Deciding to withdraw from the process

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Spatch
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by Spatch » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:14 pm

I think it would be helpful for the profession to begin liaising with other areas of psychology and consider linking in to that expertise, not only for the genuine need to spread work out, but maybe to raise the profile of alternative career choices for people with psychology-related aspirations.
I think this is something that I, as well as some others, are very keen to expand on -the idea that psychology isn't just held solely by psychologists (too few of us really for the demands we face) but something that can be adopted by different people at a range of levels. I think some of this will involve non-psychologists who think psychologically and are open to spreading that approach to a range of settings whether that is healthcare, education, businesses or wherever. That's not just nurses, teachers, therapists, counsellors or folk who come from distinct professions in their own right that use psychological theory or practices, but people who can apply those ideas in completely novel settings.

The big obstacle is that the standard route is secure and established, and it is incredibly scary for people at an early stage of their career to think of doing something away from the beaten path. However there is probably more scope in the longer term if people could start taking collaboration with psychologists/psychology as a viable and respectable alternative. The ongoing work of Derek Mowbray is interesting in that regard and if people are interested I would recommend checking out his website.
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persephone56
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by persephone56 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:35 pm

Spatch wrote: The big obstacle is that the standard route is secure and established, and it is incredibly scary for people at an early stage of their career to think of doing something away from the beaten path. However there is probably more scope in the longer term if people could start taking collaboration with psychologists/psychology as a viable and respectable alternative.
The best advice I ever received was from my thesis supervisor at the end of my conversion course. I was 24 and bemoaning the long road ahead of me. He looked at me and gently said "You must remember that the journey is as important as the destination. Make sure you enjoy it."

I think a HUGE problem within clinical psychology is this focus on the "standard route", as you mention, Spatch. It's restrictive, intimidating and unhelpful. The stats indicate that there are 150-200 applications for each NHS AP role! The odds are against you from the outset. It takes tremendous resilience to get through the process, and it can be hugely demoralising, not to mention damaging to your personal life, as curadh outlines.

I have taken an unusual path to becoming a trainee, and I think it has been nothing but advantageous. I'd like to encourage everyone to follow their own path. It's a career. It's not worth sacrificing anything for, in my opinion! If that means you end up taking a different route entirely, then so be. If you're happy, you won't regret it.

Another thing worth mentioning, because I see it in trainees a lot, is that getting on the course isn't a magic bullet. All your problems don't go away. For many people, that's when they really start! So it must be awful to sacrifice so much, then get on the course and realise it's not what you thought it would be.

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ell
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by ell » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:53 pm

persephone56 wrote:Another thing worth mentioning, because I see it in trainees a lot, is that getting on the course isn't a magic bullet. All your problems don't go away. For many people, that's when they really start! So it must be awful to sacrifice so much, then get on the course and realise it's not what you thought it would be.
Yes, this is so true. If you enter the course with the "I've sacrificed so much to be here" mentality, you are likely to end up disappointed, and possibly bitter, in one way or another.

The clinical training experience is not a path to validation. Quite the opposite in fact. You spend three years constantly learning, trying to improve, having your abilities constantly scrutinised, being called "the psychology student" while on placement, being lumped into a homogenous group of "cohort year X" (in teaching, you may have five years experience in one speciality compared to the zero experience of the person next to you, but you'll still be treated the same way), and many other things that have the potential to make you feel invalidated as a professional. This is not a criticism of course centres or staff, it's more the reality of placement and the reality of being on a challenging training course. Because it *is* a challenging course, it's a flipping doctorate after all. I had several more years than average clinical experience before getting on training, and had a mature attitude towards supervision, a good working knowledge of the NHS, and a fair bit more prior knowledge about the nature of the training course I was entering, due to knowing several trainees and a course staff member well. But I had never felt more incompetent and unskilled and unsure as I did during training. I can completely understand if someone is not up for that, even if it's within their grasp.

purpledot
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by purpledot » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:16 pm

ell wrote:
persephone56 wrote:Another thing worth mentioning, because I see it in trainees a lot, is that getting on the course isn't a magic bullet. All your problems don't go away. For many people, that's when they really start! So it must be awful to sacrifice so much, then get on the course and realise it's not what you thought it would be.
Yes, this is so true. If you enter the course with the "I've sacrificed so much to be here" mentality, you are likely to end up disappointed, and possibly bitter, in one way or another.

