Choosing between Assistant Psyc. and IAPT PWP Job Offers

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Figment
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Choosing between Assistant Psyc. and IAPT PWP Job Offers

Post by Figment » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I have just found myself in the great position of having had two interviews in the past fortnight. One for Assistant Psychologist (AP) and one for a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) in IAPT. I was offered the AP post, which I was over the moon with and accepted last week. However, sods law and 'all busses coming at once', I then got an invite for the PWP role to be interviewed this week later. I recieved a phone call this afternoon offering me this position as PWP as well. I have asked for 24hours to think about it.

So, I wondered if anyone could help me make up my currently jumbled mind. Here the blurb about the jobs so you can become confused too:

Assistant Psyc:

The AP (band 4) post is working for an Adult Clinical Psyc Service in NW London in 2 sites, one in an inpatient clinical setting undertaking groups and assessment/treatment plans. The other site is assisting with stats and audit in a local IAPT service. It is 1-year fixed term assisting a Consultant Clinical Psyc (who I have googled and has written book and journal articles, and is a lecturer)


PWP:

The PWP (bad 4) is working for my local IAPT service. Large team, over 20 PWP's of various stages. Psychologists and team leaders. Supervision provided by Clinical Psyc and management supervision. The post offers the PGCert in Evidence based practice at Reading Uni starting in a few months. Approx 1day at uni, 1day in community, 3days on phone.


I am continuing to persue the DClin, and am applying this year. I have a mixed bag of experience with mental health paralegal work, eating disorders, personality disorder, primary care. All GMHW, HCA, Student Assistant Psyc posts.

Can anyone advise me on which step would be best for me and for future DClin apps (im being realistic). I obvioulsy am drawn to the Assistant Psyc post, as it would be my first, but being 1-year fixed term in a recession I am a bit drawn to the more secure IAPT (which is also more local!)

PLEASE HELP!

(many, many thanks in advance!)
Everything you can imagine is real - Pablo Picasso

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Tiggerman
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Post by Tiggerman » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:00 pm

Well done on been offered both posts! If I were you I would be inclined to take the AP. It sounds like great experience - both therapetic and research. I think it would really help you secure future AP positions, so after the year is up you would still be in a good position to secure similar jobs AND you might be lucky enough to get on a course by then :)
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BlueCat
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Post by BlueCat » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:18 pm

AP. Although the PWP provides the PGCert and a career path all its own, you would not be doing any clinial work as such ifit is all on the phone.
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w013
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Post by w013 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:42 pm

Definately the AP - your boss will be a more credible referee than you are likely to get as a PWP. I assume you had a sense of them as a person and feel you could work with them? If not then the following does not apply to the same degree as the relationship you have does make an important difference to your experience.

You will have direct experience of what clinical psychology is and how it works. Your boss sounds research savvy which will also help you and they are likely to be able to give you much more informed careers advice and point you to development opportunities that you would be less likely to get as a PWP. If you train as a PWP there is an expectation that you will stay and work there for some time after training within IAPT

PWP does offer more secure employment and i can see that would be attractive.

However, if the intention is to train as a clinical psychologist the AP post is a more reliable form of experience.

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Figment
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Post by Figment » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:16 pm

Thank you all. It seems you all are on the similar wavelength.......it's just a bit of a 'fork in the road'.

I think I will ask my supervisor tomorrow who will also probably say AP. I am just naturally concerned that AP's are on the way out as there are so few job adverts at the mo.

Thank again, any other help much appreciated.
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Post by moonbeam » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:38 pm

I would be more inclined to go for the AP job, as people mentioned earlier - clinical experience and in terms of research..

I would say that they are becoming less frequent due to government funding etc, so I would grab the opportunity with both hands.... and you may be in a better position when applying for the DClinPsy... and if not successful a great candidate for further AP jobs... :D

Let us know what you decide!

Well done on the job offers too :D
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Post by Ruthie » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:46 pm

BlueCat wrote:AP. Although the PWP provides the PGCert and a career path all its own, you would not be doing any clinial work as such ifit is all on the phone.
Actually there's one day a week in the community which would be face to face contacts and PWPs do clinical work both in person and on the phone.

That said, I think the AP would give you a much better grounding to apply for the DClin in the future in terms of the variety of work and more importantly, the supervision from a CP. So in terms of career progression and getting on the DClin, it is the better option imho. In terms of location and job security - that's your judgement call as to whether you want to take the risk.

But do bear in mind that you are likely to find it less difficult to get AP posts once you've had one and that APs do tend to move on after a year or so because they get on the course, posts open, people move around to get more experience - so the chances of other jobs coming up in the future are high.

Good luck with your decision and fingers crossed for this year's application.

Ruthie

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miriam
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Post by miriam » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:01 am

The permanence of the PWP post is only attractive if you don't envisage yourself getting onto clinical training within the next couple of years....

And the AP post will let you talk about IAPT too :D
Miriam

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Post by jamesivens » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:18 pm

For a balanced view....

I know that the PWP role in IAPT services can differ to some extent e.g. some are more phone based than face:face. However, there are lots of benefits to being a pwp.

