The Student Room Group

Aspiring Clinical Psychologist

Hi everyone,
I'm going into my final year at the University of Reading. I've just completed a year long placement and I'm hoping to eventually become a clinical psychologist.

I know it's extremely competitive to get onto the doctorate so I'm trying to build up my experience and do everything in my power to make myself stand out. I'm just currently thinking about doing a masters or going straight into work after graduation- thinking about qualifying as a PWP to get some post grad experience.

It would really help to hear some suggestions/what your route into clinical psychology was.

Thanks in advance!
Worth checking this for most uptodate examples of trainee routes to getting onto a DClinPsy.

https://www.clinpsy.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=145&start=420

I would be careful about using other people's routes as a guide to your own. It is far more about how you are able to reflect on your experiences and your personal attributes, rather than ticking off specific boxes. For instance, I did a clinical PhD before I did my DClinPsy, but I would never recommend anyone else take that route unless they really want to spend 3+ years embedded in research. Similarly, there are many PWPs who get onto training, but there are equally as many that don't. It's far more about what you learned from the experience, your reflective ability and other attributes rather than what jobs you took.
Reply 2
Original post by Lord Asriel
Worth checking this for most uptodate examples of trainee routes to getting onto a DClinPsy.

https://www.clinpsy.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=145&start=420

I would be careful about using other people's routes as a guide to your own. It is far more about how you are able to reflect on your experiences and your personal attributes, rather than ticking off specific boxes. For instance, I did a clinical PhD before I did my DClinPsy, but I would never recommend anyone else take that route unless they really want to spend 3+ years embedded in research. Similarly, there are many PWPs who get onto training, but there are equally as many that don't. It's far more about what you learned from the experience, your reflective ability and other attributes rather than what jobs you took.

Thank you so much for your help!

Yeah I'm not intending to follow other people's routes exactly, just wanted some ideas on what I could do :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by zarx_20
Hi everyone,
I'm going into my final year at the University of Reading. I've just completed a year long placement and I'm hoping to eventually become a clinical psychologist.

I know it's extremely competitive to get onto the doctorate so I'm trying to build up my experience and do everything in my power to make myself stand out. I'm just currently thinking about doing a masters or going straight into work after graduation- thinking about qualifying as a PWP to get some post grad experience.

It would really help to hear some suggestions/what your route into clinical psychology was.

Thanks in advance!


Hey! I was also going for the DClinPsy (change of plan for now, though - I'll get to that), so I can share the route I took to gain experience.

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology & Counselling with the OU alongside working on and off as an English Teacher in China. I returned to the UK for good in 2017 and gained a job as a Support Worker for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. I also completed a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills at a local college (one evening per week) and gained a volunteer Research Assistant role at a local university (I literally emailed relevant departments and professors at multiple universities until I found someone who was willing to let me work on a project with them). I relocated to Manchester in 2019 to start an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice at MMU. I did this part-time alongside a job as a Support Worker on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. I later gained a job as a Complex Case Worker in a drug and alcohol service. I dropped out of the MSc after 60 credits, taking instead a Postgraduate Certificate in Skills in Psychological Therapies. I decided I wanted to continue with my counselling training instead, and did a level 4 diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (2 years part-time, including 100 hours of client work). During this time, I gained a role as an Assistant Psychologist within the same drug and alcohol organisation. I am leaving this role in 2 weeks after being in it for 1 year, as I have now decided to train as a High Intensity Therapist and step away from the DClinPsy route. I applied for the DClinPsy last year and got no interviews (which was unsurprising as I had only just started my AP role and had very little research experience). I started volunteering as a research assistant with the International Student Research Foundation earlier this year to gain more experience with this.

I've realised over the course of gaining this experience that my interests and values fit more closely with psychotherapy than psychology, which has led to my change of plan. However, I know the DClinPsy will still be an option for me in future if I want to go back to it.

One thing to be aware of is if you train as a PWP (or do any other HEE funded training) you won't be able to apply for the DClinPsy for 2 years once you qualify due to the new rules around funding. The same goes for me with the HIT training. The good news for you, though, is that acceptance rates for the DClinPsy have gone up from 15% to 25% in the past couple years due to an increase in the number of places available.

I hope this gives you an idea of possible relevant experience and things to consider ahead of applying for the DClinPsy. I would suggest it is a good idea to to an MSc or other postgarduate course, but to also look at how gaining work experience could fit around this. Looking back, I do wish I had completed the MSc, as this would have given me much more research experience, which was where I was lacking, I think. However, I did find other ways to build on this in my work and through volunteering.
Reply 4
Original post by Nerol
Hey! I was also going for the DClinPsy (change of plan for now, though - I'll get to that), so I can share the route I took to gain experience.

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology & Counselling with the OU alongside working on and off as an English Teacher in China. I returned to the UK for good in 2017 and gained a job as a Support Worker for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. I also completed a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills at a local college (one evening per week) and gained a volunteer Research Assistant role at a local university (I literally emailed relevant departments and professors at multiple universities until I found someone who was willing to let me work on a project with them). I relocated to Manchester in 2019 to start an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice at MMU. I did this part-time alongside a job as a Support Worker on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. I later gained a job as a Complex Case Worker in a drug and alcohol service. I dropped out of the MSc after 60 credits, taking instead a Postgraduate Certificate in Skills in Psychological Therapies. I decided I wanted to continue with my counselling training instead, and did a level 4 diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (2 years part-time, including 100 hours of client work). During this time, I gained a role as an Assistant Psychologist within the same drug and alcohol organisation. I am leaving this role in 2 weeks after being in it for 1 year, as I have now decided to train as a High Intensity Therapist and step away from the DClinPsy route. I applied for the DClinPsy last year and got no interviews (which was unsurprising as I had only just started my AP role and had very little research experience). I started volunteering as a research assistant with the International Student Research Foundation earlier this year to gain more experience with this.

I've realised over the course of gaining this experience that my interests and values fit more closely with psychotherapy than psychology, which has led to my change of plan. However, I know the DClinPsy will still be an option for me in future if I want to go back to it.

One thing to be aware of is if you train as a PWP (or do any other HEE funded training) you won't be able to apply for the DClinPsy for 2 years once you qualify due to the new rules around funding. The same goes for me with the HIT training. The good news for you, though, is that acceptance rates for the DClinPsy have gone up from 15% to 25% in the past couple years due to an increase in the number of places available.

I hope this gives you an idea of possible relevant experience and things to consider ahead of applying for the DClinPsy. I would suggest it is a good idea to to an MSc or other postgarduate course, but to also look at how gaining work experience could fit around this. Looking back, I do wish I had completed the MSc, as this would have given me much more research experience, which was where I was lacking, I think. However, I did find other ways to build on this in my work and through volunteering.


Wow this is so detailed- thank you it's given me plenty to think about! :smile:
Reply 5
What if I'm due to start pwp course but also getting offers from Dclinpsy, can i still get on the Dclinpsy course if I've started the pwp course but quit it 3 months in?
I believe the rules have changed around this, and there may be a 2 year rule, i.e. you cant get nhs funding for another course (dclinpsy) if you have recieved pwp funded trg within 2 years (link below). I would definitely review this to see if this is the case, as may prevent you doing the above.

https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/mental-health/psychological-professions/nhs-funding-psychological-professions-training-programmes

Greg

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