Daisy’s latest extraordinary woman, Jen, talks about how she and David are helping people beat sugar addiction and Type 2 Diabetes with low carb and their GRIN approach.
Dr Jennifer Unwin is a Consultant and Clinical Health Psychologist with over 30 years of NHS experience. Dr Unwin specialises in helping people with chronic illnesses to improve their lives through solution-focused brief therapy (a psychological approach based on solution-building rather than problem-solving). She is former Chair of the UK Association for Solution-Focused Practice.
Dr Unwin’s interest in long-term health conditions stems from her time working as a Lecturer at Manchester University in the 1990’s. Around this time, Dr Unwin contributed to two published books which merged her interest in psychology with physical and mental health conditions. She also completed her Clinical Doctorate in psychological aspects of recurrent urinary tract infections.
In 1996, Dr Unwin was appointed as Head of Clinical Health Psychology at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (a position which she remained in for over ten years). During this time, she worked at Royal Preston Hospital where she was tasked with developing the Clinical Health Psychology services in a large teaching hospital. She then moved to Liverpool University where she combined her role as Senior University Clinical Teacher with academia for four years (2007-2011). Dr Unwin completed her Clinical Psychology Doctorate at Hull University in goal-focused hope, spiritual hope and wellbeing.
In 2013, Dr Unwin returned to Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust working in their mental health team to offer psychological support to those living with long-term physical or mental health conditions such as fibromyalgia, COPD, and type 2 diabetes. Dr Unwin became interested in applying psychological techniques which promote resilience, hope, and motivation amongst her patients. She collaborated with her husband Dr David Unwin (an award-winning family doctor well-known for his pioneering low-carb approach to managing type 2 diabetes) to deliver innovative psychological approaches to patients with type 2 diabetes or sugar addiction in a group setting and individually.
Over the past 30 years, Dr Unwin contributed to 19 clinical papers and two published books. She is also a renowned public speaker, having spoken at conferences and events worldwide. She recently retired from her NHS role in May 2019 and now dedicates her time to working alongside Dr David Unwin to provide innovative and results-driven patient care to those with type 2 diabetes and sugar addiction through Diabetes Digital Media (DDM). DDM is an award-winning digital health platform offering scalable and evidence-based health solutions to those with diabetes.
Together, the Unwins have pioneered the use of low carbohydrate diets in the treatment of obesity and diabetes through a patient-centric model of ‘hope’. Dr Unwin believes that “every piece of bad news, for example a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, can be turned on its head to become a golden opportunity for change.” Since the success of the low carb initiative is largely reliant on hope, the most important part is to address the patient’s personal goals. Dr Unwin draws on her extensive psychological knowledge to promote a two-way discussion which is informative, motivating and fulfilling for both doctor and patient.
Through hard work, perseverance and most of all, taking the time to understand each patient’s individual needs and goals, David and Jen Unwin have proven that low carb lifestyles work, that they last, and that they can be made accessible to all.
Jen and David Unwin’s GRIN model
Escape the Diet Trap by Dr John Briffa
Sign the petition to help the Unwins.
Martin Seligman’s (Positive Psychology) website.
Follow Jen on Twitter
Food addiction & type 2 diabetes by Dr Jen Unwin & Charlotte Summers | PHC 2018
Dr. David Unwin & Dr. Jen Unwin – ‘Behaviour Change ‘In a nutshell’ & Picking our low carb battles’