UNiCORN Aims & Values


  • To describe, develop and evaluate a clinically, theoretically and empirically informed model for understanding and managing uncertainty distress that is unifying across both mental and physical healthcare settings
  • To develop understanding of the role of threat, overestimation of threat, perceived uncertainty, actual uncertainty and intolerance of uncertainty in distress maintenance
  • To develop understanding of how people may behave in response to uncertainty distress, to normalise these responses and identify potentially modifiable processes that may help practitioners mitigate distress


UNiCORN Values

  • Collaboration: We work together as an interdisciplinary team to acknowledge limitations of any individual, advance our different skills and abilities, and to combine our knowledge and experience in the pursuit of good scientific practice.
  • Scientist-Practitioner Model: We reflect on our clinical experience to inform our work and aim to produce research that is embedded and applicable to everyday clinical practice.
  • Open Science: We are guided by the principles and practices of open science.

“Open Science is transparent and accessible knowledge that is shared and developed through collaborative networks” It helps the scientific community, the business world, political actors, and citizens to have a common and clear understanding about what Open Science is, and stimulates an open debate about the social, economic, and human added value of this phenomenon.”

Vicente-Sáez, R., & Martínez-Fuentes, C. (2018). Open Science now: A systematic literature

review for an integrated definition. Journal of Business Research, 88, 428-436.

Our team

Mark H. Freeston

Professor of Clinical Psychology. Newcastle University

Mark Freeston has been developing and testing models and treatments for OCD and GAD for nearly 30 years. In the last decade his research has focused on intolerance of uncertainty, originally identified in the early nineties as contributing to worry. It has since been recognized as a transdiagnostic vulnerability and maintenance factor. His current role is within the School of Psychology at Newcastle University where he has led the research component of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology for nearly 20 years. He teaches research methods and supervises undergraduate, MSc and Doctorate research. He also provides training in CBT approaches to anxiety disorders, complexity, supervision, transdiagnostic and transitional approaches to anxiety and distress.

Lauren Mawn

Clinical Psychologist. Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Lauren Mawn is a HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist working with Paediatric Health Populations at the Great North Childrens Hospital in Newcastle. She is guest of Newcastle University’s School of Psychology. She holds a PhD in Transformational Leadership from Bangor University, completed a post-doc in youth mental health at Durham University and is a fellow of the Higer Education Academy. Her research focuses on transdiagnostic process in psychopathology and comorbidity(e.g., intolerance of uncertainty) youth mental health and service user involvement.

Ashley Tiplady

Clinical Psychologist. Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Ashley Tiplady is an HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologist working into the specialist field of Occupational Health in The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. She has been involved in research related to Intolerance of Uncertainty since 2014, with a particular interest in the development of novel treatment interventions including group and individual approaches, developing and piloting the initial ” Making Friends with Uncertainty Group” in 2018 with colleagues in UK Primary Care Services. More recently, she has explored the applications of uncertainty management on the wellbeing of healthcare staff and doctors in training.

Gioia Bottesi

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology. University of Padova

Gioia Bottesi, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of General Psychology, University of Padova (Italy). She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) at specialised university centres. Her research focuses on the study of transdiagnostic factors of psychopathology (intolerance of uncertainty and emotion dysregulation) and dimensional models of personality disorders in non clinical and clinical populations. Moreover, she has experience in the assessment and treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive related disorders (relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder, trichotillomania, and body dysmorphic disorder).

Raquel Nogueira Arjona

Lecturer. University of Sussex

Raquel Nogueira Arjona is a Lecturer at the University of Sussex. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with distinction and European mention at the University of Málaga. She has held lecturing positions in psychological assessment, diagnosis and psychopathology at the University of Malaga and as a Postdoctoral and Associate Researcher at Dalhousie University. Her research interests are focused on the impact of comorbidity in the efficacy of psychological treatments, the effectiveness of resilience programs in young populations, and the implementation of web-based psychological therapies. She has experience in the study of the relationship between anxiety and mood symptoms, psychosocial and physiological variables in children and adolescents, and she is particularly interested in single-case experimental designs and data analysis.

