Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher is planning to begin a PhD in September 2021 and is seeking an appropriate supervisor. His research aims to investigate a behavioural addiction (Compulsive Helping).

Martin began his career in statutory social work with young offenders (‘Intermediate Treatment’), became director of a prisoners’ welfare charity and then a criminal defence barrister, all different hats for working with people in distress. In 2015 he completed an MSc in Psychology at Regent’s University London, investigating vulnerabilities to Intolerance of Uncertainty among women with disordered eating.

He is now a private practice psychotherapist trained in addiction psychology, Transactional Analysis and the advanced clinical practice of Integrative Psychotherapy. In 2020, he was invited to join The Local Company of the Donmar Warehouse Theatre.

Compulsive helping and polyvagal theory

Compulsive Helping is here conceived of as prosocial behaviour that has run out of control. It is an attachment disorder that has elements of codependent addiction and an obsessive compulsive adaptation.

Objective: To define Compulsive Helping nomothetically and investigate one treatment option using an iteration of embodied psychology.

Methods: Possibly mixed methods research i.e. a single case study using grounded theory to generate questions for quantitative analysis; treatment trial applying polyvagal theory.

Results: To arrive at a substantiated definition of Compulsive Helping within the taxonomy of addiction psychology; and demonstrate it is amenable to treatment by embodied psychology.

MPhil: To define Compulsive Helping nomothetically and investigate a mixed methodology research strategy, using Polyvagal Theory.

PhD: To apply Polyvagal Theory as an attachment-based embodied psychology, combining an ideographic case study with quantitative research.

Poster link: Compulsive Helping & Polyvagal Theory: my PhD idea