 2).
Melissa started her career at PRU as an assistant research psychologist (RA) working on two feasibility trials. The first was an open-trial of CBT for people with experience of psychosis who chose not to take anti-psychotic medication. This study was affiliated with partners Professor Douglas Turkington at Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Alison Brabban at Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. In addition, Melissa worked on a feasibility trial of Meta-Cognitive Therapy for people with experience of Psychosis. This was a joint venture between PRU and Professor Adrian Wells at Manchester University.
In 2009 Melissa Pyle was appointment to be Trial Manger for the world’s first muti-site, randomised controlled trial (RCT) of CBT for people who choose not to take anti-psychotic medication. This study was affiliated with partners Professor Douglas Turkington at Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Alison Brabban at Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Results of this trial were published in the Lancet HERE
In June 2012 Melissa was appointed as Trial Manager for the Focusing on Clozapine Unresponsive Symptoms (FOCUS) Trial, which is a randomised controlled trial of comparing a standardised cognitive behavioural therapy intervention added to treatment as usual versus treatment as usual alone for individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia for whom an adequate trial of clozapine has either not been possible due to tolerability problems or was not associated with a sufficient therapeutic response. Further details about the FOCUS trial can be found HERE. FOCUS is a collaboration between five sites in the UK (Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Southampton). The trial is ongoing until July 2017. However, recruitment has now ended and the trial successfully recruited above target with 487 participants across the UK agreeing to take part, making FOCUS the world’s largest trial of CBT for Psychosis to date.
In addition to trial management of multi-site trials of CBT, Melissa Pyle has a strong interest in researching stigma and discrimination. This developed from personal and professional experience of observing, and hearing reports from others about prejudice and discrimination in relation to mental health difficulties. This was the basis for Melissa’s choice of PhD Topic. Melissa studied for her PhD in Clinical Psychology at The University of Manchester between 2009 and 2013. Professor Tony Morrison, Director of PRU and Professor of Clinical Psychology was her supervisor. The title of her PhD was “The stigma of psychosis: lived experience, psychological consequences and strategies to overcome stigma”. Melissa conducted five studies as part of her PhD. The first study was a qualitative exploration of the subjective experience of stigma and discrimination. A copy of the publication can be found HERE.
The second study was a secondary analysis of the EDIE 2 trial which explored relationships between internalised stereotypes (IS) of psychosis, depression and social interaction anxiety in people at risk of developing psychosis. A copy of the publication can be found HERE.
The third study was a secondary analysis of the ACTION Trial which explored relationships between IS and emotional dysfunction in people with psychosis not taking antipsychotic medication. A copy of the publication can be found HERE.
The fourth study explored differences in the level of internalised stigma and the strength of relationship between internalised stigma and emotional dysfunction between those at risk of psychosis and those with psychosis. This paper is currently in review at Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.
The fifth study examined the efficacy of internet based anti-stigma interventions for young people. Melissa enjoyed studying for her PhD and since completing it Melissa’s research interests in stigma and discrimination have continued to grow but with an emphasis on understanding interventions for reducing internalised stigma, promoting stigma resistance and empowerment. She is currently pursuing funding for a feasibility trial of a peer support intervention for internalised stigma and hopes to secure funding in the future.
In her spare time the thing Melissa enjoys the most is spending time with her family in particular her son, which involves watching and playing a lot of football. She is very fond of history and can be often found reading a historical novel. Melissa enjoys yoga and has recently discovered this can be an effective start to a day’s training with fellow research staff working on the FOCUS trial!