Professor Max Birchwood BSc, PhD, DSc, CPsychol, FBPsS

Max Birchwood

School of Psychology
Professor of Youth Mental Health
Clinical Director, YouthSpace Mental Health Service, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am an applied researcher embedded in Birmingham mental health services. I’m a clinical psychologist by training and act as clinical director to the YouthSpace youth mental health service ( and Director of research and Innovation for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.

I’m a keen member of the Mancunian Diaspora (the red side).


B.Sc., PhD, D.Sc., C.Psychol, FBPsS


Early Intervention in psychosis: Professor Birchwood pioneered the concept and practice of early intervention in psychosis in the UK and internationally. He opened the UK's first Early Intervention in Psychosis service in 1994, informed by these conceptual innovations which he translated into the mental health policy framework for the DH (2001) as part of the NHS 'National Plan'. The service attracted Beacon status and has been replicated with over 125 teams across the country.

Cognitive Theory and Therapy of Psychosis: Professor Birchwood has undertaken research into the application of CBT to psychosis. His RCTs in acute psychosis (1996; 2000) and in reducing harmful compliance with command hallucinations ( 2004), have been incorporated into NICE guidelines. He has also undertaken extensive work developing the cognitive model of ‘voices’, particularly the role of appraisals of voices’ power in driving affective dysregulation and compliance with voice commands.

Affective Dysregulation and Psychosis: particularly depression, social anxiety disorder and PTSD.

Currently developing youth mental health as preventive framework for lifelong mental health problems.

Richard Wyatt award for outstanding contribution to early psychosis research and treatment. IEPA, 2006.

Patron: RETHINK, UKs leading mental health campaigining charity.


Research interests

  • Early Intervention in psychosis
  • Emotional dysfunction in psychosis
  • CBT for psychosis
  • Power, rank and affiliation with ‘voices’
  • Youth mental health
  • Public mental health


Recent Publications

Lester H, Marshall M, Jones P, Fowler D, Amos T, Khan N, Birchwood M. Views of young people in early intervention services for first-episode psychosis in England. Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Aug;62(8):882-7.

Jackson C, Bernard M, Birchwood M. The efficacy of psychotherapy in reducing post-psychotic trauma. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2011 Jun;20(2):127-31.

Bensi M, Armando M, Censi V, Aiello D, Lindau JF, Cavaggioni G, Birchwood M, Nastro PF. [Early signs and symptoms before the psychotic onset. A study on the Duration of Untreated Illness (DUI) in a sample of patients with diagnosis of "non-affective psychotic disorders"]. Clin Ter. 2011 Jan-Feb;162(1):11-8. Italian.

Salokangas RK, Patterson P, Heinimaa M, Svirskis T, From T, Vaskelainen L, Klosterkötter J, Ruhrmann S, von Reventlow HG, Juckel G, Linszen D, Dingemans P, Birchwood M; the EPOS Group. Perceived negative attitude of others predicts transition to psychosis in patients at risk of psychosis. Eur Psychiatry. 2011 Feb 4.

Morrison AP, Stewart SL, French P, Bentall RP, Birchwood M, Byrne R, Davies LM, Fowler D, Gumley AI, Jones PB, Lewis SW, Murray GK, Patterson P, Dunn G. Early detection and intervention evaluation for people at high-risk of psychosis-2 (EDIE-2): trial rationale, design and baseline characteristics. Early Interv Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;5(1):24-32.

Myin-Germeys I, Birchwood M, Kwapil T. From environment to therapy in psychosis: a real-world momentary assessment approach. Schizophr Bull. 2011 Mar;37(2):244-7.

Thornicroft G, Farrelly S, Birchwood M, Marshall M, Szmukler G, Waheed W, Byford S, Dunn G, Henderson C, Lester H, Leese M, Rose D, Sutherby K. CRIMSON [CRisis plan IMpact: Subjective and Objective coercion and eNgagement] protocol: a randomised controlled trial of joint crisis plans to reduce compulsory treatment of people with psychosis. Trials. 2010 Nov 5;11:102.

Velthorst E, Nieman DH, Linszen D, Becker H, de Haan L, Dingemans PM, Birchwood M, Patterson P, Salokangas RK, Heinimaa M, Heinz A, Juckel G, von Reventlow HG, French P, Stevens H, Schultze-Lutter F, Klosterklotter J, Ruhrmann S. Disability in people clinically at high risk of psychosis. Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;197(4):278-84.

Ruhrmann S, Schultze-Lutter F, Salokangas RK, Heinimaa M, Linszen D, Dingemans P, Birchwood M, Patterson P, Juckel G, Heinz A, Morrison A, Lewis S, von Reventlow HG, Klosterkötter J. Prediction of psychosis in adolescents and young adults at high risk: results from the prospective European prediction of psychosis study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;67(3):241-51.

Upthegrove R, Birchwood M, Ross K, Brunett K, McCollum R, Jones L. The evolution of depression and suicidality in first episode psychosis. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Sep;122(3):211-8.

McGorry P, Johanessen JO, Lewis S, Birchwood M, Malla A, Nordentoft M, Addington J, Yung A. Early intervention in psychosis: keeping faith with evidence-based health care. Psychol Med. 2010 Mar;40(3):399-404.

