Ilovefries
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#1
I am in my last year of undergraduate and I’ve been thinking about doing masters and then a doctorate maybe. I am aware how competitive it is and I know that volunteering would be useful here. I’ve been volunteering with Shout as a crisis counsellor for over a year now and I’m not sure whether this would be enough if I wanted to do a doctorate or would I have to do something like assistant psychologist?
0
reply
0le
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 months ago
#2
I've done a PhD in a stem field and what helps at the beginning is already having some knowledge of the field/topic, although this is not a necessity. In that regard, it really depends if the volunteering experience is providing you with theoretical knowledge that would be useful when carrying out the PhD. However, there will be lots of soft skills that you gain from the role which will be very useful for the PhD, such as communicating complex topics to different audiences.

Regardless of whether the volunteering provides some knowledge that you would find useful or not for a PhD, it is still something fantastic to put on your CV and will definitely help you at finding jobs later in your life.
1
reply
tinygirl96
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 months ago
#3
Hello

This is a really good opportunity honestly. You can use the skills gained as a result for starters. And you can also mention them on your personal statement as well. For example you can discuss key skills like teamwork or oral communication on your statement. Explain why they matter in addition and how.
Also give a short brief explanation of theoretical knowledge. Talk about what you learned and whether you actually enjoyed it. Outline a typical day and state what tasks you have had to do.
One more excellent example of a so called soft skill is numeracy skills. Your chances will be higher later on trust me on this. In other words by omitting it you are destroying your chances for no reason either. Do not do that. Add it.
2
reply
Ilovefries
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#4
(Original post by tinygirl96)
Hello

This is a really good opportunity honestly. You can use the skills gained as a result for starters. And you can also mention them on your personal statement as well. For example you can discuss key skills like teamwork or oral communication on your statement. Explain why they matter in addition and how.
Also give a short brief explanation of theoretical knowledge. Talk about what you learned and whether you actually enjoyed it. Outline a typical day and state what tasks you have had to do.
One more excellent example of a so called soft skill is numeracy skills. Your chances will be higher later on trust me on this. In other words by omitting it you are destroying your chances for no reason either. Do not do that. Add it.
(Original post by 0le)
I've done a PhD in a stem field and what helps at the beginning is already having some knowledge of the field/topic, although this is not a necessity. In that regard, it really depends if the volunteering experience is providing you with theoretical knowledge that would be useful when carrying out the PhD. However, there will be lots of soft skills that you gain from the role which will be very useful for the PhD, such as communicating complex topics to different audiences.

Regardless of whether the volunteering provides some knowledge that you would find useful or not for a PhD, it is still something fantastic to put on your CV and will definitely help you at finding jobs later in your life.
Thank you! It's such a relief as I've been trying to find assistant psychologist opportunities (or any other opportunities related to psychology) but had no luck and I really enjoy volunteering with Shout. It's good to know that this will be beneficial!
0
reply
Interrobang
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#5
Report 4 months ago
#5
(Original post by Ilovefries)
Thank you! It's such a relief as I've been trying to find assistant psychologist opportunities (or any other opportunities related to psychology) but had no luck and I really enjoy volunteering with Shout. It's good to know that this will be beneficial!
Do you mean for the doctorate in clinical psychology? You need to have fulltime, paid work to be able to apply, but volunteering could help you get one of those roles
0
reply
Ilovefries
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#6
Yes that’s what I meant. This really sucks then. It seems impossible to even find volunteering opportunities so I can’t imagine finding something that will be paid! Even if I finish my degree, assistant psychologist opportunities would expect me to have some experience as this is what I’ve seen in job adverts so far ;(
0
reply
Interrobang
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#7
Report 4 months ago
#7
(Original post by Ilovefries)
Yes that’s what I meant. This really sucks then. It seems impossible to even find volunteering opportunities so I can’t imagine finding something that will be paid! Even if I finish my degree, assistant psychologist opportunities would expect me to have some experience as this is what I’ve seen in job adverts so far ;(
Then you may need to go for some sort of support worker role for example first. I'm afraid the road to become a clinical psychologist isn't easy and it is long and very competitive. A number of people also have masters who apply
0
reply
Lord Asriel
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 months ago
#8
The majority (if not all) courses will require paid employment in relevant positions as a minimum criteria.

