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Personal profile


Dr Frances Shawyer is Deputy Director and a Research Fellow at Southern Synergy, the Southern Adult Mental Health Research, Training and Evaluation Centre at Monash University. She has worked as a clinical psychologist and researcher for over 20 years in a variety of settings including public mental health, clinical research and private practice. Her role at Southern Synergy has included coordination of the DARE project, a large-scale trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for recurrent depression funded by the NHMRC, and management of the Refugee Mental Health project, a survey of the mental health needs of refugees attending specialist refugee health services in south-east metropolitan Melbourne funded by Southern Health. The latter was recently cited in the Australian Federal Government report:  Australia's health 2018 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Fran was also was centrally involved in the day-to-day operation of PULSAR (Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery), a training and research project funded through a major competitive grant by the Victorian State Government's Mental Illness Research Fund (MIRF). The project tested a practical approach to address the vital issue of how different types of services within a defined geographical area can be refocused to support recovery. In another setting, Fran was a Chief Investigator with the Lifengage Project, a trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Medication-Resistant Psychosis run through La Trobe University. She is currently the Lead Chief Investigator in Melbourne for the Place-based suicide prevention trials evaluation team (formative phase), which is a consortium that includes the Sax Institute in Sydney and Southern Synergy, amongst others. In addition to her research activities, she coordinates the Mindfulness Program at Southern Synergy and is a member of the Promotion and Prevention Committee at Monash Health. Fran completed her training in Clinical Psychology in 1993 and her PhD in 2000, both at La Trobe University. Her primary research interest is the application of third-wave therapies to psychiatric conditions: she has led or co-authored 34 journal articles and book chapters including 17 related to this topic. Fran is based at Dandenong Hospital.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • Depression
  • psychosis
  • mindfulness
  • acceptance and commitment therapy
  • third-wave therapies


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