Professor Michaela Swales

Director, Post-Graduate Diploma in DBT, Bangor University 

Michaela Swales

Prof. Michaela Swales is Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Programme Director of the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme, School of Psychology, Bangor University. 

Training Experience in DBT 

Prof. Swales completed Intensive Training in DBT in Seattle, USA in 1995 and became the Director of the UK DBT Training Programme in 2002. In this role, she trains staff and consults to programmes in a range of settings with a variety of client groups in the UK and internationally. 

Clinical Experience in DBT 

Prof Swales worked for 20 years in a regional Tier 4 inpatient service for adolescents serving North Wales. She specialised in delivering a DBT programme for adolescents with suicidal and self-harming behaviours. 

Prof. Swales was a member of the guideline development groups (GDGs) that, on behalf of the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE), wrote the guideline on the Treatment and Management of Borderline Personality Disorder (2009) and the Longer-Term Management of Self-Harm (2011). 

Prof. Swales participated in the Working Group on Classification of Personality Disorders, which reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Advisory Group for the Revision of ICD-10 Mental and Behavioural Disorders.  

Prof. Swales is President Elect of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders and Chair of the Training and Implementation Advisory Group of the World DBT Association. 

Other Relevant Training and HEI Experience 

As a result of both her clinical work and her role in training, Prof Swales has developed a particular interest in the effective implementation of evidence-based programmes of care. She is co-author, with Heidi Heard of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in the ‘CBT Distinctive Features Series’ and of ‘Changing Behavior: Problem-Solving in Action’ (2015). She edited the ‘Oxford Handbook of DBT’ – the definitive desk reference of DBT published in 2019. She was awarded the Cindy Sanderson Outstanding Educator Award by the International Society for the Improvement and Training in DBT at their conference in New York in November 2009 and their Outstanding Researcher Award in November 2021.