Pablo Romero Sanchiz

Lecturer. University of Sussex

Pablo Romero Sanchiz is a Lecturer at the University of Sussex and a Clinical Psychologist registered in Spain and Nova Scotia. He has more than 15 years of clinical experience in treating addictions, mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders in both Spanish Public Health Services and private practice in both group and individual formats. His research interests go from cognitive-behavioural processes involved in psychological disorders from both transdiagnostic and disorder-specific approaches to the interplay of biological and psychological variables in the development, maintenance and treatment of mental disorders, but also the implementation of Internet-based psychological therapies.

Jinrui Pan

Assistant Professor in Economics. Durham University

Jinrui is a Lecturer in Economics at the Durham University Business School. Her research interests lie in the fields of behavioural economics, with a focus on individual decision making under risk/uncertainty, and over time.

Gregoris Simos

Professor of Psychopathology. University of Macedonia

Gregoris Simos is a Professor of Psychopathology and Head of the Department of Educational and Social Policy at the University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki, Greece). Dr Simos is the founder and President of the Greek Association of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies and a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT). He is also a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Prof. Simos has been very active in clinical work, teaching, research and writing in Greece and internationally for more than 30 years. He has also been an active member of research groups, including the Obsessive Compulsive Cognitions Working Group, and the Research Consortium on Intrusive Fears.

Meropi Simou

Clinical Psychologist. Greek Association of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies

Meropi Simou is a registered Clinical Psychologist MSc, EABCT-accredited cognitive behavioural psychotherapist and Board member of the Greek Association of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies. Her main research interests include the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy and e-health interventions, anxiety sensitivity, emotion regulation and intolerance of uncertainty.

Jessi Komes

Lecturer, Newcastle University

Jessica Komes is a Lecturer at the School of Psychology at Newcastle University. She received her PhD in Psychology/Cognitive Neuroscience from Jena University, Germany and held post-doc positions at Jena and Durham University. She is experienced in body-integrative approaches to mental health and is working in private practice as a trainee psychotherapist (UKCP accredited). With her academic background and experience as practitioner her work aims to bridge a gap between (neuro-)cognitive psychology and clinical psychology. She is particularly interested in interoception with its role for cognition/memory-based processes, pain perception, anxiety/distress and intolerance of uncertainty.

Layla Mofrad

Senior Psychological Therapist at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Layla Mofrad is a Social Worker, Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and Supervisor, and EMDR therapist. She has 10 years experience as a CBT therapist working in IAPT primary care services in the north east of England. She is an NIHR clinical academic and in recent years has worked on developing and delivering group interventions focussing on building tolerance to uncertainty. Layla currently works at a tertiary level specialist CBT service in Newcastle.

Eleonora Carraro

Clinical Psychologist. University of Padova

Eleonora Carraro, MS, is a licensed clinical psychologist, training as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) at the University of Padova (Italy). She had experience as research assistant in clinical psychology for about 10 months at the Department of General Psychology, University of Padova (Italy). Her research interests include the assessment of emotional disorders and their associated psychological features (i.e. intolerance of uncertainty), sport psychology, health psychology and quality of life.

Sally Askey-Jones

Clinical Psychologist. Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Sally Askey-Jones is a HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologist working in Adult Mental Health. She has experience of treating mood, anxiety, psychosis and personality disorders across the adult population. She has been involved in research with Intolerance of Uncertainty since 2014 and completed her doctoral research exploring a treatment model of IU using single case experimental design. Prior to her career in Clinical Psychology, she was a Registered Mental Health Nurse who worked across a broad range of settings and was involved in developing emotional wellbeing services for people with Multiple Sclerosis and a Randomised Controlled Trial for people with Parkinson’s Disease who experienced Impulse Control Disorders.

Nerea Requena Ocaña

Ph.D. Student. Complutense University of Madrid. IBIMA.

Nerea Requena-Ocaña is licenced in Psychology, Ph.D. student at the Complutense University of Madrid and she is working in the biomedical research institute of Málaga (Spain). She is also specialized in neuropsychology and neuroscience. The aim of his research is the study of plasmatic biomarkers that are altered in patients with Substance Use Disorder as well as the diagnosis of psychopathology and cognitive impairment in this population.

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