Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Clinical Psychology FAQ

    As I have identified myself as a clinical psychologist, I quite often get messaged questions and notice lots of myths and misconceptions that float around. Inspired by GodspeedGehenna's brilliant Undergraduate Psychology FAQ, I thought I would post a similar one about Clinical Psychology in the UK.


    What is Clinical psychology? What do clinical psychologists do?

    Clinical psychology is an application of the psychology in order to reduce human distress. It is an applied science, in that it uses the academic field of psychology to do things in the real world.

    Many equate clinical psychologists as psychotherapists. While most of us do quite a bit of psychotherapy, we do a lot more too. Most of us will have involvement in working with other healthcare professionals (like medics, nurses and Occupational Therapists), providing psychological supervision and guiding the practice of others, teaching, research and leadership. Another big strand of what clinical psychologists do is neuropsychological testing. This is often done in brain injury or rehabilitation settings, but it can pop up in other areas

    Most of us work in mental health services mainly in the NHS, but you can find us in physical health settings, child services, universities, charities and the private sector.


    How are clinical psychologists trained?

    All clinical psychologists start out by getting an undergraduate degree (B.Sc.in Psychology) or a conversion course. This needs to give the person Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC). They then generally have to get a period of paid relevant work experience. There is no single way to get this, and many people take jobs as support workers and healthcare assistants when starting out.

    A really good job to get is that of an Assistant Psychologist, where you will be directly exposed and assisting with much of the work clinical psychologists do. This is really good, as you get a better understanding of the field. Sometimes people (like me) do a clinically relevant PhD, which gives you a mix of clinical experience and research skills. Others have come through other routes like having a job in an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service or similar mental health junior posts.
    You then have to complete a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology training course (DClinPsy). This will last three years, and when you come out the other side you will be able to practice independently and be eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professional Council.

    Please note, in the UK, that the DClinPsy is NOT the same as a Psychology PhD. A PhD is a qualification that is geared towards training people in research, and you don't get the trained in the skills needed to practice clinically.


    What happens on a DClinPsy course?

    A DClinPsy is a combined programme of academic, clinical and research work. It is a vocational course (like nursing or medicine) where trainees have to juggle lectures (1-2 days per week), a clinical placement (2-3 days per week) and on-going research projects. The placements are held in adult mental health, child and adolescent mental health, older adult mental health, learning disabilities as well as an elective placement you get to choose yourself. In addition to the Trainees' work is closely supervised to pick up the assessment, therapy and other clinical skills they will need. Trainees typically work 37.5 hours a week (they are considered NHS employees), but may end up working beyond that fit everything in.

    During these three years have to meet specific competencies needed by all clinical psychologists and finish a substantial dissertation at the end of it. Some courses have exams, others have coursework, but all are required to produce psychologists with similar competencies.

    The DClinPsy is fully funded, at the moment, and trainees are paid on a Band 6 NHS Salary.


    How competitive is it to get on a DClinPsy course?

    It is quite competitive, but not impossible. Last year there were 3857 applicants for 586 places, which was an overall success rate of 15%.

    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/BasicNumbers.html

    Bear in mind, there is no indication of quality of these applicants, and they will range in experience and capability. If you have a solid academic background, good research skills, empathy or people skills and some good clinical experience to reflect on, you will stand a decent chance. However, if you are lacking in any of these areas, your chances will reduce dramatically.

    A lot of courses will demand a 2:1 as a minimum, as evidence of academic ability (ideally with some postgraduate stuff too). Some courses have recently set their own selection exam that will examine anyone with a psychology degree and take performance on the day into account.


    What is the best experience to get?

    There is no best experience, although some jobs like assistant psychologist do give several advantages, as you will be directly supervised by a clinical psychologist. Anything that allows you to tick the academic, clinical and research boxes would do.


    Is there a best undergraduate degree to do? What can I do to maximise my chances as an undergraduate?

    As long as a course gives you GBC, then you should be fine. There are many undergraduate courses that call themselves fancy names like "Applied Psych" or "Clinical Psych" but I haven't seen them provide any edges.

    Most courses will want to make sure you can get through them with minimum of difficulties and will be paying attention to your research methods and stats marks, rather than if you did any particular special modules. One advantage though is 4 years sandwich courses, which include a year long placement. If you get a clinical placement, this counts as experience and may help you get your first job.

    Where can I find out more about the job?

