Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

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Jones
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Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by Jones » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:21 am

Hi everyone, I am a PhD student in clinical psychology in California, USA. I’d like to know how a U.S. citizen such as myself can train or be supervised by a Clinical Psychologist in England on a short-term basis (e.g., assistant psychologist or other roles), and hopefully get paid doing so? I have a desire to perhaps practice as a Clinical Psychologist someday in England, but figured I would first try to obtain a short-term paid opportunity to be supervised by a Clinical Psychologist in England to get a lay of the land. By short-term, I mean about a 3-month placement over the summer or another time period. How would I go about finding a short-term clinical training placements? Also, I do not know if there even are paid opportunities to be supervised in England if I am not a U.K. doctoral student or have a work visa?  Open to any suggestions, thoughts, and tips on how to make this happen.

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miriam
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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by miriam » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:25 am

Very hard to find paid work as a psychology graduate in the UK as there are so many people you'd be competing with, and without registration with the HCPC as a clinical psychologist that's all you could get (unless you are lucky enough to take up a paid research post - but I can't see anything paid that is as short term as you propose). To be honest, I'd probably get 60 applicants if I offered an unpaid AP post to gain experience working with a CP for 3 months - which might give you a flavour of the level of competition here. You'd need GBC agreed by the BPS to even apply for AP posts, and you haven't said you have that, or right to live and work here. If you have all of those you could apply, but 3 month posts would be very unusual (given the timescale and cost of recruitment, none of the services I've worked for would normally create a paid post under 6 months duration and if we did it wouldn't be at AP grade). However, if such a thing existed, any AP post would be hugely competitive. In particular, it seems unlikely that you'd get one in the NHS without substantive UK experience and knowledge of the systems here. So, that leaves posts in the private sector, which are somewhat less competitive.

So there are lots of hurdles to cross, and I'm not sure that what you are imagining is achievable. I wonder how well you have explored the pragmatics, like the requirements to live and work here post-Brexit, the registrations required and the timelines for applying, interviewing and taking up post. There might then also be issues about where you'd live, as most accommodation contracts are 12 months and I suspect the cost of living in the UK is higher than in the USA - and it might be helpful to bear in mind that in London the pay for an AP post will not easily cover the cost of solo accommodation and living expenses.
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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by Jones » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:56 am

Hi Miriam,

Thank you for your reply. It certainly sounds competitive, and I probably need to be more flexible about the time frame for a short-term opportunity. Could you advise on how I could find private sector opportunities for being supervised by a Clinical Psychologist (list serves, local associations, emails, etc.)? Or would it be a matter of Googling private sector psychologists in England and cold calling them to see if anyone would be willing to supervise me for a short-term period just so that I can get a feel of the environment?

As for GBC, I am in the process of applying with the BPS (https://www.bps.org.uk/join-us/membersh ... membership). Regarding post-Brexit work requirements, I’ve seen this for psychologists (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration ... ation-list), and these various visas (https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration). I’m also trying to keep up with the Brexit news much like others and it appears that generally politicians/institutions are also still figuring out what post-Brexit will look like. Are there other pragmatic-related resources you can recommend or that I should be looking into?

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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by miriam » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:15 am

I'm not trying to be negative here, but I still think the whole plan is unrealistic. Most employers wouldn't sponsor a visa for a pre-doctoral psychologist - its way too much effort, when we'd get loads of home status applicants without that extra administrative burden. And any paid graduate psychology post with CP supervision will be very competitive, and difficult to secure without prior UK experience and the unrestricted right to live and work here. If you take a look at some of the shortlisting threads (eg 1, 2) you'll get a flavour of how the criteria often disadvantage international applicants. So that leaves you with a double whammy of visa problems and the likelihood of having to take on an unpaid placement to gain the experience you want.

Cold calling and asking for paid work is a bold strategy, but I don't think it is one that will be successful - I'm sent CVs regularly and very rarely take them on, even if they are offering to work for free, and I always put paid posts out to advert. I also get requests for foreign placements through my university role, and again there is much more demand than supply even when people are offering to work for free as a student on placement and don't have the visa issue. The difficulty is that the supply and demand imbalance means that even if you identify and call twenty private sector CPs and offer to work for free in return for supervision and experience you'd be lucky to get one who'd be willing to take you on - even if you were a local candidate able to start the following week. With a long timeline, no local knowledge or experience, and the need for a visa I can't see it happening. You might want to read this wiki, which I wrote a decade ago but have updated several times since.
Miriam

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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by Spatch » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:59 am

I have recently had to field a couple of similar requests recently. I can empathise with their position that they want to get a feel of how the workplace is can't afford to work for lengthy periods unpaid or lowly paid. It's hard to find much information and due to the nature of our work it can be unclear what the profession involves.

In addition to Miriam's very valid points , there are a couple of other things to consider:

- Taking on any staff (paid or unpaid) is a huge resource cost in terms of training that person up, supervising them and providing necessary infastructure. If a person doesn't have any existing relevant skills that are currently needed by that service, there is relatively little to be gained by the qualified psychologist offering brief workplace placements. That "free" offer of labour often isn't usable to most services, and will often have to come with DBS checks, induction costs, infastructure requirements (like desk space and comptuer access), and other related costs.

- The stuff mentioned about occupational shortage lists and media coverage of increasing demand for mental health clinicians often gives the impression to people overseas that the UK is very keen on recruiting aspirant psychologists. The reality is that qualified psychologists who meet HCPC requirements are in demend -not so much psychology graduates at the pre-training stage (of whom we have a massive surplus in the UK).