You need to think about the pool of applicants and how you compare. A common pathway for a lot of people is volunteering for a helpline->Low level paid work in a service ->Using this experience to get a more relevant job-> Assistant Psych/IAPT/Research Assistant post(s)->Applying for DClin. Some people may take a different route and do a really clinically focussed psychology Ph.D, or train in another allied profession and then laterally switch (as they will have the clinical experience, NHS exposure etc). Many will have MScs, publications and awards and the average age of succesful trainees is movinig towards people in their late 20s.

If you compare those applicants with someone who has only volunteered for a helpline, how do you think that will compare? The good thing is that people are clearly getting paid work, otherwise this system wouldn't exist. In your position, the trick is to think about your next step not your end goal.
0
reply
marinade
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#9
Report 4 months ago
#9
(Original post by Ilovefries)
I am in my last year of undergraduate and I’ve been thinking about doing masters and then a doctorate maybe. I am aware how competitive it is and I know that volunteering would be useful here. I’ve been volunteering with Shout as a crisis counsellor for over a year now and I’m not sure whether this would be enough if I wanted to do a doctorate or would I have to do something like assistant psychologist?
In 2020 someone graduating in Psychology would normally have 5-7 things on their CV. These could be paid/voluntary in a range of things vaguely related to clinical psychology. It depends what else is on your CV. That's for getting roles before assistant psychologist.

Your next step is to do roles that'll get you to Assistant Psychologist or whatever other route you wish to go for before trying for the clinical doctorate.

As a general point, it's very common to read applications and CVs/be in interviews with graduates with lighter CVs who do telephone based volunteering or mentoring in schools and they think it's the bees knees and can somehow magically convey the point to the people reading it. When applying for jobs/volunteering it's good to spend a little time trying to make what you did and learnt from it very clear to the people you're talking to. This sets you apart from many other people.
0
reply
marinade
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#10
Report 4 months ago
#10
(Original post by Ilovefries)
Yes that’s what I meant. This really sucks then. It seems impossible to even find volunteering opportunities so I can’t imagine finding something that will be paid! Even if I finish my degree, assistant psychologist opportunities would expect me to have some experience as this is what I’ve seen in job adverts so far ;(
This is not true (impossible to find volunteering opportunities).

Voluntary experience is often in the non-profit sector. Every city is different. They are often small and medium sized organisations that aren't elsewhere. What you do is research the area you live in and find them out. There are loads of them.

The difficulty is covid.
0
reply
username5494674
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 months ago
#11
(Original post by Ilovefries)
I am in my last year of undergraduate and I’ve been thinking about doing masters and then a doctorate maybe. I am aware how competitive it is and I know that volunteering would be useful here. I’ve been volunteering with Shout as a crisis counsellor for over a year now and I’m not sure whether this would be enough if I wanted to do a doctorate or would I have to do something like assistant psychologist?
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 towards becoming a clinical psychologist. An AP post, PWP role of academic research roles are essential in becoming a clinical psychologist.
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. Being a crisis counsellor is certainly good experience prior to graduating and will teach you some key skills in working with this client group. However, it is insufficient experience to even get an AP job - let alone get onto the clinical doctorate.

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.
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

What factors affect your mental health the most right now?

Anxiousness about lockdown easing (59)
4.6%
Uncertainty around my education (197)
15.35%
Uncertainty around my future career prospects (142)
11.07%
Lack of purpose or motivation (182)
14.19%
Lack of support system (eg. teachers, counsellors, delays in care) (57)
4.44%
Impact of lockdown on physical health (72)
5.61%
Loneliness (113)
8.81%
Financial worries (45)
3.51%
Concern about myself or my loves ones getting/having been ill (58)
4.52%
Exposure to negative news/social media (59)
4.6%
Lack of real life entertainment (68)
5.3%
Lack of confidence in making big life decisions (113)
8.81%
Worry about missed opportunities during the pandemic (118)
9.2%

Watched Threads

View All