Dr Rachael Murrihy obtained her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from the University of Wollongong in 2006 and subsequently received the John Freestone Award for outstanding achievement in a clinical training program. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the delivery of training in cognitive behavioural therapy for general practitioners and psychiatric registrars. Since this time, Dr Murrihy has taken up a position as the Senior Clinical Psychologist and Research Associate at the Health Psychology Unit, an adolescent-focused unit, based at the University of Technology Sydney.
Dr Murrihy’s specialty is in the area of clinical adolescent psychology with a particular interest in youth aggression, conduct problems and bullying. As a practicing clinician, she works with youth experiencing both internalising and externalising disorders across a diverse range of settings, including the university clinic, private practice, inpatient wards, and in mainstream and alternative schools. She also lectures, trains, and supervises professionals in this field, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, family physicians, nurses, educators and interns.
Dr Murrihy has published research with an adolescent focus and presented this work at conferences both nationally and internationally. She has also edited a book, Clinical Handbook of Assessing and Treating Conduct Problems in Youth (Springer Publishing: New York, in press), in collaboration with Professor Thomas Ollendick and Dr Antony Kidman.
Membership of Professional Societies:
Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Member of APS College of Clinical Psychologists
Member of the Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies (U.S.)
Member of the Australian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (AACBT)
Sydney AACBT Committee member
Full registration as a psychologist – Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
2006 John Freestone Award. Most Outstanding Student in Clinical
2001 Research Grant ($5,000) Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
Research Grant ($20,000) from Australian Psychological
Society, Illawarra Institute of Mental Health. Pfizer and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
2002/3 Summer Scholarship University of Wollongong
2001/2 Summer Scholarship University of Wollongong
Perry, Y., Murrihy, R.C., Varlow, M., Dedousis-Wallace, A., Ellis, D.M., Langdon, R. & Kidman, A.D. 2015, 'The development and implementation of a pilot CBT for early psychosis service: achievements and challenges.', Early intervention in psychiatry, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 252-259.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a clinically indicated treatment for first-episode psychosis. Despite this, CBT for early psychosis is not routinely available as part of standard mental health services in Australia. The aim of this pilot project was to develop a CBT for early psychosis service to be provided as an adjunct to existing community mental health services. This study examined the feasibility of this service model, delivered in a real-world setting. A secondary aim was to explore the effectiveness of this service, as measured by clinical and functional outcomes.Participants living in northern Sydney, Australia, and who had recently experienced a first episode of psychosis, were offered up to 20 sessions of individual CBT. Service feasibility was measured via attrition rates, therapy attendance and referrer feedback. Measures of psychosis, depression, anxiety and psychosocial functioning, were assessed pretreatment, after six and 12 sessions, and at 3 months post-treatment.Nineteen clients attended treatment to completion. Survey feedback from referrers affirmed the positive impact of the service on clients' recovery. Additionally, clients showed improvements in symptoms of psychosis over the first three time points. Psychosocial functioning also shifted from the moderately to mildly impaired range by the end of treatment.The CBT for early psychosis service has been successfully integrated into the mental health landscape of northern Sydney. Outcomes of this pilot project are discussed with reference to the achievements of the service, as well as the obstacles encountered, and how they were overcome.
Dedousis-Wallace, A., Shute, R., Varlow, M., Murrihy, R. & Kidman, T. 2014, 'Predictors of teacher intervention in indirect bullying at school and outcome of a professional development presentation for teachers', Educational Psychology, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 862-875.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2013 Taylor & Francis. This study with 326 girls-school teachers developed and tested a model of predictors of the likelihood that teachers will intervene in indirect bullying, and evaluated a professional development presentation. Teachers responded to bullying vignettes before and after a presentation on indirect bullying (Experimentals) or adolescent mental health (Controls). In accord with the model, perceived seriousness of indirect bullying mediated between empathy for victims and likelihood of intervening. Self-efficacy also had a direct effect on likelihood of intervention, though level of knowledge of the impact of indirect bullying made only a small contribution. Compared with Controls, the Experimental Group scored more highly, after the presentation, on perceived seriousness of indirect bullying, empathy for victims, likelihood of intervening and self-efficacy, but not on knowledge of impact. It is concluded that teacher education about indirect bullying may be most effective if it focuses on feelings rather than facts, and provides practical intervention strategies.
Murrihy, R.C., Byrne, M. & Gonsalvez, C. 2009, 'Testing an empirically derived mental health training model featuring small groups, distributed practice and patient discussion', Medical Education, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 140-145.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Internationally, family doctors seeking to enhance their skills in evidence-based mental health treatment are attending brief training workshops, despite clear evidence in the literature that short-term, massed formats are not likely to improve skills in this complex area. Reviews of the educational literature suggest that an optimal model of training would incorporate distributed practice techniques; repeated practice over a lengthy time period, small-group interactive learning, mentoring relationships, skills-based training and an ongoing discussion of actual patients. This study investigates the potential role of group-based training incorporating multiple aspects of good pedagogy for training doctors in basic competencies in brief cognitive behaviour therapy (BCBT). Six groups of family doctors (n = 32) completed eight 2-hour sessions of BCBT group training over a 6-month period. A baseline control design was utilised with pre- and post-training measures of doctors' BCBT skills, knowledge and engagement in BCBT treatment. Family doctors' knowledge, skills in and actual use of BCBT with patients improved significantly over the course of training compared with the control period. This research demonstrates preliminary support for the efficacy of an empirically derived group training model for family doctors. Brief CBT group-based training could prove to be an effective and viable model for future doctor training.
Murrihy, R. & Byrne, M.K. 2005, 'Training models for psychiatry in primary care: a new frontier.', Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 296-301.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Under policies implemented by the Australian Government, the success of community mental health care has increasingly relied upon general practitioners (GPs) assuming an enhanced role in the delivery of evidence-based psychological treatment. In undertaking this role, it is crucial that GPs significantly build upon limited training in evidence-based psychological therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). This pilot study investigates the potential role of CBT group supervision as a training model.Two groups of GPs (n = 9) and one comparison group of psychiatric registrars (n = 4) completed eight 1.5 h sessions of CBT group supervision over an 8 month period. Pre- to post-training measures were taken of GP performance (skills, knowledge and confidence) and the mental health outcomes of their patients. On the completion of group supervision, focus groups were conducted for in-depth feedback.Randomization tests indicated that GPs' confidence and knowledge in using CBT had improved over the course of group supervision. Results from focus groups confirmed that GPs' CBT skills had improved.Findings suggest that group supervision is a promising training model for psychiatry in primary care. Cognitive behaviour therapy should be replaced, however, with a briefer therapy model, such as brief CBT, better suited to a general practice environment. Future research needs to replicate these findings on a larger scale.
Murrihy, R.C. 2017, 'evidence-based assessment and intervention for oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in school psychology'.