change career into clinical psychology from neuroscience

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: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:43 pm

change career into clinical psychology from neuroscience

Post by Maria85 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:04 pm

Hi everyone. I have been reading the forum for a while, it looks there is some amazing support and knowledge shared on here, so I will give it a try posting a question.

I am 32 years old and quite recently I have been considering to start the route to get into clinical psychology. I already have a BSc in Psychology of communication (from an Italian university), one MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (from another Italian University) and one PhD in Integrative Neuroscience (from a British university; I studied memory and brain in rats). I have been working for 1 year and a half as a postdoc biostatistician/bioinformatician (studying the genetics of a neurodegenerative disease, in a UK university). At the moment I have just come out of academia and I work as statistician for UK government (economical data). As you can read, I have been studying psychology/neuroscience most of my life, but not from a clinical point of view; for different reasons I was not considering myself emotionally “fit” enough to do anything clinic, although the interest for human psychology has always been there.

Recently I have lost a bit my initial passion in purely experimental neuroscience; I would love to do a job in which I can help people more directly, helping in make a change in their lives. I think and I have been told that I am a good listener and I like talking with people about their worries if this can help them in release stress and get new perspectives on things. Speaking with some friends who have been recently started a new career route into counselling and psychology studies, I have felt a sort of very strong feeling in my gut that maybe I should reconsider my career as well: I really love studying the (human) mind and I would love to do research coupled with clinical support to patients. I have overcome in the last years my fear of not being "fit" to help people who struggle with mental diseases; or at least in my head, I have decided next months I will start to do a bit of volunteering in a help call line for people who are contemplating suicide and as support worker of people with disabilities. I know both positions will be tough for me as I have never done anything like that, but I hope this will be enough to understand if this is something I really want to pursue.

In case I re-fall in love with psychology, now from its clinical side, I know the path ahead is pretty hard. I will need to take a conversion psych degree for having BPS/GBC recognition with my Italian qualifications; I could do one online while I still work for the government and volunteering in the remaining spare time, hopefully I’ll finish it in 1 or 2 years (I am aiming at a high grade). What discourages me a bit more than studying again is the work experience required to be accepted to a clinical doctorate course. I hope doing some relevant volunteering will open doors to paid positions (as it looks they are essential to aim at a clinical PsyD). I am also wondering if my non clinical research experience in academia and government settings would be counted at all, not as a substitute to the clinical one (which I will do my best to supply) but as an added value. My main questions are:

does anyone here know of any clinical psychologist with a sort of similar background (coming from non clinical academic research)?

Would a BPS conversion psych degree give me any chance to find a position as assistant psychologist? I fear the answer would be... it is going to be very hard, so, should I also take a further applied MSc (e.g. in clinical psychology or similar)? Or in my case as I already have quite a few degrees (and I hope this shows my academic/research abilities) in psych/neuroscience is more volunteering and getting more experience that would help?

Is there any clinical MSc that would give me BPS/GBC accreditation (without the need of doing the conversion degree)? I have tried to google this and as far as I am understanding a BSc or a conversion degree are necessary, but maybe I am wrong?

Thanks for any answer and sorry for the long (and probably a bit confused) post :)

Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit:
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2085
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: change career into clinical psychology from neuroscience

Post by maven » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:29 pm

I'd think that both the statistical and neuroscience experience would be advantageous, as would the fact you've already done a PhD as evidence of capacity to pass the academic part of the course. You might need to gain some experience directly with a CP and a bit more knowledge of the clinical side of services, but you might be able to do that alongside your conversion course. I've certainly known people get onto training from research posts without any clinical experience, and people who have converted from all kinds of other career paths, so if this is what you want I reckon you'll be able to achieve it.

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

User avatar
Posts: 1333
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise

Re: change career into clinical psychology from neuroscience

Post by Spatch » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:59 pm

I came from a very similar background (neuroimaging and neuropsych post doc), and was never an assistant psych.

Ten years qualified, I think it’s really helped having that research /statistical background clinically, but interestingly also when it comes to more managerial roles. So much of modern service provision is data driven nowadays, it’s really helpful to be able to use empirical/stats/data to demonstrate effectiveness and argue for resources and staff. There are probably more roles opening up in the future that mix those skills along with the therapeutic ones IMO.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon ... 00EQFE5JW/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests