February 29, 2024


My friend and colleague Tony Roth, who died of a brain tumor aged 70, was an academic in the field of clinical psychology.

Tony’s interest in what makes an effective therapist led to projects commissioned by the Department of Health & NHS England which led to the creation of new frameworks to summarize the skills and knowledge required to practice competently. This has helped to improve training, service uptake and policy development across a range of therapies, as well as in other mental health areas such as self-harm prevention and children’s inpatient services.

In addition, Tony’s book, What Works for Whom? (1996), written with Peter Fonagy, is a standard text and has no obvious rival as a concise summary of a large range of research.

Tony was born in Isleworth, west London, to Rose (nee Lerner) and Simon Roth, who owned and operated a garage together. He went to Isleworth Grammar School before studying psychology at the University of Sheffield, where he gained a first-class degree in 1975, followed by a PhD.

In 1978 he moved to London to train as a clinical psychologist in NHS England’s South East region and then worked for 10 years in the North West Thames region, the latter in Camden and Islington. Eventually he became involved in the training of clinical psychologists at University College London, rising to be joint course director of the doctoral program there and becoming a professor in 2008.

He was also an honorary consultant clinical psychologist at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. He continued to work in one way or another until a few weeks before his death.

Tony had the ability to take in complex subjects while maintaining a grasp of the big picture. His appetite for work was impressive, but he was so much more than a dry academic, with a wit and sense of humor that could erupt at any moment. He worked out at the gym twice a week, went scuba diving and looked cool on his motorcycle in full leather.

He loved to travel and had a gift for friendship that enriched the lives of many. He is survived by his twin brother, Clive, and his older sisters Barbara and Liz.



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