The clinical training experience is not a path to validation. Quite the opposite in fact. You spend three years constantly learning, trying to improve, having your abilities constantly scrutinised, being called "the psychology student" while on placement, being lumped into a homogenous group of "cohort year X" (in teaching, you may have five years experience in one speciality compared to the zero experience of the person next to you, but you'll still be treated the same way), and many other things that have the potential to make you feel invalidated as a professional. This is not a criticism of course centres or staff, it's more the reality of placement and the reality of being on a challenging training course. Because it *is* a challenging course, it's a flipping doctorate after all. I had several more years than average clinical experience before getting on training, and had a mature attitude towards supervision, a good working knowledge of the NHS, and a fair bit more prior knowledge about the nature of the training course I was entering, due to knowing several trainees and a course staff member well. But I had never felt more incompetent and unskilled and unsure as I did during training. I can completely understand if someone is not up for that, even if it's within their grasp.
I don't want to say too much at risk of derailing this thread, but thank you so much for posting this. I wish this was acknowledged more frequently.

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stephenkingfan
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by stephenkingfan » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:01 am

ell wrote:The clinical training experience is not a path to validation. .
This really resonates with me. I first became aware of psychology age 16 when attending A-level taster sessions in my school, attending a psychology one and thinking it was the best thing ever. Since that moment every career choice and educational choice I made was with the aim of becoming a psychologist.

What I had to really step back and think about over the past 2 years or so was whether I was pursuing psychology training because that was truely what I wanted to do, or because I felt I had to because that had been my career goal for so long. It almost felt like I had no other choice.

I spent some time this year thinking about other career options including counselling, and staying in my current organisation and becoming a manager. I came to the conclusion that psychology was what I wanted to do, but that this was my last year of applying. I decided although it would be nice to do the training, if I didn't get in this year then I was going to settle into my current job and continue focusing on that. I need stability and certainty, and the process of going through applying every year was putting my life on hold.

That being said, I got offered a place this year. I think the attitude of 'it's just a job'' (albeit one I really wanted!) made me feel so much more relaxed. I had a back up plan and felt comfortable that if I didn't get a place then this course just wasn't for me.

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ell
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by ell » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:17 am

I would also add that the longer you have been trying to get onto training, and therefore being older and having more experience, the more of a change in status being a 'trainee' can seem. As a very slightly older trainee, I had to deal with some feelings around having course tutors and supervisors the same age as me, but in a position of power, and more importantly, a position of assessing me and effectively passing judgement on me (or my abilities as a clinical psychologist rather!). I had many very skilled supervisors who were respectful of my experience, but a lot of the things I was doing in training were new to me (as I obviously wasn't actually a clinical psychologist when I got on!), and sometimes that felt like it was undoing the years of building up my skills. What helped me was the fact that I had had time to become bitter and then come out the other side of that before even starting training. Also, I'd spent years honing a professional identity already, and the transferable skills of relating to other professionals, having a longer term understanding of the NHS context from experience, and a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the qualification once I'd got it, helped negate much of the potential frustration at being "the psychology student".

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ell
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by ell » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:18 am

Also I'm pretty easy going.

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greenamber83
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by greenamber83 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:24 am

I thought I'd share my recent decision on here because it might be useful for other people having doubts to know that they're not alone. I was due to have an interview next week at IoPPN - my first and only in three years applying - and I withdrew earlier this week. For the last month or so I'd been thinking about my experience, reading about the course, thinking about the doctorate and what it would entail. And I realised that although I've been pursuing this doggedly for the last three years, I haven't actually stopped to think about the course itself, what that would mean for my life and learning - moving around every 6 months on placement while juggling all the coursework and new information. I haven't had much clinical experience yet - 1 1/2 years HCA, almost 3 years on a clinically relevant research project (also delivering interventions) and a couple of HAP roles. While I can just about pick bits of my experience to demonstrate various competencies and am stronger on the research front, I don't feel that I know much about a lot of the work CPs do in clinical settings and actually I'd quite like to know more and do more myself before making any decision. (What if I don't actually enjoy it?!) I had a think about myself and my needs and recognised that I'm someone who likes to feel competent in one place before moving on, taking time to consolidate my learning. I took time to make sure that interview nerves weren't clouding my judgement and realised that no part of me wants to start training this Autumn! I may apply again in the future when I feel more informed but equally I may decide that I don't want to go that route after all and that's fine. I think that IAPT or possibly psychotherapy may be much more up my street (but again I need to give it a shot and see!) I doubt I'm the only person out there thinking in this sort of way, which is why I thought it might be helpful to post. It's so important not to lose sight of your own wants and needs and it's fine to step away at any point.

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maven
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Re: Deciding to withdraw from the process

Post by maven » Sun May 14, 2017 4:37 am

Sounds sensible to me, though I'd have advised you to go along to the interview and get a feel for the place and the course style before making a decision.
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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

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