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Leadership in 21st century military healthcare: what did clinical psychologists ever do for us?
  1. Rachel Norris,
  2. S Renwick,
  3. R Siddle and
  4. P Westlake
  1. Defence Clinical Psychology Service, Ministry of Defence, Lichfield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Norris, Defence Clinical Psychology Service, Ministry of Defence, Lichfield WS14 9PY, UK; Rachel.Norris374{at}


Psychology is integral to the concepts and practice of leadership. Leadership models often have their roots in psychological paradigms, making it intrinsically easy for psychologists to grasp and apply them alongside clinical models. Psychologists’ ‘second-order’ skills have been used to good effect in the changing landscape of military mental healthcare: modelling adaptive responses to change, understanding the non-conscious aspects of relationships in hierarchical organisations, working with systems, the ability to diagnose situational requirements and act accordingly, drawing on a range of psychological theories and leadership styles. The clinical psychologist as a professional who can help others ‘reframe’ a situation or experience is key to their leadership role within healthcare settings, ‘enabling others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty’. The contribution that clinical psychology has made to leadership in Defence over the past 20 years will be illustrated by personal accounts from ‘experts by experience’.

  • psychology
  • military
  • health
  • leadership
  • clinical

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  • Contributors RN conceived the format, commissioned the content, wrote and edited the main body of the paper. SR, RS and PW authored the three 'experts by experience' figures which brought the subject matter of the paper to life.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.