Reporter 442, 8 November 1999

Resolution adopted by the Senate (20 October 1999) on the retirement of
Professor David Shapiro

Professor David Shapiro began his illustrious academic career by graduating from Oxford in 1967 with a first-class honours degree in psychology and philosophy. He quickly added clinical psychology training and a PhD to his qualifications and took up post-doctoral research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

In 1973 David and his family moved from London to Sheffield where Davidís particular research interests and his subsequent major input to psychological therapies research started to emerge. Commencing as a lecturer in psychology at the University of Sheffield, David was then appointed to a scientific post with the Medical Research Council in 1977 and led a highly successful research team at the MRC/ESRC Social and Applied Psychology Unit at the University of Sheffield. During this time he carried out major studies investigating the processes and outcomes of two contrasting psychological therapies: cognitive-behavioural therapy and psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. One of his abiding aims has been to try and ensure that quality research is carried out on psychodynamic-interpersonal therapy. In his time with the Medical Research Council, his contribution to psychological therapy research placed him at the forefront of the national scene. He was, for example, the first editor of the British Journal of Clinical Psychology, helping to establish it as a major international journal. But his reputation has been truly international and he has nurtured long and fruitful collaborations with many international researchers. His international standing was no more clearly apparent than when he was elected President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, an international body that has been dominated by North American researchers. He was then, and still is, the only UK academic to be elected to this position. He has also acted as editor and managing editor of Psychotherapy Research. Even from these heights, he never forgot the many students aspiring to be clinical psychologists. In this context, he was instrumental in setting up the training course in clinical psychology at the University of Sheffield.

In 1995 David came to the University of Leeds to take up the Chair of Clinical Psychology and became Director of the Psychological Therapies Research Centre (PTRC). The ethos of PTRC was, for David, the culmination of a long and international career as a psychotherapy researcher. Within PTRC, he actively strove to combine research with the real world of improving the mental health of the general population and, in particular, of those people seeking psychological help. PTRC is a unique experiment bringing together, under the same roof, a research-rich environment with the Leeds Community Mental Healthís Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling Unit. In addition to this role as Director of PTRC, David was quickly appointed Director of Research and Development for the Leeds Community Mental Health Trust, a post he held until March 1998.

Over a thirty-year international academic career David has written and contributed to over 100 research papers and presented or contributed to well in excess of 100 conference presentations. Davidís contribution has been truly immense and he is, without question, one of the leading international psychotherapy researchers of his generation. There are many colleagues, now in eminent positions themselves, who learned the skills of psychological and psychotherapeutic research as his research student. His skill as a researcher arose out of his ability to combine conceptual clarity with innovative and pluralistic research methodologies. His attention to minutiae is legendary. Above all else, David placed a particular value on attaining the highest quality work whether in the form of a publication or presentation. The legacy he leaves the University is that PTRC is now known, both nationally and internationally, as a centre of excellence in psychological research.

David took early retirement in 1999 in order to devote more time and energy to scholarly activities in a more leisurely manner, while still retaining strong links with PTRC. As David enters this new phase of his career, we all wish him and his wife Diana every happiness.

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