Professor Nick Hulbert-Williams

Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Nick is a Coaching Psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychology. He teaches primarily in the areas of contextual behavioural psychology, health psychology and coaching psychology. He is Director of the Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH) and the Departmental Research Strategy and Development Co-ordinator.


Nick studied Psychology with Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Wales Bangor, graduating in 2004. He then worked in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University School of Medicine where he carried out research towards his PhD on the process of psychosocial adjustment to cancer diagnosis. He has a post-graduate qualification in teaching for higher education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Nick is a Chartered Scientist as well as a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). In 2014 he was admitted to the BPS Register of Coaching Psychologists.


Nick joined the department in 2010 as a Senior Lecturer, having spent the previous three years as a Lecturer in Applied Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2014 he led the development of, and continues to direct, the Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH). Nick was appointed Professor of Behavioural Medicine in 2015. 

In addition to his activities at the University, Nick is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Psychosocial Oncology and Survivorship Clinical Studies Group. He is also Chair of the IPOS International Psycho-Oncology Research Committee and a member of Professional Advisory Board Research Sub-Committee for the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres charity. Nick is a member of numerous other academic organisations including the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS) and the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS).

Contact Details

T: +44 (0) 1244 511950


Twitter:  @profnickhw

External web-site:


On the undergraduate curriculum, Nick teaches on Core Topics in Psychology (PS4010), Recent Trends and Developments in Psychology (PS6005), and Health Psychology (PS6015).  He supervises both undergraduate and masters-level dissertations and is an experienced postgraduate degree supervisor. He is currently supervising six MPhil/PhD students at the University of Chester:

  • Sam Flynn: Cancer experiences in individuals with an intellectual disability.
  • Rhian McHugh: Changes in cognitive function and distress after a self-administered mindfulness-based intervention in lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Tony Whalley: Acceptance and commitment based approaches for the promotion of physical activity.
  • Sam Ashcroft: The application of applied relational frame theory in assessing and enhancing personal psychological values.
  • Will Kent: Acceptance and commitment coaching for oncology healthcare professionals.
  • Jayne Joy: Improving psychological interventions to support family carers of people at the end of life.


Nick is a contextual behavioural scientist and this has influence across all of his research work. He is especially interested in the application of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and principles from Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS) in the development of effective psychological interventions for use in psychological coaching and healthcare. His current research can be broadly grouped into the following three programmes of work:

1. Psychosocial Oncology: Nick is currently working on projects that aim to lead to a better understanding of the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis (for patients and their families), and to developing interventions to improve wellbeing and quality of life in this patient group by reducing unmet needs and distress.  Much of his work focuses on the application of third-wave psychological interventions (e.g. Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) within this setting. For more information, click here

2. Contextual Behavioural Science: Nick’s work in this area is focused on using experimental research methods to test and develop effective interventions that can be used by applied psychology practitioners. This work is grounded in applying RFT as a model to translate behavioural psychology theory to the applied psychology setting.

3. Healthy Habits: Here, Nick’s research is looking into the application CBS to encourage and promote healthy lifestyle change (e.g diet, smoking exercise etc.). This work is being done in both ‘clinical’ settings (e.g. in cancer survivors), and in general population groups. For more information, click here

Since 2005 Nick has been awarded over £400,000 for his research projects including grants from the Teenage Cancer Trust, the University of Chester, the North Wales Research Committee, the Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust, and the Scottish Government, Chief Scientist Office.

Published work

Recent peer-reviewed publications

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Plumpton CO, Flowers P, McHugh R, Neal RD Semlyen J & Storey L (in press).  The cancer care experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual patients: A secondary analysis of data from the UK Cancer Patient Experience Survey. European Journal of Cancer Care.

Brett J, Fenlon D, Boulton M, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Walter F, Donnelly P, Lavery B, Morgan A, Morris C & Watson E. (2016). Factors associated with intentional and unintentional non-adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy following breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care, online first access

Wells M, King E, Toft K, MacAulay F, Patterson J, Dougall N, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Boa S, Slaven E, Cowie J, McGarva J, Niblock P, Philp J & Roe J. (2016).  Development and feasibility of a Swallowing intervention Package (SiP) for patients receiving radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer – the SiP study protocol. BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 2:40

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L & Bramwell R (2016).  “You don’t know what’s wrong with you”: An exploration of cancer-related experiences in individuals with an intellectual disability. Psycho-Oncology., 25(10), 1198-1205

Swash B, Hulbert-Williams NJ & Bramwell R (2016).  “Haematological cancers, they’re a funny bunch”: A qualitative study of haematological cancer patient experiences of unmet supportive care needs. Journal of Health Psychology, online first access.

Hulbert-Williams L, Hochard K, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Archer R, Nicholls W & Wilson K (2016).  Contextual behavioural coaching: A scientifically coherent model for supporting behaviour change. International Journal of Coaching Psychology, 11(2). 142-154.

