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Ben Thornley
Systemic Psychotherapist (Family Therapist) / DBT Therapist

Ben Thornley

Ben has been working at the Priory Wellbeing Centre in Oxford since it opened in early 2017. He initially specialised in DBT-informed therapy (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, an enhanced, skills-based therapy based on CBT principles). However, he qualified as a systemic psychotherapist (family therapist) in January 2018 and has been providing family therapy and family-based interventions since then.

As a qualified social worker, Ben has been working with adults with mental health problems for over 6 years, and in child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) for a further 10 years. He has treated hundreds of different clients – adults, children and families. He worked for the probation service with men convicted of domestic violence offences where he ran groups designed to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. Ben also trained and worked as a primary school teacher.


Ben started out with a psychology degree from Swansea, but has since gained a Masters degree in applied social sciences and social work from Oxford University and his Masters in Systemic Psychotherapy (Family Therapy) from the Tavistock Centre in London. He is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which can help with depression, anger, anxiety, phobias and OCD, and he is qualified to provide Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which is a proven approach to helping people with severe emotional problems, relationship difficulties and self-harming / suicidal behaviours and urges.

  • Facilitator Training - Community Domestic Violence Programme (National Probation Service)
  • Facilitator Training - Aggression Replacement Training (National Probation Service)
  • DBT Intensive Training Part 1 (British Isles DBT Training)
  • DBT Intensive Training Part 2 (British Isles DBT Training)
  • Introduction to CBT (Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre)
  • CBT Training for CAMHS clinicians (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust)

Professional Registration:

  • UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) registered (2011169570) and bound by their Code of Ethics. See  
  • HCPC Registered Social Worker (SW36755) and bound by HCPC’s Code of Ethics. See
  • Member of the Association of Family Therapy (AFT), and registered with AFT as a family/systemic psychotherapist. See

Clinical articles and research papers

In a former life Ben was a medical research assistant with the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group, and co-authored several important papers published in high impact peer-reviewed medical and psychiatric journals:

  • Adams  CE, Awad  GA, Rathbone  J, Thornley  B, Soares‐Weiser  K. (2014) Chlorpromazine versus placebo for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000284. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000284.pub3.
  • Thornley B, Adams C. (1998) Content and quality of 2000 controlled trials in schizophrenia over 50 years. BMJ. 317:1181-4.
  • Wahlbeck K, Adams C, Thornley B. (2000) Much to improve: A survey of controlled Nordic schizophrenia trials. Nord J Psychiatry; 54:105–108.
  • 1.BSc (Hons) in Psychology (University of Wales, Swansea)
  • 2.MSc in Applied Social Studies and Diploma in Social Work (University of Oxford)
  • 3.Postgraduate Diploma in Systemic Family Practice for Children and Young People (University of Reading)
  • 4.MA in Systemic Psychotherapy (Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust)

As your therapist, I will put a great deal of thought and attention into everything I say to you and do with you. I will be doing my very best to hear and understand what you tell me, and will be constantly reflecting on what is going on for you and between us. I receive regular supervision from a brilliant family therapist/supervisor who helps me to view things from other perspectives and in fresh new ways. I keep myself up to date through reading journals and books. Using supervision, reading and self-reflection, I will do all I can to give you the best of my knowledge and experience at all times.

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