Planning for AP application

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Planning for AP application

Post by kezkel » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:16 pm

I start my psychology degree in September and I know it is early but im already trying to think of how to make my AP application stand out when the time comes. I work as a mental health support worker at the moment and start a team leader job in a children's home in a few months so i feel like i have the experience part covered.
I want to do a training course alongside my degree so that I have a relevant qualification. I have narrowed it down to a human givens diploma, a counselling diploma, a REBT qualification (it gets you on to the CBT register) and the 3 year MA in play therapy. They all fit nicely around uni and are about the same price. Im leaning towards the play therapy one as I know I would love my AP role to be in CAMHS and i think i would enjoy it the most.
What I would like to know is which course do people thing would look best on my AP application and then eventually my doctorate application? Or is there another course i should be looking at that would be more beneficial.?

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Re: Planning for AP application

Post by Geishawife » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:12 pm

I really do think you need to stop and draw breath!! Whilst I appreciate that you are keen and want to progress, you really are not going to do yourself any favours by rushing headlong into so many things!

For a start, I would strongly advise that you DO NOT do another training course and/or qualification alongside your degree! I'm assuming you ultimately want to be a CP and, if so, you are going to need the best class of degree possible (a high 2:1 or 1st is ideal). No matter how hard you work, I really do not think you are going to be able to devote enough time and energy to both your degree and any of the courses you have outlined to get the best possible results out of them. Especially if you are working as well!! None of the courses will look good on an AP application if you do not get a good grade in your degree and you will be quite limited where you can apply for the CP doctorate if you don't get that high 2:1 or better. So, at this stage, I strongly, strongly suggest you focus solely on your degree and do the best you can. The best applicants for AP posts (or any post!) do not necessarily have additional qualifications - they demonstrate that they have the skills and attributes needed for the job and show reflective ability and development. That comes with experience, so I really do think you are better off developing skills in your current role rather than doing another qualification.

Secondly, there are many routes into clinical training, not just AP posts. So don't be swayed by the idea that you MUST work as an AP. Several people have posted on this site making the point that many people in their training cohorts never worked as APs.

Thinking too far ahead will take your attention away from the here and now and could detract from the pleasure that comes with the journey. There is plenty of time to be planning and applying for different roles and different courses AFTER you have your degree. Slow down, enjoy the ride and make the most of the present and you will benefit from it. Try to do too much all at once and you will not be able to get the most out of things.

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Re: Planning for AP application

Post by lingua_franca » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:03 pm

I agree with everything Geishawife wrote. I have a tendency to get anxious about the future, which is usually accompanied by a frenzied effort to fill every space in my calendar with something useful, but this is an expression of my worries and definitely not a good career strategy. :P Right now it sounds as though you are doing something similar, and are focusing more on the qualifications you can rack up than the experience you can get. Working as a team leader and a support worker will give you valuable experience, and your studies will give you the knowledge you need to approach those roles in a psychological way - this really is enough to be going on with.

It often takes time to develop the skills to be a good psychologist. The things I learned from working with a patient with dementia who had very challenging behaviour could not have been taught to me on a Master's course. I learned them through sitting at her bedside and encouraging her to drink enough water through what seemed like interminable hours of 1:1 observations, over months. I would not have learned more or faster if I'd taken another job alongside that one; I would probably have just burnt out.

Finally, trying to cram in extra things may not only sabotage your grade, but your understanding of psychology and what the clinical psychologist does. An AP in CAMHS is extremely unlikely to deliver play therapy, for example, and a psychologist who saw that you had qualified in that might wonder why you'd pursued something that has a weak evidence base and isn't all that connected with the CP role. Human givens is even sketchier. If you went and studied CBT the question might be, "Why don't you just practise as a CBT therapist?" It's not the case that acquiring as many mental-health-related certificates as possible will help you - it could even get in the way of your goal.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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Re: Planning for AP application

Post by firegal » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:51 pm

Absolutely echoing what has been said above.

Do you know what I did at uni?
Ju Jitsu
Circus skills
Pub crawls with the RockSoc
Learned to crochet
Played many board games
Had fun

I worked as a support worker full time during all of the holidays, but apart from that in term time I enjoyed normal student life, I studied hard, and I played a lot to make up for it.
I still got an AP job, I still got a place on the DClinPsy.
You need all the other stuff there in order to balance it out. Uni is hard enough without exhausting yourself unnecessarily, and I genuinely still believe that being able to slip "fire spinning" into job applications makes me a more interesting applicant ;)

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Re: Planning for AP application

Post by Geishawife » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:22 am

firegal wrote:and I genuinely still believe that being able to slip "fire spinning" into job applications makes me a more interesting applicant
I would absolutely agree with this!!!!

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