Nicholls W, Patterson P, MacDonald F & Hulbert-Williams NJ (2016).  Unmet needs in young adults with a parent with chronic illness:  a mixed method investigation and measure development study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, online first access.  DOI: 10.1111/scs.12320

Plaskocinska I, Shipman, H, Drummond J, Thompson E, Sagoo G, Newcombe B, Barter E, Ridley P, Ng R, Miller S, Thompson F, Dunn A, Licence V, Webb H, Hodgkin C, Tee Tan L, Daley M, Ayers S, Rufford B, Parkinson C, Earl H, Duncan T, Pharoah P, Abbs S, Hulbert-Williams N, Crawford R, Brenton J & Tischkowitz M (2016).   New paradigms for BRCA1/BRCA2 testing in women with ovarian cancer – results of the Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (GTEOC) Study. Journal of Medical Genetics, online first access. DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2016-103902

Hulbert-Williams NJ & Storey L (2016).  Psychological flexibility correlates with patient-reported outcomes independent of clinical or sociodemographic characteristics.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(6), 2513-2521.  DOI: 10.1007/s00520-015-3050-9

Hulbert-Wiliams NJ (2016). Supporting cancer patients with anxiety. Nursing in Practice,

Wakefield C, Butow P, Aaronson N, Hack T, Hulbert-Williams N & Jacobsen P, on behalf of the IPOS Research Committee (2015). Patient-reported depression measures in cancer: A meta-review.  Lancet Psychiatry, 2(7), 635-647. DOI:

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams L, Bramwell R, Stevens-Gill D & Hulbert-Williams N (2015).  Caring for cancer patients with an intellectual disability: attitudes and care perceptions of UK oncology nurses.  European Journal of Oncology Nursing, e-publication ahead of print.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.015.03.002

Jones J, Kane P, Polson R, Humphry R, Leslie S, Hulbert-Williams N, Simard S, Ozakinci G & Hubbard G (2015). Protocol for a systematic review of screening tools for fear of recurrent illness in common life-threatening diseases. BMC Systematic Reviews, 4(10).  DOI: 10.1186/2046-4053-4-10

Wright C, Harvie M, Howell A, Evans G, Hulbert-Williams N & Donnelly L (2015). Beliefs about weight and breast cancer: An interview study with high risk women following a 12 month weight loss intervention. Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice, 13(1).  DOI: 10.1186/s13053-014-0023-9

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams N, Hulbert-Williams L & Bramwell R (2015). Psychosocial experiences of chronic illness in individuals with an intellectual disability: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 19(2), 178-194. DOI: 10.1177/1744629514565680

Nicholls W, Hulbert-Williams N & Bramwell R (2014). The role of relationship attachment in psychological adjustment to cancer in patients and caregivers: a systematic review of the literature.  Psycho-Oncology 23, 1083-1095.  DOI: 10.1002/pon.3664.

Hulbert-Williams N, Storey L & Wilson K (2014).   Psychological interventions for patients with cancer:  Psychological flexibility and the potential utility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  European Journal of Cancer Care, 24(1), 15-27.  DOI: 10.1111/ecc.12223.

Swash B, Hulbert-Williams N, & Bramwell R (2014). Unmet psychosocial needs in haematological cancer:  A systematic review.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(4), 1131-1141 DOI:  10.1007/s00520-014-2123-5.

Walker K & Hulbert-Williams N (2014). Exploring the internal conflict between attitudinal support for organ donation and implementing action to join the Organ Donor Register. Health Psychology Update 23 (1).

Eccles S, Aboagye E, Alis S…Hulbert-Williams N et al. (2013) Critical research gaps and translational priorities for the successful prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research, 15(5).  DOI:  10.1186/bcr3493.

Hulbert-Williams L, Nicholls W, Joy J & Hulbert-Williams N (2013). Initial validation of the Mindful Eating Scale. Mindfulness, 5(6), 719-729.  DOI:  10.1007/s12671-013-0227-5

Hains C & Hulbert-Williams NJ. (2013). Attitudes toward euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: A study of the multivariate effects of healthcare training, religion and locus of control. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29(1), 713-716. DOI:10.1136/medethics-2012-100729

Hulbert-Williams N, Morrison V, Neal R & Wilkinson C (2013). Investigating the cognitive precursors of emotional response to cancer stress: Re-testing Lazarus's Transactional Model. British Journal of Health Psychology 18(1), 97-121. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8287.2012.02082.x

Watson E, Rose P, Neal R, Hulbert-Williams N, Donnolly P, Hubbard G, Elliot J, Campbell C, Weller D & Wilkinson C. (2012). Personalised cancer follow-up: risk stratification, needs assessment or both? British Journal of Cancer, 106, 1-5. DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2011.535.

Hulbert-Williams N, Neal R, Morrison V, Hood K & Wilkinson C. (2012). Anxiety depression and quality of life after cancer diagnosis: What psychosocial variables best predict how patients adjust. Psycho-Oncology, 21(8), 857-867. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1980.

Hulbert-Williams N, Hulbert-Williams L, Morrison V, Neal R & Wilkinson C. (2012). The Mini-MAC Scale: Re-analysis of its psychometric properties in a sample of 160 mixed cancer patients. Psycho-Oncology, 21(7), 79-797. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1994

Books and Book Chapters

Wyatt D & Hulbert-Williams N (2015).  Cancer & Cancer Care. London: Sage Ltd.

Hulbert-Williams N & Owen R (2015). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for cancer patients. In Holland et al (Eds), Psycho-Oncology  (3rd Edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

Nick is also featured in a new textbook in which he provides an expert perspective on the application of ACT to cancer care: Hooper N & Larsson A (2015). The Research Journey of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). London: Palgrave Macmillan.