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Professor Derek Bolton  M.Phil., Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy & Psychopathology
Hon. Consultant Clinical Psychologist,South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

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tel020 7848 5011

Institute of Psychiatry
Box  P077
De Crespigny Park
United Kingdom, SE5 8AF

location 2.05
Henry Wellcome Building


Derek Bolton is Professor of Philosophy & Psychopathology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings’ College London and Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.


Professor Bolton read undergraduate Psychology at University College London and trained as a Clinical Psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry, joining the faculty in 1979, with clinical work in the Maudsley Hospital. Previously he obtained a first in Moral Sciences in Cambridge, Part II Tripos in Logic and Philosophy of Science, in 1973, followed by a Ph.D. at Cambridge in Wittgenstein’s philosophy (1973), the basis for An Approach to Wittgenstein’s Philosophy (London: Macmillan; Humanities Press: NY, 1979). His clinical work has been mainly in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), in-patient and, more recently, out-patient. Currently he is director of the National and Specialist CAMHS Anxiety Clinic in the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
In the newly formed King’s Health Partners he is Academic Lead for Care pathways for Emotional Disorders and Education & Training Lead, in the CAMHS CAG (Clinical Academic Group).
Managerial and administrative experience includes Head of Clinical Psychology Services, Bethlem and Maudsley NHS Trust 1995-2000, and Associate Director for Clinical Governance, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, 2000-2004.
Main teaching activities within the College include for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Diploma in Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies for Children and Adolescents, and MSc. in Philosophy of Mental Disorder.
Professor Bolton is a clinical researcher in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. His research has focussed mainly on paediatric obsessive compulsive disorder, recent research including behavioural genetic phenotyping of childhood OCD in relation to anxiety and tics and to normative childhood repetitive routines, and two treatment trials, one of exposure with response-prevention and another using a cognitive model and therapy methods. Other clinical research interests include longitudinal follow-up of adolescents following psychological trauma. Current clinical research includes psychological treatment trials for paediatric generalised anxiety disorder, including a qualitative study of young people’s experience of therapy.
Professor Bolton also researches in philosophical issues in psychiatry, and is currently a senior faculty member of the new Centre for Humanities and Health at King’s College London, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Current interests in this field include nature of causal explanation in psychology and psychiatry, the epistemological basis of evidence-based healthcare, and conceptualisation of disorder and its relation to distress.

teaching activities

Clinical Psychology ( DClinPsy ) » Doctorate
Cognitive Behavioural Therapies for Children and Adolescents (not running from 2011 entry) » Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)


PUBLICATIONS – recent selected:

Bolton, D., Hill J. Yule W., Udwin O, Boyle S & O’Ryan D. (2004). Long term effects of psychological trauma on psychosocial functioning. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1007-1014.

Bolton D. and Hill J. (2004) Mind, Meaning, and Mental Disorder: The Nature of Causal Explanation in Psychology and Psychiatry. Second edition. Oxford University Press.

Bolton, D. (2004) Values in the definition of mental disorder. Psychiatry, 3, 2-4.

Bolton, D. (2004) Shifts in the philosophical foundations of psychiatry since Jaspers: implications for psychopathology and psychotherapy. International Review of Psychiatry, 16, 1-6.

Bolton, D. (2004). Cognitive behaviour therapy for children and adolescents: some theoretical and developmental issues. In Graham, P. (Ed.) Cognitive-Behaviour therapy for Children and Families. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press.

Bolton, D. (2005) La connaissance en sciences humaines. Annales médico-psychologiques, 163, 740-744

Bolton, D. (2006). What’s the problem? A response to "secular humanism and scientific psychiatry" Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine. Philosophy, Ethic, and Humanities in Medicine 2006, 1:6. Reprinted in Science and Ethics ed.Paul Kurtz, 204-207; NY: Prometheus Books, 2007.

Bolton, D.; Eley, T.; O’Connor, T.; Perrin, S; Rabe-Hesketh, S; Rijsdijk, F.; Smith, P. (2006) Prevalence and genetic and environmental influences on anxiety disorders in 6-year-old twins. Psychological Medicine, 36; 335-344.

Bolton, D.; Rijsdijk, F.; O’Connor, T.; Perrin, S; Eley, T. (2007) Obsessive compulsive disorder, tics and anxiety in 6-year-old twins. Psychological Medicine, 37, 39-48.

Bolton D, Perrin, S. (2008) Evaluation of exposure with response-prevention for obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents. Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 39, 11-22.

Bolton, D. (2007) The usefulness of Wakefield’s definition of mental disorder for the diagnostic manuals. World Psychiatry 6: 3, 165-66.

Bolton D. (2008). What is mental disorder? An essay in philosophy, science and values. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bolton, D. (2008). The epistemology of RCTs and application in psychiatry. Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry 15 (2), 159-165.

Bolton, D. (2009). What is mental disorder? Psychiatry, 8, 468-70.

Bolton, D. (2009). Disorder. In the Oxford Companion to Emotion and the Affective Sciences, Edited David Sander and Klaus Scherer, Oxford University Press, pp.123-24.

Eley, T. C., Rijsdijk, F. V., Perrin, S., O’Connor, T. G., & Bolton, D. A Multivariate Genetic Analysis of Specific Phobia, Separation Anxiety and Social Phobia in Early Childhood. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, (2009). Online early DOI: 10.1007/s10802-008-9216-x.

Bolton D, Rijsdijk F, Eley T, O’Connor T, Perrin S (2009). Obsessive compulsion and related normative behaviors in 6-year-old twins. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50:9, pp 1139–1146, online early doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02094.x

Stein DJ, Phillips KA, Bolton D, Fulford KWM, Sadler J Z., Kendler KS. (2009) What is a Mental/Psychiatric Disorder? From DSM-IV to DSM-V. Psychological Medicine. 40, 1–7. Early online doi:10.1017/S0033291709992261

Bolton, D. (2010) Social, biological and personal constructions of mental illness, in Principles of Social Psychiatry (2e), D.Bughra and C.Morgan (eds). Wiley.

Bolton, D. (2010). Commentary on Fulford & Sadler’s “Mapping the Logical Geography of Delusion and Spiritual Experience”. In Religious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Research Agenda for DSM-V. Edited by John Raymond Peteet, M.D., Francis Lu, M.D., and William E. Narrow, M.D., MPH. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association.

Bolton, D. (2010). Conceptualisation of mental disorder and its personal meanings. Journal of Mental Health. 19(4): 328–336

Bolton, D. Salkovskis, PM, et al. (in preparation)Controlled evaluation of cognitive-behaviour therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents: comparison of standard, therapist-intensive therapy versus brief therapy.

Payne, S., Bolton, D., Perrin S. (in press) Cognitive Therapy for Generalized Anxiety in Youth: a case series.

last updated: Saturday, December 11, 2010