Rosa Ritunnano


Rosa is a joint funded Priestley Birmingham - Melbourne PhD researcher at the Institute for Mental Health and Orygen Youth Health. 

Her research adopts cross- and inter-disciplinary approaches (including methods from phenomenology, linguistics and neuropsychology) to the investigation of delusional experiences and meanings in psychosis.


Rosa investigates the experience and meaning of delusions from multiple disciplinary perspectives, using in-depth phenomenologically informed interviews and qualitative methodologies. 

In the context of psychosis research, delusions have been predominantly studied from the perspective of cognitive psychology and through a framework of “dysfunction”. In line with cognitive models, much emphasis has been placed on abnormalities or biases in reasoning as key factors for understanding and explaining delusions. According to this view, delusions represent maladaptive beliefs about the world one inhabits, and are often taken to be inherently dysfunctional. While delusions might contain errors of fact and are often distressing, recent philosophical and psychological literature has suggested that certain delusions can be psychologically adaptive – for instance by enhancing one’s sense of coherence and meaningfulness. However, empirical research into the experience and meaning of delusions in early psychosis is still lacking. Utilising a cross-disciplinary and multi-method approach, the aim of this project is to rigorously characterise the experience of delusion from different perspectives and explore the ways in which delusions are lived through as a human experience. It is hoped that this project will also help overcome prejudices, tackle power imbalances in the clinical encounter, and move towards a more open and engaged interdisciplinary discussion.


Professor Matthew Broome

Professor Lisa Bortolotti

Professor Barnaby Nelson


Rosa is a Consultant Psychiatrist in a specialist Early Intervention in Psychosis Service in the West Midlands and a Principal Investigator, involved in ongoing multicentre clinical trials across the UK. Before joining the University of Birmingham, Rosa completed her speciality training in General Adult Psychiatry and obtained her specialist diploma in Psychiatry with academic distinction (Diploma di Specialista in Psychiatria summa cum laude) at the University of Verona. Prior to this, Rosa received her MBChB with distinction (Laurea summa cum laude in Medicina e Chirurgia) at the University of Padua. She trained in Phenomenological Psychopathology at the Scuola di Psicoterapia Fenomenologico-Dinamica in Florence. 

Research interests:

  • Psychosis and youth mental health 
  • Phenomenological Psychopathology 
  • Philosophical issues in Psychiatry 
  • Delusion and Meaning  

Research interests

Psychosis and youth mental health

Phenomenological Psychopathology

Philosophical issues in Psychiatry

Delusion and Meaning