Dr Michael Larkin

Reader in Psychology

School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University
Aston Triangle
B4 7ET

Tel: +44 (0) 121 204 3112
Email: m.larkin@aston.ac.uk
Room: SW608

I came to Aston as Reader in Psychology in January 2017. Prior to that, I worked on the Clinical Psychology doctoral training programme, and also ran the MRes Clinical Psychology course, at the University of Birmingham.

I have an interdisciplinary background, and prefer to work in that way where possible. I collaborate with colleagues who have expertise via their lived experience, and/or via their formal roles in Philosophy, Health Science, Social Policy, Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry.

I conducted my PhD research on the experience of addiction and recovery in the 12 Step programme. My subsequent research has retained a focus on psychological coping (e.g. adapting, ‘doing well’) and distress (e.g. loss of control, overwhelming emotions) and on the contexts which shape people’s understanding of those experiences (e.g. relationships, families, interventions, services, cultures). Much of this has involved working with young people with psychosis and their families.

I have published extensively on approaches to qualitative research, and I have made significant contributions to the development of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). I have also been involved with the adaptation of an action research / service-development approach called Experience Based Co-Design (EBCD) for use in psychosocial care settings.

  • BA (Joint Hons) English and Psychology
  • PhD Psychology
  • PGCert Social Science Research Methods

Prior to my PhD, I worked in landscaping. While writing up my PhD, I worked for Nottingham Trent University, the Open University, and University College Northampton. I subsequently worked for De Montfort University for two years, and then at the University of Birmingham for eleven years.

I am the project co-ordinator for the MSc Health Psychology. I teach a final year module on applied psychology for the undergraduates in Psychology. 

Relatedness and connectedness to others and to places, and their role in coping and adaptation.

Experiences of psychological interventions and services; collaborative approaches to healthcare improvement; co-design and co-production of psychosocial services.

Understandings of anomalous and distressing experiences (loss of control, strange beliefs, strong emotions, pain, hearing voices).

Phenomenological psychology.

  1. Larkin, M. (PI) (2005-6). Higher Education Academy: miniproject grant to explore competency frameworks in clinical psychology training.
  2. Rose, J., Burchess, I., Larkin, M. (Co-I) (2008-11). Joint studentship to explore needs of South Asian families caring for a child with learning disabilities. Kuljit Heer [part-funded by Wolverhampton, PCT].
  3. Larkin, M. (PI) (2009-11). Experience-based co-design project commissioned by the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
  4. Larkin, M. & Newton, E.K. (2011-13). Impact funding from UoB and Research & Development funding from Coventry Warwickshire Partnership Trust: Working to improve inpatient psychiatric units in Coventry Warwickshire Partnership Trust. See tinyurl.com/bwogcr5
  5. Dixon, L., Larkin, M., Christian, J. (Co-I). (2011-13). Understanding the sexual beliefs, exploitation and assault of British urban street gang youth to inform preventative practice. NOTA.
  6. Wood, A., Blisset, J., Larkin, M. (Co-I). (2012-14). Understanding the challenges and impact of parenting with epilepsy: A focus on mothers. Epilepsy Action.
  7. Larkin, M. (PI), Rose, J. Kroese, B. (2011-14). People with learning disabilities from black and minority groups: An exploration of their experiences and views of services. NIHR SSCR 3rd Wave.
  8. Bortolotti, L. (PI) & Larkin, M. (Co-I). (2014-19). Pragmatic and epistemic role of factually erroneous cognitions and thoughts. ERC Consolidator.
  9. Larkin, M. (PI) et al. (2014). End-of-project impact funding. NIHR School for Social Care Research.
  10. Irvine, F. (ML as Co-I) et al. (2014). End-of-project impact funding. NIHR School for Social Care Research.
  11. Creswell, C., Clark, D., Leigh, E., Stallard, P., Reynolds, S., Violato, M., Taylor, G., Stephens, G., Larkin, M. (Co-I). (2015-18). ‘Specific versus generic psychological therapy for adolescents with social anxiety disorder.’ NIHR Health Technology Assessment.
  12. Weich, S., Bhui, K., Griffiths, F., Crepaz-Keay, D., Madan, J., El Enany, N., Larkin, M. (Co-I), Newton, E., Odunlade, A., Wrench, T. (2015-2017). ‘Evaluating the Use of Patient Experience Data to Improve the Quality of Inpatient Mental Health Care. NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research.
  13. Boden, Z. (PI) & Larkin, M. (Co-I). (2015-6). Relatedness and relationships in mental health. International Social Research Foundation; Small Grants for Flexible Groups Scheme.
  14. Boden, Z. (PI) & Larkin, M. (Mentor). (2015-6). Relatedness and connectedness in early psychosis. Richard Benjamin Trust.
  15. Larkin, M. (2015). Funding to support development of the shortlisted ‘Hub’ application, ‘Succeeding, striving and thriving.’ Small Grants scheme.
  16. Larkin, M. & Unwin, G. (2016). Using experience-based co-design to improve responses to domestic violence. West Midlands Police.


I’ve supervised over 60 doctoral students to successful completion.
My current PhD students are:

Psychology, Aston
Shioma-Lei Craythorne
Tiago Moutela

Psychology, Birmingham
Shoshana Gander Zaucker
Fiona Lerigo

Philosophy, Project PERFECT, Birmingham
Valeria Motta
Federico Buongiorno

Writing up
Tara Morrey
Rachel Gunn
Magdalena Antrobus
Divya Chadha

I also provide supervision to MSc students, and to some DClin researchers.

I’m a member of the British Psychological Society and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy