The Retreat’s reputation for being at the cutting edge of modern mental health has been further strengthened with the announcement that clinical psychologist Stephanie Petty has been awarded her second doctorate.

Stephanie, clinical lead for our adult psychology service, gained her first qualification (ClinPsyD) to become a practitioner psychologist and chartered clinical psychologist in 2013.

And now her specialist expertise has been further recognised with a PhD from the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine.

The award is in recognition of her ground-breaking research into the emotional experiences of people with dementia.

“I’ve always enjoyed the academic, as well as the clinical, approach to working with people with neurodevelopmental disorders,” explained Stephanie, who plans to use the findings of her latest research to strengthen the knowledge base of the wider Retreat team.

“The next stage of my work is focusing on how emotion is experienced and communicated by adults with symptoms of autism spectrum disorder  (without intellectual impairment) and how healthcare professionals can act to meet their needs for emotional support.”

Such is the importance of Stephanie’s work in the field, her PhD thesis was peer reviewed in seven different professional academic journals.

She has also been invited to join the University of York as an associate lecturer within the Department of Psychology, where she applies her research skills through lecturing and project supervision.

Dr Kim Bevan, chief officer, clinical services, added: “We’re delighted that Stephanie is leading the way in this important area of research because it means our services continue to be shaped by the very latest evidence-based interventions.

“Providing the study time and the funding for our clinicians to develop their knowledge and skills is a commitment to continued professional development that we are very proud of.”

You can find out more about the work of Stephanie and her team at