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Dr Laura McGrath

Profile summary

Professional biography

Laura started at the Open University in August 2019 as a Lecturer in Mental Health. She previously worked at the University of East London, where she was programme leader for the BSc in Clinical and Community Psychology, as well as co-lead for the Mental Health and Social Change Research Group. Laura completed her PhD from London South Bank University in 2012, following a conversion course to Psychology.

Research interests

Laura's research concentrates on the role of the envrionment in experiences of mental distress, care and recovery. Her work is interdisciplinary, drawing on social, community and critical psychology, as well as human geography and social theory, to explore psychosocial and material aspects of mental health experiences. This work lead Laura to co-edit the recent volume 'Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications' with Professor Paula Reavey. 

Impact and engagement

Laura is a founder member of the national network 'Psychologists for Social Change', which aims to encourage psychologists to engage with the political context of their work, and organise social and political action. She was lead author of the PSC briefing paper: The Psychological Impact of Austerity. 


Building visual worlds: using maps in qualitative psychological research on affect and emotion (2020)
McGrath, Laura; Mullarkey, Shauna and Reavey, Paula
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(1) (pp. 75-97)

The atmosphere of the ward: Attunements and attachments of everyday life for patients on a medium-secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-03-01)
Kanyeredzi, Ava; Brown, Steven D.; Mcgrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
The Sociological Review, 67(2) (pp. 444-466)

Agents and spectres: Life-space on a medium secure forensic psychiatric unit (2019-01-31)
Reavey, P.; Brown, S. D.; Kanyeredzi, A.; Mcgrath, L. and Tucker, I.
Social Science & Medicine, 220 (pp. 273-282)

Living ‘in between’ outside and inside: The forensic psychiatric unit as an impermanent assemblage (2019-01-15)
Tucker, Ian M.; Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 55 (pp. 29-36)

Contending with the minimum data set: Subjectivity, linearity and dividualising experiences in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (2019)
Bendall, Caroline and McGrath, Laura
Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 24(1) (pp. 94-109)

Through the prison walls: using published poetry to explore current UK prisoners’ narratives of past, present and future selves (2019)
DeValiant, Georgina; McGrath, Laura and Kougiali, Zetta
Qualitative Research in Psychology ((Early Access))

Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression: A Review of the Quality of ECT versus Sham ECT Trials and Meta-Analyses (2019)
Read, John; Kirsch, Irving and McGrath, Laura
Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 21(2) (pp. 64-103)

Organizing the sensory: Ear-work, panauralism and sonic agency on a forensic psychiatric unit (2019)
Brown, Steven D.; Kanyeredzi, Ava; McGrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Tucker, Ian
Human Relations ((Early Access))

Life lines: Loss, loneliness and expanding meshworks with an urban Walk and Talk group (2018-09)
Muir, Jessica and McGrath, Laura
Health & Place, 53 (pp. 164-172)

Facing the void: Recollections of embodying fear in the space of childhood homes (2018-08)
Del Busso, Lilliana; McGrath, Laura; Guest, Carly; Reavey, Paula; Kanyeredzi, Ava and Majumdar, Anamika
Emotion, Space and Society, 28 (pp. 24-31)

Psychologists Against Austerity: mobilising psychology for social change (2016-11-01)
Mcgrath, Laura; Walker, Carl and Jones, Christopher
Critical and Radical Social Work, 4(3) (pp. 409-413)

"Zip me up, and cool me down": Molar narratives and molecular intensities in 'helicopter' mental health services (2016-03)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 38 (pp. 61-69)

Transportations of space, time and self: the role of reading groups in managing mental distress in the community (2016)
Shipman, Judith and Mcgrath, Laura
Journal of Mental Health, 25(5) (pp. 416-421)

Seeking fluid possibility and solid ground: Space and movement in mental health service users' experiences of ‘crisis’ (2015-03)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Social Science & Medicine, 128 (pp. 115-125)

Exploring embodied and located experience: Memory Work as a method for drug research (2014-11)
Anderson, Katie and Mcgrath, Laura
International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(6) (pp. 1135-1138)

Embodying limb absence in the negotiation of sexual intimacy (2014-09-01)
Batty, Richard; Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Sexualities, 17(5-6) (pp. 686-706)

Heterotopias of control: Placing the material in experiences of mental health service use and community living (2013-07)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula
Health & Place, 22 (pp. 123-131)

The scenes and spaces of anxiety: Embodied expressions of distress in public and private fora (2008-10)
Mcgrath, Laura; Reavey, Paula and Brown, Steven D.
Emotion, Space and Society, 1(1) (pp. 56-64)

The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications (2018-08-29)
Mcgrath, Laura and Reavey, Paula eds.
ISBN : 9781138643932 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

The Psychological Impact of Austerity: A Briefing Paper (2015-03-05)
Mcgrath, Laura; Griffin, Vanessa and Mundy, Ed
Psychologists for Social Change