    What is Clinical Psychology?
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Clinica.../dp/0198566891

    A good overview of what a clinical psychologist does and how the profession came to be. It's a textbook, but it will answer most technical questions you may have about what we do.

    How to Become a Clinical Psychologist: Getting a Foot in the Door
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Become-C.../dp/1583912428

    This is old favourite is a how-to-guide that gives you tips and advice about the sort of first jobs many of us do to get onto a DClinPsy.

    Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Irrelevant-E...dp/B00EQFE5JW/

    This is a new novel about the life of an assistant psychologist. It's an easy, funny read and written a bit like Bridget Jones Diary. It covers the whole application process from a perspective of someone going through it all. It triggered lots of memories for me.

    Links

    You can browse for further clinical psych info at:

    www.clinpsy.org.uk
    www.bps.org.uk

    Thanks for reading. I will be happy to answer any questions, and I know there are a few others around here who know quite a bit about the field, so I hope they chip in too.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Mods, please consider stickying this.

    Also I think I have messed up some of the links, sorry about that.
    • TSR Support Team
    • Wiki Support Team
    • Peer Support Volunteers
    • PS Reviewer
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Wiki Support Team
    Peer Support Volunteers
    PS Reviewer
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    Mods, please consider stickying this.

    Also I think I have messed up some of the links, sorry about that.
    Your other option could be to have this as a wiki page as well I'm not interested in clinical (I'm actually going to start training as an educational psychologist instead) but I think it's great that you've answered a number of questions people have!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    Mods, please consider stickying this.

    Also I think I have messed up some of the links, sorry about that.
    What is the difference between clinical and counselling psychologist?

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    This was so helpful! I've just applied to universities and I made sure the courses I applied for (with the exception of the two Scottish ones who don't offer it) were 4 year "Psychology with Placement".

    I applied for University of Bath MSci Psychology with Placement. It's a 5 year course, the first 4 years are like a normal Psych with Placement course and then there is a year added on the end with takes the qualification up to between a Masters and Undergrad. Will this give me an advantage in getting work experience and getting onto the PhD or DClinPsy?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Will this give me an advantage in getting work experience and getting onto the PhD or DClinPsy?
    It is a step towards that goal, and a really good starting point, but by itself is unlikely to be everything you need.

    What is the difference between clinical and counselling psychologist?
    There are philosophical differences (clinical are supposed to come from a more scientific angle, whereas counselling psychs traditionally are more humanistic), but in reality many regard the major difference seems to be clinical psychologists get paid to train, whereas counselling psychologists have to pay for their training.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    I've read before that if you get a 1st in your degree, doing a MSc in Research Methods afterwards wouldn't be hugely helpful since they know you're already capable in that area. Since I was planning on applying for that, would you say this is at all true?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    It's hard to say.

    It very much depends on what you stand to learn from the experience and how the rest of your portfolio of experience would look like. A 1st will help you stand out from the sea of 2:1s, and if you have good evidence of research skills (RA post), published your undergrad dissertation, you would have demonstrated that skill. However, people do get further skills on MScs + contacts and can reflect on these at interview. It certainly won't hurt.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Hey,

    im considering clinical psychology, but my GCSE grades are awful. I gained only 5 flimsily C-B grades. However, for my AS year I've been predicted AAAB. If I get A*A*A(/A*)A can I get into Clinical psychology or will my GCSE grades hold me down?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BewareTomato)
    Hey,

    im considering clinical psychology, but my GCSE grades are awful. I gained only 5 flimsily C-B grades. However, for my AS year I've been predicted AAAB. If I get A*A*A(/A*)A can I get into Clinical psychology or will my GCSE grades hold me down?
    I really do not think your GCSE grades will affect whether you get onto the post-grad course for clinical psychology. I'd say your A levels (to a lesser extent) and your undergrad degree, plus experience, is FAR more important. Focus on getting into uni first! (apologies if that came across as patronising)
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Sannn)
    I really do not think your GCSE grades will affect whether you get onto the post-grad course for clinical psychology. I'd say your A levels (to a lesser extent) and your undergrad degree, plus experience, is FAR more important. Focus on getting into uni first! (apologies if that came across as patronising)
    Ok thanks
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    Clinical Psychology FAQ

    Is there a best undergraduate degree to do? What can I do to maximise my chances as an undergraduate?

