Professor Sue Llewelyn

Susan Llewelyn is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Oxford Health NHS. She has a particular interest in psychological therapies and has also developed expertise in professional issues, leadership, and teamwork. Professor Llewelyn has written, edited, or co-authored fifteen books and over one hundred academic and professional papers.

What are you working on at the moment?
Although I have been trained in the science of psychology, I also have an interest in how people have used fiction and literature to examine significant human questions of meaning and purpose, and so I’m currently doing something very different which is exploring how literature can help us understand some of the questions that clinical psychology is also asking through science. But I’m also working in the NHS helping people to work more effectively in teams to provide excellent health care for patients.

What led you to become a scientist?
Psychology is trying to understand the mind and I can’t think of a more fascinating subject to study. In particular it is intriguing to see what happens when the mind doesn’t work well and people become mentally unwell, plus to work out what can be done to help them.

What one thing should scientists do to interact with more people outside their specialist field and engage with the public?
We should tell people about what we do, and why it is so interesting by explaining clearly about what we have found.

If you weren’t/couldn’t be a scientist, what would you like to do?
I would study literature and go for long walks!

Tell us about a book that you have read recently that you would recommend?
I’m reading Lawrence Sterne’s “Tristam Shandy” which is an extraordinary exploration and observation of how people think and act. It isn’t “science” but raises all sorts of questions about psychological functioning, and how people interact