From my experience of being a pwp;
- gained over 250hours clinical experience in 1.5 years (our service is about 70:30 split between face:face and telephone - and telephone experience is still clinical experience, you are still helping a patient, and also means you have to be very clear and concise)
- weekly supervision with a clinical psychology/clinical counselling psychologist (Bi-weekly when training)
- you get paid to go to do a training course (for some reason, ours was a PG diploma as opposed to the cert, but still, its an extra qualification)
- you work alongside cbt therapists, counsellors, clinical psychologists, employment workers.
- working in primary care you get experience with a whole range of patients e.g. people with physical health problems, sleep, anger...
- been able to get experience with particular groups e.g. older adults
- experience of managing a high case load (we have a caseload of around 60 in order to meet targets)
- you learn key competencies which are key in all therapies e.g. socratic questioning, using a person-centred approach etc
- you communicate with GPs, secondary care, third sector organisations...
- occasionally you get experience of patients with severe/complex problems e.g. physical/sexual abuse, alcohol/drug problems etc which you assess to then refer to more suitable people e.g. psychotherapy/addictions

i'm sure theres more but thats just a flavour. If that experience doesn't help get onto a clinical course, then I'm not sure what does. Personally, I'm not applying for the dclin course yet, but some my fellow pwp's got on the course last year, and i dont doubt that some more will get on this year.

The AP sounds great as well though! The big plus would be that it has research with it, which you dont get as a PWP.

Lucky you to have two posts offered!

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mungle
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Post by mungle » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:17 pm

With the AP job you'll get both clinical experience and research and experience of two different settings. The obvious benefits to the AP job is getting supervision from a CP and having been an assistant already next time you apply.

In IAPT you do get a lot of clinical experience which helps you hone your skills but there might be more variety of clinical work in the AP setting. If you were worried about missing the training available in IAPT by taking the AP job then perhaps you could get a short CBT course through work and another option would be to do an evening counselling certificate or similar.

In an AP job there might be lots of other things: developing your reflective thinking through interacting and being around psychologists, teaching skills, individual and group, attending MDT meetings in the inpatient settings, developing you reflection about different ways of working by having the contrast of the IAPT and inpatient setting, having your career aspiration of dclinpsy appreaciated/encouraged/developed.

My advice - take the risk and grab the AP job! You have experience of other client goups, would probably be looking for another AP post in summer 2012 and AP jobs are more plentiful in summer and you'll be able to put 1yr as an AP on your applications......these should make it easier to get another AP job (or a PWP post that point or RA etc.)
Last edited by mungle on Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueCat
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Post by BlueCat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:22 pm

Somthing that is important to remember and is often forgotten.....clinical psychology is about more than clinical contact and research. You will get exposed to so much more about clinical psychology in the AP role that in the PWP role.

It isn't that PWP roles are poor experience, but on the whole, AP roles provide broader, more appropriate experience than PWP roles (although there are some stinkers of AP roles out there, but yours doesn't sound like its on of the bad ones).

On balance, with both in the bag, and with your desire to pursue CP, the AP role would better suit your development needs at the moment, in my opinion.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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Figment
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Post by Figment » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:55 pm

Hi all,

Thank you for your help and advice. I felt like I had to take quite a bit of advice as it turned out to be quite a stressfull decision to make. Almost all of the clinical psychologists I asked expressed that both roles would be suitiable experience for doctorate training and that given my position they would have difficulty chosing.

They expressed that the PWP experience and certificate would be useful in terms of being very CBT heavy and grounding me firmly in that orientation but that it may restrict me in more holistic thinking. They expressed that perhaps the IAPT training is now a realistic and secure route onto training as it gives an alternative career.

However, as thought on here, the AP role still shone through as a more rare oppertunity and as one where I should learn more about applied Clin Psyc over that year than on the PWP course (possibly).

I took a chance and have declined the PWP - so will be starting the AP post in 3-weeks. At least it gives me confidence to know that I would have been suitable for IAPT (if only at band 4 due to the certificate requirement) if I get stuck in a years time, but lets hope not.

Thanks again.

Figment
Everything you can imagine is real - Pablo Picasso

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Figment
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Post by Figment » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:04 pm

In IAPT you do get a lot of clinical experience which helps you hone your skills but there might be more variety of clinical work in the AP setting. If you were worried about missing the training available in IAPT by taking the AP job then perhaps you could get a short CBT course through work and another option would be to do an evening counselling certificate or similar.


This was also a swaying point. I have recently completed the 8-day Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre: Introducation to CBT certificate which, to me, is in part similar to the PGCert but not genearally seen this way by IAPT. Also the BRIEF Solution focused course and other similar primary care and skills trainings as I currently work in forensic primary care that didn't offer the Uni course but paid for other relevant training. I wouln't think it wise to do something so similar just to get the certificate.

Thanks Mungle.
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Cattius
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Post by Cattius » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:36 pm

I think you made the right choice Figment.

Not only will you (probably) get much more relevant experience for ClinPsy, but AP jobs are generally much harder to come by, and once in a PWP role, you are kind of pinned there for 2-3 years.

Good luck!!
Cattius.

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Re: Choosing between Assistant Psyc. and IAPT PWP Job Offers

Post by Ellen1989 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 2:45 pm

Hi Figment,

Is it possible to get some advice from you concerning this ASAP. I too today have found out that I have got on to the IAPT training programme in Southampton, but have also been offered the job of an assistant psychologist most for Cambian Group, working in Matlock, Derbyshire with women with learning disabilities and complex mental health needs.

Did you decide to go with the assistant psychologist post. If so, are you pleased with the decision, having worked in the post? I want to do clinical psychology, but feel the PWP is a safer option which could still help me get on to clinical training. Whereas with the AP I will be working under a clinical psychologist and they would be the reference for clinical psychology training applications. But I do not get any sort of qualification out of it, and in a year's time, I could be in the same predicament as I am now, as it still may not be enough to get me on clinical psychology training.

Please help if you can, I have only until tomorrow to decide! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Ellen

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