Victoria Pile

I applied for the Clinical Training Fellowship with the Biomedical Research Centre because I am passionate about translating cutting-edge research into clinically effective intervention as well as using my clinical experience to inform research ideas. The drive for treatment innovation and strong translational focus of the Biomedical Research Centre greatly appealed to me.

As a Clinical Psychologist, it has always been important to me to offer evidence-based treatments to the children and young people I see. Studies that bridge the gap between research and clinical practice are key to enable this.

This project has allowed me to utilise both my research and clinical skills with the aim of improving psychological interventions for young people with Tourette syndrome.

Research Summary

My project explores the relationship between the physical expression of tics and anxiety and mood-related mental health problems in childhood Tourette syndrome (TS). TS is a movement disorder characterized by repetitive involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. As tics are most apparent to observers, most research on TS has focussed on the role of dysfunctional brain circuits with less understanding on its hidden features: co-occurring mental health problems. Co-occurring depression and anxiety can contribute significantly to the experience of TS. Presently, there is minimal guidance regarding the management of anxiety and mood disorders in individuals with TS.

As TS starts in childhood, and increases in anxiety and depressive problems also emerge early, it is important to consider: (i) whether anxiety and mood problems in childhood TS are different in nature to anxiety and mood problems in typically-developing children, and (ii) whether the same psychological treatments used for managing anxiety and mood problems in typically-developing children have a secondary positive impact for children with TS. This is the focus of my project.