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The University of Southampton
Southampton Neuroscience Group

Professor Thomas R. Lynch PhD Clinical Psychology

Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology

Professor Thomas R. Lynch's photo

Professor Thomas R. Lynch is an Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton.

Professor Lynch received his PhD in clinical psychology at Kent State University (1996; USA) and completed postdoctoral training at Duke University (1997; USA). He was the Director of the Duke Cognitive Behavioral Research and Treatment Program and member of the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Duke University from 1998-2007. He moved to the UK in 2007 to the University of Exeter and now is located at the University of Southampton, School of Psychology.

He has received five research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH USA), a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) research award, an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) research award, and a John A. Hartford Foundation award. He is the Principal Investigator on two National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA R01s) while at Duke University. One was a multi-site study of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for borderline personality disorder with opiate dependence and the second a virtual reality study examining novel methods to enhance cue exposure treatment for cocaine addiction. Currently he is the Chief investigator of a multi-centre RCT funded by the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme and Medical Research Council—Project REFRAMEd—REFRactory depression: Mechanisms and Effectiveness of radically open-dialectical behaviour therapy.

He has been a standing Member of the Interventions Committee for Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Disorders of Late Life at the National Institute of Mental Health Grant Review Committee (ITSP NIMH; USA; 2005-2007) and his research has been recognized in the Science and Advances Section of the National Institute of Health FY 2005 Congressional Justification Report. He is a recipient of the John M. Rhoades Psychotherapy Research Endowment, is a Beck Institute Scholar, is a Grandfathered Fellow in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and a the treatment developer of Radically Open-Dialectical Behaviour therapy as well as a senior international trainer in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Professor Lynch is also well-known for being an authoritative, entertaining and charismatic speaker. He is in frequent demand as a speaker internationally—e.g., Europe, USA, and Canada.

For more information on RO DBT please visit Radically Open website .

Research interests

Professor Lynch’s research interests are in the understanding and treatment of mood and personality disorders using a “translational” line of inquiry. His research team’s overall goal is to combine basic science and behavioural laboratory findings with the most recent technological advances in intervention research, in order to develop and test more effective interventions for treatment refractory clients. A major focus has been an interest in understanding emotion and emotion regulation (e.g., emotion inhibition, experiential avoidance; threat and reward sensitivity) using fMRI, psychophysiological, and behavioural laboratory paradigms. Recently, his group has developed a neuroregulatory model of socio-emotional functioning with transdiagnostic implications that accounts for problems associated with both under-controlled disorders (e.g., borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, externalizing disorders) and over-controlled disorders (e.g., anorexia, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, chronic depression).

A second major research focus revolves around the treatment of disorders characterized by excessive self-control or overcontrol--e.g., chronic depression, anorexia nervosa, obsessive compulsive personality disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. He is the developer of a new treatment approach known as radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO-DBT) for over-controlled disorders based on 20+ years of clinical and experimental research—including the recently funded Project REFRAMED—a multi-centre randomized clinical trial of RO-DBT for treatment resistant depression that is ongoing in the UK. He has ongoing research collaborations with a wide range of research teams internationally.

Prior Research Funding

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme--Medical Research Council
(C.I. Lynch) £2,156,220 (start date: Sept 2011)
Role: Chief Investigator (CI)
Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Treatment Resistant Depression: A randomized controlled trial—Project REFRAMED- REFRActory depression - Mechanisms and Evaluation of radically open dialectical behaviour therapy
This five year study is a three-site multi-centre randomized controlled trial designed to examine the efficacy and mechanisms of a new treatment that targets emotionally constricted behaviours in treatment resistant depression that was developed by the CI.

MRC Experimental Medicine in Mental Health
Award amount: £273,000
Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Garner)
Title: Towards an experimental model of anxiety for treatment development: The effects of novel psychological and pharmacological treatments on subjective, autonomic and neuropsychological response to 7.5% carbon dioxide challenge.
This two year study is designed to test the utility of a unique laboratory paradigm for eliciting anxiety as an avenue for testing treatments for anxiety—medication and mindfulness strategies.

Wellcome Trust (Co-PI: Lynch)
Award amount: £3,600,000
Wellcome Trust Capital Fund
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
This is a collaborative capital fund application submitted by the Mood Disorders Centre (MDC), School of Psychology, University of Exeter. This grant is designed to provide the infrastructure to the MDC collaborative research team (Kuyken, Watkins, Lynch, Wright, & O'Mahen) in order to test, develop, and integrate translational research findings.
R01 DA017372 (P.I. Lynch) 09/30/2003-06/30/2008
National Institute of Drug Addiction $2,293,705
Evaluation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This multi-site study examined the effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy in treating borderline personality disorder with opiate dependence.
Role: Chief Investigator

R01 DA018311 (P.I. Lynch) 09/15/2004-07/31/2008
National Institute of Drug Addiction $1,530,000
Developing Computer Based Treatments for Addiction.
The aims of this proposal are to develop and manualize a cue-exposure based cocaine treatment using virtual reality based cue exposure/extinction software and computerized extinction reminder technology for use in high risk situations outside of treatment.
Role: Principal Investigator

