Dr Matt Woolgar

MA, PhD, DClinPsy

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Matt Woolgar is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Trust’s Conduct Problems Clinic and Adoption and Fostering Team.

As part of his role, he manages the clinical psychology service of the team, conducting and supervising psychometric and neurological assessments and the delivery of evidence-based parenting interventions to address conduct problems and difficult attachments.

He is also a Senior Researcher at the National Academy for Parenting Research at King’s College London, leading a project on the evidence-based measurement of the parenting.

Other roles

Other roles include:

  • Teaching clinical trainees, junior doctors and children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) practitioners on conduct problems, parenting, and attachment disorders and difficulties
  • Supervising the doctoral theses (DClin and PhD) of clinical psychologists. Topics include the neuropsychology of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and callous-emotional traits; parental beliefs and self-efficacy, and their commitment to parenting interventions; obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), parenting and mother-infant attachment; and low mood and social problem-solving in young offenders
  • Involvement in developing and disseminating a child and adolescent mental health services-wide portfolio of evidenced-based outcomes at the Trust
  • Developing the care pathway for parenting interventions at the Trust
  • One of the authors of the Fostering Changes Manual

He is a chartered member of British Psychological Society, a member of the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and a member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.


Dr Woolgar’s first degree was in Psychology at Cambridge University. He then went on to sit a PhD in Developmental Psychology at University College London, for which he studied the impact of parent-child attachment on the social and moral development of pre-school children.

Following his PhD, he took a six-year research fellowship at the Winnicott Research Unit, University of Reading, during which time he researched attachment, parenting and developmental psychopathology. He is trained on several ‘gold standard’ assessments of infant and child attachment.

Dr Woolgar’s clinical psychology training was completed at the Institute of Psychiatry, where he wrote a thesis on cases of cognitive vulnerability to low mood and depression in young people with severe conduct problems living in secure accommodation.

He is now a Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry’s Department of Psychology, maintaining an active research interest in parenting and attachment.


Research interests include:

  • Carer self-efficacy and attributions, and the successful engagement with parenting programs
  • The misdiagnosis the assessment and diagnosis of children and young people with disrupted attachment histories
  • Refining evidence-based treatments for children with callous and unemotional traits
  • Translating research measures of effective and sensitive parenting to clinical settings
  • The impact of low mood and social cognition in young offenders and young people in secure care
  • He was previously involved in studies regarding the impact of parental mental health on infant and child attachment, and their social, emotional and behavioural development.

Professional interests

Dr Woolgar has a professional interest in developing services that meet the needs of the hardest to reach families. He also believes it should be more widely recognised that adopted and fostered children require at least the same access to best-quality treatments as young people from birth families.

He sees it as important that we can translate developmental research to groups of vulnerable and hard to manage children – particularly research around attachment and the development of emotion regulation.


Woolgar, M. & Murray, L. (2010). The representation of fathers by children of depressed mothers: Refining the meaning of parentification in high-risk samples. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry

Woolgar, M. & Tranah, T. (2010). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in young people in secure accommodation: The influence of ethnicity and current suicidal ideation. Journal of Adolescence

Yule, W. & Woolgar, M. (2009). Developmental psychology. In M. Gelder, N. Andreasen, J. Lopez-Ibor & J. Geddes (Eds.), New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, 2nd Edition. OUP: Oxford.

Creswell, C., Woolgar, M., Cooper, P., Giannakakis, A., Schofield, E., Young, A. & Murray, L. (2008). Processing of faces and emotional expressions in infants at risk of social phobia. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 437-458.

Humayun, S., Woolgar, M., & Scott, S. (2008). The early development of offending and what works to stop it. The Magistrate, Oct 2008, 258-259.

Murray, L., Woolgar, M., Martins, C., Christaki, A., Hipwell, A. & Cooper, P. (2006). Conversations around homework: Links to parental mental health, family characteristics and child psychological functioning. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 24(1): 125-149.

Woolgar, M. & Scott, S. (2005). Evidence-based management of conduct disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 18(4): 392-396.

Cooper, P. J., Whelan, E., Woolgar, M., Morrell, J. & Murray, L. (2004). Association between childhood feeding problems and maternal eating disorder: role of the family environment. British Journal of Psychiatry 184: 210-5.

Murray, L., Woolgar, M. & Cooper, P. (2004). Detection and treatment of postpartum depression. Community Practioner 77: 13-17.

Murray, L., Woolgar, M., Murray, J. & Cooper, P. (2003). Self-exclusion from health care in women at high risk for postpartum depression. Journal of Public Health Medicine 25(2): 131-7.

Steele, M., Steele, H., Woolgar, M., Yabsley, S., Fonagy, P., Johnson, D. & Croft, C. (2003). An attachment perspective on children’s emotion narratives: Links across generations. In R. N. Emde, D. P. Wolfe and D. Oppenheim (Eds.), Revealing the inner worlds of young children: The MacArthur Story Stem Battery and Parent-Child Narratives.

Murray, L., Woolgar, M., Cooper, P. & Hipwell, A. (2001). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in 5-year-old children of depressed mothers. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines 42(7): 891-9.

Woolgar, M., Steele, H., Steele, M., Yabsley, S. & Fonagy, P. (2001). Children’s play narrative responses to hypothetical dilemmas and their awareness of moral emotions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 19(Pt1): 115-128.

Cooper, P. J., Tomlinson, M., Swartz, L., Woolgar, M., Murray, L. & Molteno, C. (1999). Post-partum depression and the mother-infant relationship in a South African peri-urban settlement. British Journal of Psychiatry 175: 554-558.

Murray, L., Woolgar, M., Briers, S. & Hipwell, A. (1999). Children’s social representations in dolls’ house play and theory of mind tasks, and their relation to family adversity and child disturbance. Social Development 8(2): 179-200.

Woolgar, M. (1999). Projective doll play methodologies for preschool children. Child Psychology & Psychiatry Review 4(3): 126-134.

Murray, L., Kempton, C., Woolgar, M. & Hooper, R. (1993). Depressed mothers’ speech to their infants and its relation to infant gender and cognitive development. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines 34(7): 1083-1101.

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