Eva Surawy Stepney
BA (Hons), MA
Department of History
Thesis title: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the foundations of ‘evidence-based’ practice in British Psychology, 1948-1990.
In contemporary mental-health care in Britain, Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM)- centred on large clinical trials- is the gold standard for psychological and psychiatric practice. However, the EBM paradigm is facing growing criticism for its reliance on a ‘reductive’ model of mind. The central aim of my research is to historically evaluate the foundations (and implications) of this evidence-based research paradigm in British psychology through an analysis of the formation of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, 1948-1980. I will focus on publications of the experimental psychologist Stanley Rachman demonstrating how OCD in its contemporary form emerged from what counted as ‘valid’ psychological ‘evidence’ at different points in time- and the implications this had for conceptions of mental distress more broadly.
- PhD History, University of Sheffield, 2020 - present
- MA History of Medicine, Birkbeck University of London, 2019
- BA (Hons) History, University of Sheffield, 2017
- PhD scholarship: AHRC White Rose College of Arts and Humanities
- British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) Masters Bursary Award (2018)
- Crewe prize in History (2017) - University of Sheffield
- Teaching activities
University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant 2021-22 academic year:
- HST11012 Land of Liberty? Rights in the USA, 1776-2016
University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant previous years:
- HST117 The Making of the Twentieth Century
- Publications and Conferences
- “Washers’ and ‘Checkers’: The Constitution of Compulsive Rituals in 1970s British Clinical Psychology’, OCD in Society: The Future of Critical OCD Studies, University of Michigan (May, 2021).
- “Visible’ Compulsions: OCD and the Politics of Evidence in Psychology'', WRoCAH Festival of Research (June, 2021).
- 'OCD in Society: Making Sense of a Hidden Illness', Conference Review, The Polyphony. https://thepolyphony.org/2019/06/27/ocd-in-society-making-sense-of-a-hidden-illness-conference-review/
- ‘Obstinate Material’: Surgical Intervention and Obsessional Thoughts, The Polyphony. https://thepolyphony.org/2021/01/19/obstinate-material-surgical-intervention-and-obsessional-thoughts/
- Guilty Obsessions, The Polyphony https://thepolyphony.org/2021/09/27/guilty-obsessions/