Psychology Conversion, D. Clin Psych, and work experience

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ClassicsEd
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Hi Guys,

I am at an early mid-life crisis, I guess, and I want to do something worthwhile and something that I believe in. This is the the type of work that results from the D. in Clinical Psychology. I'm looking for specific feedback from people who know this area and what's required.

Let me say first that I need to do the psychology conversion course but that I'm only interested in doing it if I can get on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Now let me say a little about myself to explain the context of my concerns. I have a PhD in Philosophy, which I achieved aged 26 four years ago. I did 2 one year post-docs before suddenly finding that I could earn more and have job stability in the financial services, where I've worked for two years. Working in finance was interesting for the first year but has quickly become the most unrewarding and soul-selling thing I could possibly do. It does, however, enable me to support my family with a good income and has that stability academic life in philosophy could not offer.

My turn to Clinical Psychology now is based on the fact that I know it would prove rewarding for me. My PhD in Philosophy was actually on the concept of suffering, and my research has been published in clinical psychology journals. I am au fait with the discipline and know what the job involves.

However, my major problem in doing the psychology conversion course is that I know it won't in itself get me a job outside of financial services that I would enjoy. And more importantly, is that on its own I am doubtful it would get me on a D. Clin Psych course.

I know that work experience is required for course, but because I am the bread winner for my family I don't think its possible for me to give up my job. Even funding for the D. Clin Psych comes at a salary drop, but that I can do.

Is there any way that my research for my PhD could get me on the course in itself? And if not, is there any thing I could do while keeping my current employment that would get me on the course?
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bodhi1984
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giella
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(Original post by ClassicsEd)
Hi Guys,

I am at an early mid-life crisis, I guess, and I want to do something worthwhile and something that I believe in. This is the the type of work that results from the D. in Clinical Psychology. I'm looking for specific feedback from people who know this area and what's required.

Let me say first that I need to do the psychology conversion course but that I'm only interested in doing it if I can get on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Now let me say a little about myself to explain the context of my concerns. I have a PhD in Philosophy, which I achieved aged 26 four years ago. I did 2 one year post-docs before suddenly finding that I could earn more and have job stability in the financial services, where I've worked for two years. Working in finance was interesting for the first year but has quickly become the most unrewarding and soul-selling thing I could possibly do. It does, however, enable me to support my family with a good income and has that stability academic life in philosophy could not offer.

My turn to Clinical Psychology now is based on the fact that I know it would prove rewarding for me. My PhD in Philosophy was actually on the concept of suffering, and my research has been published in clinical psychology journals. I am au fait with the discipline and know what the job involves.

However, my major problem in doing the psychology conversion course is that I know it won't in itself get me a job outside of financial services that I would enjoy. And more importantly, is that on its own I am doubtful it would get me on a D. Clin Psych course.

I know that work experience is required for course, but because I am the bread winner for my family I don't think its possible for me to give up my job. Even funding for the D. Clin Psych comes at a salary drop, but that I can do.

Is there any way that my research for my PhD could get me on the course in itself? And if not, is there any thing I could do while keeping my current employment that would get me on the course?
Entry to the clinical doctorate requires a minimum 12 months WTE clinical experience, preferably NHS. You would ideally get experience with more than one client group. You would have defined clinical responsibilities.

A doctorate in philosophy does not prepare you for a clinical role. If you want this, you’ll have to take risks. You cannot leverage clinically irrelevant experience just because you’re well paid for it. Doesn’t work that way. You need to demonstrate clinical skills, insight, empathy, understanding of the MDT and how this impacts on clinical work etc. Have you ever even met anyone who’s had a stroke, a brain injury or a degenerative psychiatric or neurological condition? Do you know how this impacts on their functioning? Their ability to communicate? Their social integration? You know what it’s like to give therapy to someone who’s swearing at you and being racist and aggressive? You know what it’s like to set SMART targets for someone, how these are broken down? You know what the MCA is and it’s relevance to work with people with mental health issues and neurological conditions?

You are not in a position to begin a clinical doctorate on the basis of work in financial services and an academic doctorate. You have not shown that you have the stamina or motivation to last the three years of clinical training or merit the salary that it attaches. At the moment, you are in a position of having seen a career that sounds interesting, have noted that it is well remunerated, and want to do it at 0 risk to yourself.

You need experience. If you can’t afford to get it, then you need to make peace with your current career path, or find one that you are happier with. People sacrifice years of their lives to work low paid jobs to gain sufficient experience to get onto the CP doctorate and some of them never do. Those are the people you are competing against and they’ve got a significant edge on you.
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giella
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As I said, this experience needs to be WTE. You could get this experience part time. But that means it will take longer.
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ClassicsEd
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(Original post by giella)
As I said, this experience needs to be WTE. You could get this experience part time. But that means it will take longer.
Thank you so much for what you've said giella, you have no idea how helpful it is. Can I ask you a further 2 questions?

First, is just your own background and where this excellent knowledge has come from?

Second, how, if I'm going to start now working toward getting the experience what you would recommend? I haven't started the conversion course, and if I did that course is there any form of employment that would see me with 30,000 euros p.a (I am based in Dublin) - I highly doubt it but it's worth asking. So what kind of work can I do (volunteer or paid) while doing the conversion course, and then afterwards when I have that degree?
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giella
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I’m a Speech and language therapist and I work alongside CPs in my setting.

I’ll be honest, even I’m not on £30k. In time I will be but not yet. The types of roles you’d be looking at cap out at about £18k or euro equivalent. You want to look at support work, therapy assistant, etc. If you’re volunteering, it will need to have clinical supervision from a clinical professional or it won’t be counted.

What I would say to anyone looking at CP is to think clearly and honestly about why you’re wanting to do it. If it’s genuinely about doing something meaningful and making a difference in people’s lives, there are other clinical roles you could go for that are much less competitive to get into. SLT, OT, MHN...If it’s about the money and the prestige...well, I’d tell you it’s probably easier to get into medicine than it is to get into CP and if you think medicine is too hard then you have to realise that CP isn’t really much easier.

I did SLT on the basis of having language teaching experience and I sacrificed a lot of family time and earning potential to do it. I worked every hour God sent to make the ends meet and to do as well as I could and I had to sacrifice some academic achievement as well. I did this after giving up on psychology as I realised there were no guarantees with that. I could plug away at psychology and work low paid jobs in the hope of getting somewhere or I could get on with my life and work definitively toward a clinical career instead where I would be doing quite similar work. I compromised, but now I’m in a position where if I wanted to do CP I would have no problem meeting the experience criteria and I would still be able to progress in my own career if I chose. That’s what I generally advise to people who are in your position. Ask yourself what you would do if you couldn’t do CP and do that first.
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username4979592
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Wow - ok ... classics guy - go for it
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