Sahanika Ratnayake is a philosopher of medicine and psychiatry, whose work specialises in talking therapy. She completed her PhD last year at the University of Cambridge, which examined the evidence for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, one of the most widely used schools of contemporary therapy. Prior to the PhD, she worked on mindfulness, and has completed postdoctoral research at the University of Vienna, examining how therapy became enmeshed in healthcare systems.
She has academic publications in the Journal of Medical Ethics, BMJ Medical Humanities, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology and co-authored the chapter on the Ethics of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the Oxford University Press Handbook for Psychotherapy Ethics (a key resource for therapists). Other than her own research, she is involved in a number of public health research projects on therapy.
Alongside her academic work, she has written pieces on everything from therapy to environmental issues and Beyoncè, in publications such as Aeon, Vice, The Conversation, 3AM Magazine; she also currently has a blog series on therapy at Psychology Today. Her poetry has been published in Australian and New Zealand (which is where she grew up) in literary journals and some of her poems will appear in an anthology of poetry from Sri Lanka (where she was born), to be published next year by Bloodaxe Books.
She convenes an interdisciplinary research network on talking therapy whose members include academic researchers across a number of disciplines, mental health professionals from across the world, primarily the UK and the US as well as current and former clients of therapy. The network has relationships with members of the British Psychological Society, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the society for the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry in the US. She has recently moved back to the UK.
She is working on her first trade book, an exploration of therapy.