How do I become an assistant psychologist?

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Yazziii
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#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hi,

It’s known that becoming an assistant psychologist is the best experience you can get so how do I become one? One of my friends said to personally email psychologists so I’ll do that but is there any other way I can?

Thank you so much in advance x
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username5494674
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#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
Hi.Sorry if this is late but I will try my best to answer your question. I am currently an AP so will discuss the route.Firstly, it is useless emailing any clinical psychologist. They are far too busy with their own work and patients - they will ignore your email.The way to getting an AP post is a combination of good degree and relevant experience. It it essential to have a 2:1 as a minimum. It helps to have attended a Russell group university however this is not necessary. A lot of the AP's I work with all have masters degrees - I do not therefore shows it is not essential - but the fact that 4/5 of my colleagues do shows that it certainly helps.The experience you need really depends on the service you will be working in. AP jobs are not the same and can differ highly dependent on where you work. I personally work in a forensic hospital so I do a lot of work surrounding mental health, substance misuse and offending behaviour. Other roles could focus highly on neurorehabilitation, CAMHS, gender, older adults etc. It is really important that you apply to a service that genuinely captures your interest - there is no point in becoming an AP if you are working in a service you dislike. As for experience, the key is patience and perseverance. The downside is you have to work low-paid jobs - essentially starting from the bottom of the ladder. It is important to get experience as a support worker or healthcare assistant specifically for mental disorders. This can involve working in hospitals, prisons or in the community. However - this is insufficient in getting an AP job. What most psychologists are looking for is people who have experience of handling their own caseload of patients and to develop well-being. For example, I had a band 4 job working in a substance misuse team within a prison. Although this was not directly linked to mental disorders - it was highly relevant as the crossover between addiction and mental disorders/trauma is huge. So try and think outside the box - as well as having experience working with individuals with mental disorders, you also need experience working to manage a caseload of patients and carrying out interventions with them. Remember as well - they are looking for people who love psychology - not simply want to be psychologists. Be up-to-date on relevant studies and literature, understand the current climate of the mental health industry to show you are genuinely interested. As for personal traits - compassion, communication, self-awareness and ability to get on with others is essential. They will be able to assess these traits from an interview alone.What clinical psychologists really look for is people who have the skills that they can develop into being a psychologist. Remember this is a developmental role and nobody is looking for a finished article. Stating that you are proficient in CBT, counselling, DBT etc is a major red flag as psychologists are aware most people do not have this kind of experience prior to an AP job. What they are looking for is people that have experience is displaying the skills required for being proficient in assessments, formulations and therapies. This means being an active listener, being able to develop good therapeutic rapport, being analytical and an excellent sense of writing ability - this will be judged from your application.Its a tricky process but be patient, enjoy the journey and keep focused on what you want to achieve. A lot of people get disheartened as they expect a job too quickly. The reality is this is a highly competitive field and nobody gets in with a bit of voluntary experience after they've just graduated. The average age of starting an AP post I'd say is between 24-25. The pay isn't great but you are being exploited for your ambition. If you want to pursue clinical psychology my advice is ensure that you are willing to engage for the long run. People will tempt you with jobs outside of psychology due to better money, simpler working hours etc but I assure you if this is what you want to do it is worth it. Good luck.
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marinade
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#3
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#3
One of the mistakes I saw a lot of people make was there was a belief you had to have 'NHS' experience to get on the doctorate, so I've met a lot of people when chasing AP roles just go for NHS roles. The non-NHS roles are generally less competitive. You have conversations with people and they'll say I don't want to work outside my city, I don't drive, it's a train/bus ride etc.

E-mailing Psychologists in the hope of becoming an 'honourary' Assistant Psychologist is not a good strategy. You may just get strung along.
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Lord Asriel
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#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by y7rsx)
Firstly, it is useless emailing any clinical psychologist. They are far too busy with their own work and patients - they will ignore your email.
A bit unfair.

I, and a lot of my fellow CPs, do take time to email prospective grads back and contribute to forums like this and do outreach to schools and other meetings. That said the vast majority of people we can't really do much with or provide opportunities, as I have written elsewhere on this forum for various reasons.
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