Dr Isabel Brunton


Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Applied, Social and Health Psychology

Isabel is a lecturer in clinical psychology. She has a particular interest in forensic clinical psychology and factors which impact the practice of clinical psychologists.



Isabel is a senior clinical psychologist who works for the NHS within a local remand prison. Related to her work as a clinician, Isabel has a particular interest in offending behaviour. Specifically, Isabel is interested the relation between brain injury and offending behaviour, the contribution of poor executive function to offending behaviour, and cognitive interventions to reduce and prevent offending behaviour.

In addition to the above, Isabel has a keen interest in the development of clinical psychologists and factors impacting their practice. In particular, she's interested in the impact of psychologists' beliefs (especially their philosophical beliefs) on the therapy they provide, the relevance of the free will debate to the work of clinical psychologists, and the utility of therapist self-reflection.

Research interests

  • Executive function and offending behaviour
  • Cognitive interventions to reduce/prevent offending behaviour
  • The impact of therapists' philosophical beliefs on psychological therapy
  • The relevance of the free will/determinism debate to clinical psychology
  • Reflection and reflective practice

Isabel is also a member of the Emotion and Well-Being Research Area and the executive function of the Brain and Cognition Group.


  • Abnormal and Clinical Psychology BSc (Hons)
  • Psychology and Criminology BSc (Hons)
  • Foundations in Clinical Psychology MSc


  • DClinPsy (University of Hertfordshire)
  • MSc Applied Forensic Psychology (University of York)
  • BA (Hons) Psychology and Philosophy (University of Stirling)

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Registered Clinical Psychologist, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Chartered Clinical Psychologist, British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Philosophical Psychology

Selected recent publications

Brunton, I. (Under review). Freewill, determinism and psychological therapy: a systematic review of the literature.

Keville, S., Nutt, K., Brunton, I., Keyes, C., Tacconellie, E. (In press). So many lifetimes locked inside: reflecting on the use of music and songs to enhance learning through emotional and social connection in Trainee Clinical Psychologists. Reflective Practice.

Brunton, I., Clarke, K., Dunne, E., Keys.C., Mackey, E., Nasr, S., and Nutt, K. (2015). What can we do? How we position ourselves as trainees when it comes to social exclusion. Clinical Psychology Forum, 265, 46-48.

Friedland, D., Brunton, I., & Potts, J. (2014). Falls and traumatic brain injury in adults under the age of sixty. Journal of community health, 39(1), 148-150.

Brunton, I., & Hartley, T. (2013). Enhanced thinking skills and the association between executive function and antisocial behaviour in children and adult offenders: scope for intervention? The Journal of Forensic Practice, 15(1), 68-77.

Brunton, I. (2011). The development of a cognitive-systemic intervention to address early antisocial behaviour. Forensic Update, 104, 8-11.

Recent presentations and conferences

Brunton, I. (2011). Could the Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) programme prevent/reduce antisocial behaviour if taught to schoolchildren? Investigating the link between antisocial behaviour and executive functioning in adult male offenders, and schoolchildren. Paper presented at the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology Conference, University of Portsmouth, UK.

Brunton, I. (2011). The MST national research trial: A researcher's perspective. In S. Fox (Chair), Multisystemic Therapy: a Family Intervention for Young People at Risk of Custody or Care. Symposium conducted at the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology Conference, University of Portsmouth, UK.