- The one thing that may make a difference is if you have other skills that we genuinely do need or links we would clearly benefit from. If you do, you need to lead with this. For instance, I suspect Miriam would be inclined to think very differently if you had proven exceptional business development skills, or had access and major influence over large sources of grant funding. Or if a private psychologist was looking to develop their own website or app, and you had those IT skills. On a related note, if you have developed a guaranteed way of treating Borderline Personality Disorder in a very short time frame, contact me and we can talk.
I am a PhD student in clinical psychology in California, USA. I’d like to know how a U.S. citizen such as myself can train or be supervised by a Clinical Psychologist in England on a short-term basis
In this particular instance, I think you would be better off qualifying from your PhD and gaining US state licensing. You would be in a very different position from graduates, have applicable clinical skills gained from your practicum and thus have far more to offer a potential supervisor.
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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by rebeccaroisin » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:58 am

Hi Jones,

You said that you're currently in a PhD programme in Clinical Psychology in California.

In the long term, that means that you will be a qualified Clinical Psychologist -- and there are processes to convert that US qualification into one that is recognised in the UK. At that point, you'll be qualified to work as a Clinical Psychologist here.

Am I right that what you are looking for is exposure to how Clinical psychology works in the UK -- understanding referrals processes, relationship between different state bodies (education, primary, secondary tertiary care etc)? Rather than looking for a paid or unpaid Assistant Psychologist position, I'd recommend looking for an academic post. Are there UK academics who are qualified Clinical Psychologists and who work in an area of psychology that is relevant to your PhD research? If so, could you try to set up a collaboration -- either long term or short term? That way, you would be offering the skillset you have from your research, plus the opportunity for both parties to benefit from future publications. In the process of doing research, you would learn a lot about how Clinical Psychology services work in the UK for your area, and would probably also have the opportunity to visit for short periods.

That might not be totally feasible (your supervisor has no international collaborations, your research area is not UK-relevant, you don't have space/time to take on more research work). Another option would be to wait until you have finished the PhD and look for a post-doc position in a UK psychology research group, or in a US group that collaborates with the UK. That would probably be a longer-term commitment (1 - 3 years), but would give you a short-term, career-relevant exposure to UK Clinical Psychology without needing to apply for UK Clinical Psychology posts from the other side of the world and without exposure to / understanding of the UK system.

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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by miriam » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:22 am

rebeccaroisin wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:58 am
Hi Jones,

You said that you're currently in a PhD programme in Clinical Psychology in California.

In the long term, that means that you will be a qualified Clinical Psychologist -- and there are processes to convert that US qualification into one that is recognised in the UK. At that point, you'll be qualified to work as a Clinical Psychologist here.

Am I right that what you are looking for is exposure to how Clinical psychology works in the UK -- understanding referrals processes, relationship between different state bodies (education, primary, secondary tertiary care etc)? Rather than looking for a paid or unpaid Assistant Psychologist position, I'd recommend looking for an academic post. Are there UK academics who are qualified Clinical Psychologists and who work in an area of psychology that is relevant to your PhD research? If so, could you try to set up a collaboration -- either long term or short term? That way, you would be offering the skillset you have from your research, plus the opportunity for both parties to benefit from future publications. In the process of doing research, you would learn a lot about how Clinical Psychology services work in the UK for your area, and would probably also have the opportunity to visit for short periods.

That might not be totally feasible (your supervisor has no international collaborations, your research area is not UK-relevant, you don't have space/time to take on more research work). Another option would be to wait until you have finished the PhD and look for a post-doc position in a UK psychology research group, or in a US group that collaborates with the UK. That would probably be a longer-term commitment (1 - 3 years), but would give you a short-term, career-relevant exposure to UK Clinical Psychology without needing to apply for UK Clinical Psychology posts from the other side of the world and without exposure to / understanding of the UK system.
I think that would be true if she was doing a research PhD and wanted an academic career, but she's doing a PhD in Clinical Psychology that is their equivalent of our clinical training and includes clinical placements and a year of internship as a pre-qualified clinical psychologist (see https://www.psych.ucla.edu/graduate/are ... psychology) and she wants to know about the clinical delivery context here, not the academic context. So that sounds like quite a substantial diversion compared to either qualifying and gaining equivalence with the HCPC, or coming here with the goal of getting on to clinical training here.

But it did make me wonder whether there might be an exchange programme possible with a UK course where you swap with a British trainee for a period of time, or a specialist placement of 6 month or a year organised within the training course you are now doing that takes place in a UK service, as I do know a couple of psychologists who did a placement like that in the USA as part of training on a UK course.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Re: Short-term Placement being Supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

Post by rebeccaroisin » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:02 pm

Yes, I guess a 3-year post-doc is a bit of a tangent -- my career to date has been multiple tangents, so I'm willing to play the long game ...

More relevant -- I remembered that International Doctors can often do "observerships" in the NHS -- basically unpaid shadowing of a Doctor in their specialty for a short period.

It looks like something similar exists for psychology, at least in this trust: https://www.guysandstthomasevents.co.uk ... sychology/

From the website:
The programme aims to include opportunities to:
Sit in on patient sessions, observing ward rounds and clinics
Participate in Multidisciplinary Team Meetings (MDT) and intervention meetings
Assist in focus groups and treatment sessions
Support research and literature searches
Aid with patient recruitment for studies
Undertake a research project in relation to psychological theory and patient benefit with assistance from an internal supervisor
And it has international psychology graduates specifically in mind.
This programme is intended for non-UK professionals that hold an undergraduate degree in psychology, that have the desire to become a practising psychologist or that wish to enhance their current expertise.
I think this could be more like what Jones is looking for? Sadly, it's not paid -- and even looks like you have to pay to complete it :/

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