Birchwood M, Trower P, et al., Social anxiety and the shame of psychosis: a study in first episode psychosis. Behav Res Ther. 2007 May;45(5):1025-37.

Birchwood M, Iqbal Z, Upthegrove R. Psychological pathways to depression in early psychosis: studies in acute psychosis, post psychotic depression and auditory hallucinations. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2005;255,202-212.

Lester HE, Birchwood M, Freemantle N, Michail M, Tait L. REDIRECT: Cluster randomised controlled trial of general practitioner training in first episode psychosis. British Journal of General Practice (Br J Gen Pract 2009; 59: 403–408).

Lester HE, Birchwood M, Bryan S, Rogers H. Development and implementation of early intervention services for young people with psychosis. British Journal of Psychiatry 2009;194:446-50).

Lester HE, Birchwood M, Shah S, Tait L, England E. Barriers and facilitators to partnership working between Early Intervention Services and the voluntary and community sector. Health and Social Care in the Community 1365-2524.2008.

Armando M, Nelson B, Yung AR, Ross M, Birchwood M, Girardi P, Nastro PF. Psychotic-like experiences and correlation with distress and depressive symptoms in a community sample of adolescents and young adults. Schizophr Res. 2010 Jun;119(1-3):258-265.

Stephan Ruhrmann, Frauke Schultze-Lutter, Raimo K. R. Salokangas, Markus Heinimaa, Don Linszen, Peter Dingemans, Max Birchwood, Paul Patterson, Georg Juckel, Andreas Heinz, Anthony Morrison, Shôn Lewis, Heinrich Graf von Reventlow, Joachim Klosterkötter Prediction of Psychosis in Adolescents and Young Adults at High Risk: Results From the Prospective European Prediction of Psychosis Study Arch Gen Psychiatry, Mar 2010; 67: 241 - 251.

Jackson C, Trower P, Reid I, Smith J, Hall M, Townend M, Barton K, Jones J, Ross K, Russell R, Newton E, Dunn G, Birchwood M. Improving psychological adjustment following a first episode of psychosis: a randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy to reduce post psychotic trauma symptoms. Behav Res Ther.2009 Jun;47(6):454-62.

McGorry P, Johanessen JO, Lewis S, 9. 9. Birchwood M, Malla A, Nordentoft M,Addington J, Yung A. Early intervention in psychosis: keeping faith with evidence-based health care. Psychol Med. 2010 Mar;40(3):399-404.

Michail M, Birchwood M. Social anxiety disorder in first-episode psychosis: incidence, phenomenology and relationship with paranoia. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;195(3):234-41.

Salokangas RK, Heinimaa M, Svirskis T, Laine T, Huttunen J, Ristkari T, Ilonen, T, Korkeila J, Vaskelainen L, Rekola J, Hietala J, Klosterkötter J, Ruhrmann S, Graf von Reventlow H, Linszen D, Dingemans P, Birchwood M, Patterson P; EPOS Group. Perceived negative attitude of others as an early sign of psychosis. Eur Psychiatry. 2009 May;24(4):233-8. Epub 2009 Feb 6

Upthegrove R, Birchwood M, Ross K, Brunett K, McCollum R, Jones L. The evolution of depression and suicidality in first episode psychosis. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2009.

Current and recent grants

MRC COMMAND : A multi-centre RCT of CBT to reduce compliance with harmful command hallucinations (01/06/06 - 31/05/10), Birchwood, Peters, Wykes,Tarrier,Dunn £1.6M.

SDO, Project grants, EDEN/EDEN-plus: evaluating the development and delivery of early intervention services in the West Midlands (01/04/03 - 31/07/06)Lester and Birchwood £680,000.

Department of Health, PRP A National Evaluation of Early Intervention Services for psychosis (01/04/05 - 31/06/2010). Birchwood, Lester, Marshall,Lewis, Fowler, Jones. £1.8M.

MRC, EDIE2: Early Detection and psychological Intervention using Cognitive Therapy for individuals at high risk of psychosis (01/04/06 - 31/03/10) . Morrison, French, Birchwood, Lewis, Jones, Fowler,Gumley £1.6M.

MRC CRIMSON. Study: RCT of Joint Crisis Plans to Reduce Compulsory Treatment of People with Psychosis. Thornicroft, Birchwood, Marshall, Lester Schmuckler (Jan 2007-Oct 2011) £2,357,659.

NIHR/CLAHRC(Birmingham):Reducing treatment delay in psychosis in Birmingham:a public health project (Oct 2008-March 2013). Birchwood, Singh, Lester, Freemantle, England £1.2M.

EU EPOS European early detection of psychosis project Ruhrman, Klosterkotter, Birchwood, Linszen, Salokongas.(2003-2007) Euros 1.4M.

Developing integrated care in primary care for people with serious mental illness Lester HE, Gask L, Nazareth I, Druss B, Birchwood M, Wagner E. Sponsor: NSPCR (2007-10) £205,845.

NIHR Programme grant Supereden—developing the next generation of early intervention in psychosis services. 2010-2015 £2M.