Duty of Care Psychologist

With the explosion in reality TV series, factual entertainment shows and documentaries on a
huge range of channels available on our screens, more people than ever before are being
thrust into the limelight. Psychological screening is now a regular part of the audition process
and recent Ofcom regulations now demand it.  This ensures the participants are
psychologically robust and stable enough to take part, or in certain situations continue, in
documentary, reality or entertainment shows. This is the essence of Duty of Care.

Broadcasters and production companies are required to put the welfare of any shows’ participants at the top of their agenda.  This has led to an increasing demand for a Duty of
Care Psychologist to be a key member of any production team. Current recommendations are that every show or series that involves members of the public should have a psychologist working on it, so it is more important than ever to ensure that you choose a fully qualified, registered psychologist for your work as well as someone who understands the needs of TV.

As a registered and regulated Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a number of other professional bodies, including the Association for Coaching (AOC) I have provided this service for a number of production companies and TV channels, including Endemol, Freemantle, CPL, RDF, Lion TV, Wall to Wall, Optomen, October Films, Sky, ITV, C4, C5, BBC and many other production companies and channels.

My full TV CV is available on request.

I hold a current Enhanced DBS Certificate, issued by the NHS to work with adults and
children in any mental health capacity. I also have full Public Liability and Professional
Insurance Cover.

Why would you use a Duty of Care Psychologist?

One in four people have suffered mental health issues at one time or another. Understanding those potential problems is key in getting the right contestants or participants for your show.

Initial research often fails to uncover these issues.  Potential contestants are usually so enthusiastic to appear on TV, they may not always be willing to disclose previous problems or concerns.  For many these issues are actually no longer relevant, but by assessing and evaluating participants, I can advise on who would be suitable for an individual show or programme.

By employing a Duty of Care or Consultant Psychologist you can feel confident about the emotional stability of your participants, manage them in the best way while producing a show or a series to the highest possible standards.

Additionally, the participants themselves will feel that the production company has their best interests at heart and that their well-being is considered in the most efficient, empathetic and professional way.

What do I do?

  • Use both standardised and customised psychological evaluations and tools to assess the suitability of each contestant to the show in question.
  • Further Skype and phone evaluations where necessary.
  • Assess each participant in person if required, in my own London based consulting rooms or at a venue of the production company’s choice./li>
  • Send confidential and detailed reports back to the production company on my findings, with summarised suggestions on how to proceed.
  • Work closely with your production and research team on both managing participants through the filming process as well as being available to discuss any individual concerns with the participants on the phone or in person.
  • If deemed necessary, inform the participant, face to face, if it is considered that it would not be in their best interests to be involved in a production.
  • Work on filming days, to provide emotional support to the participants and on-hand advice, if needed, to the production team.
  • Consult with participants, face to face, by phone or Skype, during the transmission period and beyond.
  • Provide appropriate and thorough aftercare for as long as is considered necessary.

Not all these stages are used, or are necessary, for every production company or every programme.  It is quite rare for participants to be turned down for a production. It is much more likely that a workable solution is found which both helps ensure the welfare and well-being of the contestants and the security of the production company.

Why use me?

I am a qualified and highly experienced Behavioural Psychologist. As well as working behind the scenes, as a psychologist for a number of production companies and TV channels, I also appear frequently on TV discussing psychological and relationship based topics. As well as being a regular on Sky News, I also appear on This Morning, Good Morning Britain, C5 News and many other programmes.

I worked on Big Brother from the very beginning, when Duty of Care was in its infancy and I am also the Consultant Psychologist on Good Morning Britain. I also specialise in Celebrity Psychology, having coached and counselled many well known A-list names as well as reality TV show contestants.

I completely understand the needs of TV production companies to combine and balance both entertainment value with the welfare of their contestants – as well as the speed that sometimes needs to be deployed – and work closely with them to try and ensure, wherever possible, that participants are able to appear on their shows.

For further information please email me at jo@johemmings.co.uk

Or contact my agent, Liz Ayto Elizabeth@mediaambitions.com