Struggling with Professional Development

Your chance to ask for advice on any aspect of career development that doesn't fit in any of the above categories
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:03 pm

Struggling with Professional Development

Post by Cogan91 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:23 pm

Hi Guys,

I hope all is well and everyone is enjoying the new year.

I recently began working as a Keyworker last May for a charity, supporting adults with a diagnosis of ASD - Non ID. Prior to this I completed a BA in Applied Psychology, followed by an M.A. in Applied Psychology.

Due to a number of factors such as student debts etc. I took a role as an analyst with a MultiNational Company for a total of three years, before deciding to take the plunge back into the area of Psychology with a view to applying for Clinical PhD's over the coming years.

My current role involves providing long term client led support and intervention for school leavers, such as supporting the transition to third level education, anxiety management and self help, among other supports of their choosing. However as with many charities there can at times be a lack of resources that can assist with professional development. As I am not employed as an AP my supervision does not focus much on the psychological aspects of intervention and so I find I am struggling to develop my work and reflection in this area.

Would it be worth my while seeking an outside CP to provide supervision to me, or would this be overstepping my bounds in my current role? Should I look to change into an AP role or am I being too hasty to change roles, after all it is my first experience of working in this area and perhaps I am expecting to develop too quickly.

Any advice or resources would be much appreciated.

Feel free to ask any questions as I know this is a very scattered overview of the last five years. There is probably much information I have omitted.

Kind Regards.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 7786
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks

Re: Struggling with Professional Development

Post by miriam » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:09 pm

First, have a think about whether you want to do a PhD in psychology (an academic qualification) or a clinical doctorate (an applied qualification that lets you practise as a CP, usually D.Clin.Psy/Clin.Psy.D) because these would have very different pathways.

CPs don't generally offer supervision for people working outside of their line management, as they would not know the culture, or be able to influence what roles you take on, and it wouldn't be appropriate for you to work outside of the remit of your post to do anything psychological. The other option is to volunteer for a CP, or in a CP service, part-time around this job. That way you won't be paying for the supervision, but you'll be getting more experience.

However, if you are trying to get experience to get a place on a clinical doctorate, it would do you no harm to start applying for AP posts or other graduate posts that are supervised by or directly in contact with CPs, particularly outside the NHS, as you have been in post for 8 months and that means it will likely be a year or so before you actually change to a new post, what with applications, slow appointment processes and DBS checks.

See my blog at

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:03 pm

Re: Struggling with Professional Development

Post by Cogan91 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:48 pm

Hi Miriam,

Many thanks for your reply, it's very helpful.

At the moment the Clinical route is most appealing to me, however due to the competitive nature and my current age, it's something that I may reconsider should I not be successful in the next three to four years. I suppose the appeal of the Clinical route apart from my keen interest, is the fact that it's a salary based PhD ( so the funds don't take too much of a kicking), along with the ability to transition into other areas more easily (at least in theory). Failing this I think maybe an academic route, but this would be a number of years down the line depending on funding etc, should I fail with the Clinical Application.

Would you have any suggestions re: the best way to go about getting voluntary experience, it's a route I have explored in the past, however I would imagine due to high demand and the volume of emails they most likely receive, I haven't had too much luck.

In terms of other CPD, it looks promising that I will be able to carry out research as part of my role with a local university. I am conscious I don't wan't to undertake too much extra work that may impact my development, however I feel that as I have had a hiatus I need to put in more work to catch up with my peers.

Many thanks again for your reply, this forum is a hive of useful advice and information :D

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2193
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Struggling with Professional Development

Post by maven » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm

You keep saying PhD - it isn't a PhD!

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

Posts: 101
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 10:28 am

Re: Struggling with Professional Development

Post by Amina » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:03 pm

Hi Cogan91,

(I did write a much more detailed reply, which my laptp then ate....!!!)

If you want to gain/improve your skills I was thinking about whether you could explore some of the broader skills which CPs employ, rather than just thinking about the therapeutic aspects? One of the great things about CP is that it is much more than just direct therapeutic interventions. So maybe you could think about things such as service audit/evaluation, satisfaction with services, staff training needs, referral routes, information sheets for families/people using the service/professionals, creating/updating folders for inductions, a project to involve those using the service in recruitment.......

It sounds like you may already be thinking about some research, which is great. Could you also keep up-to-date on the latest reserach and provide an email or a4 printed update every month or two?

Also a key part of the CP role is you keep a reflective diary? Could you start a peer reflection group, or give a presentation on how to make your work more reflective?

Not sure how useful this is, but maybe it can be a start..

Also regarding volunteering as an AP - maybe contact CP services with a CV and covering letter which sells the skills you have and the things you can offer - it might be more admin things as staff don't always have time to supervise/train etc. I imagine you have plenty of transferable skills. Again, things like updating resources, data input, any stats/audit stuff or reading, giving an overview of new policies/research etc. Sometimes when paid posts are advertised on NHS jobs or elsewhere you can then see the names of key people to contact. But, as Miriam says, you could start applying for these paid posts too...

Good luck!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests