Doctoral student in a lab

The effect of a novel psychosensory intervention on athletes’ mental health and performance

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU)


Sporting traumas, such as injury or loss, can substantially impact on athletes’ future performance and psychological wellbeing. While sensory input to treat emotional and physical responses to trauma has been promoted in clinical settings (for example the use of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing in the treatment of PTSD), there has been insufficient research in a sporting context.

In this project, a relatively new psychosensory technique called Havening will be evaluated; this technique uses touch to reduce previously programmed physiological and psychological responses to trauma. Multidisciplinary research methods will be employed to establish the efficacy of this technique in a sporting context and to investigate mechanisms of action.

The supervisory team includes experts in neuropsychology, sport psychology and the originator of the Havening Technique, Dr Ron Ruden. This project is timely given the mental health recommendations made in the recent Duty of Care in Sport report produced for the UK Government (Grey-Thompson, 2017).


Dr Kirsty Hunter

Dr Alex Sumich

Dr Mustafa Sarkar

Dr Ronald Ruden, Centre for Havening Research and Training

Entry qualifications

1. Good (first or upper second class honours) degree in Psychology, Sport Science, Neuroscience or a closely related subject.
2. Quantitative and/or qualitative research skills. 
3. Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team.

1. MSc in Psychology, Neuroscience or a closely related subject. 
2. Knowledge or experience of multidisciplinary research.
3. Experience of working with athletes.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Dr Kirsty Hunter