K23MH01614 (P.I. Lynch) 08/01/99-07/30/05
National Institute of Mental Health $1,080,322
Treatment of Elderly Depression with Axis II Comorbidity.
This study was designed to develop and evaluate new dialectical behavior therapy approach for treatment of treatment resistant depression with comorbid personality disorders.
Role: Principal Investigator

R01 DA017372-03S1 (P.I. Lynch) 09/30/2003 - 06/30/2008
National Institute of Drug Addiction
NIDA $229,500
Changes in Brain Activation with DBT or I/GDC
Role: Principal Investigator
The aims of this proposal are to obtain feasibility data and to begin a preliminary examination of the neural substrates associated with treatment response in DBT for BPD with opiate dependence.

R01 DA17372-02S2 P (P.I. Lynch) 07/01/2004 - 06/30/2005
National Institute of Drug Addiction
NIDA $71,755
Second supplement for “Evaluation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy” designed to examine mechanisms of change.
Role: Principal Investigator

R01 DA017372-02S1 (P.I. Lynch) 07/01/2004 - 06/30/2006
National Institute of Drug Addiction NIDA $257,958
Supplement applications for "Evaluation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Supplement for Minority Training”
Role: Principal Investigator

P50 MH60451-01A2 (Krishnan) 09/01/01-06/30/06
National Institute of Mental Health NIMH $2,367,956
Conte Centers for the Neuroscience of Depression
This study examines learning and neural substrate associated with emotion regulation among depressed patients.
Role: Co-Investigator

GlaxoSmithKline (P.I. Lynch) 08/01/03-07/30/05
The Effects of Paxil-CR Augmentation of a Mindfulness Intervention for Co-Morbid Depression in Lung Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study
This study is examining treatment of depressed lung cancer patients using medication and mindfulness interventions. (effort donated from K23)
Role: Principal Investigator

American Foundation for 08/01/01-12/01/04
Suicide Prevention (P.I. Lynch) $70,000
Distraction versus Suppression of Suicidal Urges: Effects of Associational Learning
This study examines the effects of emotion suppression on classical conditioning in suicidal patients. (effort donated from K23)
Role: Principal Investigator

Duke Cancer Prevention, Detection and Control Research Program (P.I. Lynch)
2001-2002 $30,000
A Mindfulness Intervention for Treatment of Co-Morbid Depression in Lung Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study
Role: Principal Investigator

National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (P.I. Lynch)
1997-2000. $60,000
Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine Conditioning Salience and Habituation to Emotional Stimuli in Depression.
Role: Principal Investigator

John A. Hartford Foundation (P.I. Lynch)
1997-2000.1 $10,000
Treatment of Old-Age Depression with Axis II Comorbidity.
Role: Principal Investigator

Arthritis Foundation (P.I. Keefe)
1997-2000 $625,901
Clinician-Assisted Emotional Disclosure: Effects on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Role: Co-Investigator

R03 MH057799-01 (P.I. Lynch)
National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH 1998-1999 $38,250
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Depressed Older Adults.
Role: Principal Investigator

Walker Inman Memorial, Duke University Medical Center (P.I. Lynch)
1997-2000.1 $7,500
Comparison between cognitive and neurobiological models of suicidal behavior among depressed elderly.
Role: Principal Investigator

Walker Inman Memorial, Duke University Medical Center (P.I. Lynch)
1998-2000 $7,500
A comparison between Dialectical Behavior skills training and Pharmacotherapy in the treatment of depression in older adults.
Role: Principal Investigator

Research project(s)


REFRAMED is the study acronym for REFRActory depression - Mechanisms and Efficacy of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT) is a novel psychotherapy developed by Professor Lynch for patients who suffer from over-control. RO-DBT has been developed over the past 20 years, in labs in the US and UK, for patients with chronic or treatment resistant depression or anorexia nervosa. RO-DBT is now practised in the UK, Europe, and North America, and is increasingly recognised as effective for patients who exhibit over-control. The efficacy of RO-DBT has been informed by experimental, longitudinal, and correlational research, including two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of refractory depression with comorbid OC personality dysfunction that provided the foundation of the development of the RO-DBT treatment manual (Lynch et al., 2007; Lynch, Morse, Mendelson, & Robins, 2003), one non-controlled trial with adult anorexia nervosa inpatients (Lynch et al., 2013), a case series open-trial applying Radical Openness skills alone plus standard DBT with adult AN outpatients (Chen et al., 2015), while the mechanisms of change and efficacy for treatment of refractory depression and comorbid OC personality disorders are being investigated via the large multi-site RCT ‘REFRAMED’ (Lynch).

Professor Thomas R. Lynch
Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Southampton General Hospital Mailpoint 801 South Academic Block Tremona Road Southampton SO16 6YD
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