    As long as a course gives you GBC, then you should be fine. There are many undergraduate courses that call themselves fancy names like "Applied Psych" or "Clinical Psych" but I haven't seen them provide any edges.

    Most courses will want to make sure you can get through them with minimum of difficulties and will be paying attention to your research methods and stats marks, rather than if you did any particular special modules. One advantage though is 4 years sandwich courses, which include a year long placement. If you get a clinical placement, this counts as experience and may help you get your first job.
    Do you think it would make a difference how prestigious the university you obtained your degree from is? e.g. if it is a Russel Group university or not?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    My concern is mainly that my undergrad is not 2.1 or first so is that going to hold me back from anything further related to a professional qualification. AND YET!? I have been offered a place to research global health via a PhD study which makes me think surely id get accepted then....
    The lack of a 2:1/1st would probably eliminate you from many clinical psychology training courses. Bear in mind research PhDs are a very different type of qualification, and would not allow you to practice clinically. Just because you got accepted onto a PhD doesn't automatically mean you will get onto a DClinPsy course, as they will look for different qualities and aptitudes in their candidates.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Do you think it would make a difference how prestigious the university you obtained your degree from is? e.g. if it is a Russel Group university or not?
    Most courses specify that you need a BPS recognised degree in order to be eligible for application. In my training year we had a mix of Oxbridge and redbrick universities, but a few ex polytechnic and open university folk too. It didn't seem to be that much of an issue, but I can't quote the national stats on this.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    The lack of a 2:1/1st would probably eliminate you from many clinical psychology training courses. Bear in mind research PhDs are a very different type of qualification, and would not allow you to practice clinically. Just because you got accepted onto a PhD doesn't automatically mean you will get onto a DClinPsy course, as they will look for different qualities and aptitudes in their candidates.
    Thanks for your reply, at this stage of study I am aware as you say that research and professional degrees are different. Also that I have been accepted onto a PhD doesn't mean automatically anything relating to Clinical Psyche. I think what I was asking for was perhaps not clear, as what you are saying is pretty much what I was also saying. So I think contacting the universities will be better for me.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    Hi, my daughter applied for psychology (c800) in Durham, but was rejected but offered applied psychology (c817) instead. She really wants to be a clinical psychologist, working with children/adults with problems etc. Can you tell me which degree course would be best - the straight psychology or the applied psychology? It's all a mind field to me! Many thanks, Jx
    • TSR Support Team
    • Wiki Support Team
    • Peer Support Volunteers
    • PS Reviewer
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Support Team
    Wiki Support Team
    Peer Support Volunteers
    PS Reviewer
    (Original post by jaynebun)
    Hi, my daughter applied for psychology (c800) in Durham, but was rejected but offered applied psychology (c817) instead. She really wants to be a clinical psychologist, working with children/adults with problems etc. Can you tell me which degree course would be best - the straight psychology or the applied psychology? It's all a mind field to me! Many thanks, Jx
    It shouldn't matter as long as it's accredited which I believe the applied one is. The main thing is the work experience after graduating
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lord Asriel)
    Mods, please consider stickying this.

    Also I think I have messed up some of the links, sorry about that.
    might be a silly question, but I am currently working in a support worker post with adults with learning disabilities + downs syndrome but I'm not finding it very challenging so I'm looking for somewhere else to work, I've applied for a support work job working for the RNIB so it would be with blind people, is this still relevant? it sounds a lot more outcome focussed which is what I am looking for as I have spent a lot of time with people with disabilities + mental heath problems but not really in a way that focusses on outcomes, also would it look bad if I leave my post after 4/5 months? as I dont want the time I've spent there to count for nothing!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    There is usually a high turn over of support workers and HCAs, so its very common for people to leave after 6 months or so. Anything that expands your experience is usually a good thing.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by *Interrobang*)
    It shouldn't matter as long as it's accredited which I believe the applied one is. The main thing is the work experience after graduating
    This may sound altogether silly, since I'm only just gearing towards UCAS and want to be a clinical psychologist, what do you mean by accredited?
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: July 8, 2018

University open days

  1. University of Bradford
    University-wide Postgraduate
    Wed, 25 Jul '18
  2. University of Buckingham
    Psychology Taster Tutorial Undergraduate
    Wed, 25 Jul '18
  3. Bournemouth University
    Clearing Campus Visit Undergraduate
    Wed, 1 Aug '18
Poll
How are you feeling in the run-up to Results Day 2018?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.