Aiming to get onto PWP training next year

This section is for discussion relating to the Layard report, and subsequent schemes like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies where lower intensity inteventions are offered in primary care
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Aiming to get onto PWP training next year

Post by Purplebear » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:23 am

After a lot of thought I've decided to aim for getting onto PWP training next year with the overall aim of pursuing a career as a PWP instead of as a clinical psychologist, at least for the foreseeable future. A large part of me is terrified that getting into clinical psychology is like trying to scale a tower made of ultra-smooth marble. I can't really make head or tail of how people get onto it. I know two people who got onto the doctorate at approx my age (23), and one person still struggling to get onto it with at least a decade of experience. I like that there seems to be good stability and career progression prospects in IAPT, which would create a sense of both challenge and fulfillment. For people who are currently trainee PWPs/qualified PWPs, do you get a feeling of being challenged from the job as well as a feeling of really helping people?

I was also wondering what tips people have for getting onto PWP trainee programmes. What kind of experience have people collected that they felt helped them get onto the role? This is the experience I've got so far:
  • 2.1 Undergraduate degree in Psychology (actual degree was Natural Sciences, but the course still gives graduate eligibility for the BPS).
    2.1 Masters degree in History and Philosophy of Science (mainly doing history of psychiatry & psychology/philosophy of psychology).
    Mental Health First Aid certificate from Mind.
    11 months full-time paid experience working on an acute inpatient ward as a healthcare assistant.
    2 and 1/2 months full-time paid experience working as a recovery worker on a specialist personality disorders unit (it's a bit like an STR worker role, but on a unit that uses DBT for women who have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder). Will most likely stay in this role for the next year.
    9 months experience volunteering for a student night-line (the night shifts were only every couple of weeks).
    7 months, 1 day a week (not every week) experience as a voluntary assistant psychologist.
    3 lots of research experience (in psychology/neuroscience, but not relevant to PWP role).
    Occasional bank HCA shifts on other types of psychiatric wards (e.g. eating disorders, old people's acute, dementia, CAMHS unit).
I'm reading as much as I can too: papers, IAPT reports, a textbook on LICBT, other books on CBT, basically anything that will build up a stronger knowledge base. I've used CBT techniques with myself in the past as well, so that's another thing.

Is this amount of experience likely to be enough to get onto a PWP trainee role? I've worked with a variety people who have major depression on the acute unit, usually with a psychotic element to it. I've also worked with people who have anxiety disorders, on both units. And my current job essentially involves running group sessions, helping the patients to achieve goals, to plan their recovery etc. But I've not really worked with the kinds of clients you'd typically see as a LI PWP (mild/moderate). Is that likely to be OK for getting onto a trainee PWP role?

I'm pretty much at a loss as to where I can get further experience at the moment that would fit in comfortably with my work rota. I thought about volunteering with the Samaritans - I'd love to do it, but the randomness of my work rota is pretty prohibitive, as I do rotational shifts, and the rota is literally unpredictable week on week. It makes it practically impossible to do anything outside of work that requires regular commitment. :cry: Any ideas of what else I can do?

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Re: Aiming to get onto PWP training next year

Post by Jaysam » Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:32 pm

Hi purplebear

I am just coming to the end of my training so can only really speak about my experience sofar. Firstly, you definately have the right experience to get onto the course. I know people that have less and have gotten on. Just sell yourself as much as you can in the application process. You will then be interviewed by the service..just be yourself and again...sell..sell..sell! I would say the role is challenging me currently;the training only really gives you the basics, the reality is, people are usually more complex. I enjoy the role, it is rewarding but I can see why people deflate very quickly with the's a lot of work, high caseloads, complexity etc. Hope that has helped a little

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Re: Aiming to get onto PWP training next year

Post by graduateak » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:20 pm

Hi purplebear,

Sounds like you have great experience, so I'd say go for it. I really enjoyed my training and training year. I ended up leaving after my training year, but mainly because a really exciting opportunity to do a funded PhD came up.

The people on my course had really varied experience so I wouldn't worry too much about what others got on with.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ― Albert Einstein.

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