35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

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andysing
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 7:38 pm

35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by andysing » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:17 am

Hi forum users,

I am hoping to gain some input, advice, guidance, or personal experiences with regards to applying for a clinical psychology doctorate as a mature student.

...Somehow, I blinked and found myself age 35 and a Dad of 2 toddlers (which begs the serious question of why would I now also consider more study!) In all seriousness, I find myself reflecting on my professional standing; specifically the avenue of development I would like to pursue next. I find I have a persistent desire to evolve, broaden and develop my practice, to challenge myself and pursue the next level of professional study.

A very brief overview of me: I am a psychology graduate, have a PGDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy and am in full-time practice as a BACP accredited counsellor. I have worked extensively with adolescents; working in residential childrens homes for a decade (during which I completed my counselling training). Once qualified, I transitioned into working as a counsellor (working with 9-20 year olds) and have been in this role for 5 years. The presenting issues of my client group are varied, however, the more complex cases would be typical of a tier 3-4 CAMHS service user. I would describe my theoretical framework as integrative (person-centred, solution focused, CBT, mindfulness).

I have read forums on this site relating to applying for this training as a mature student. Additionally, having had a 2 year counselling placement with CAMHS during my counselling PGDip and also from liaising with CAMHS regularly in my current job, I feel I have a strong knowledge of the role of a clinical psychologist.

I appreciate this is a very brief outline of my background, experience and professional standing, however, as I am at the beginning of this journey, I would welcome any discussion, input, experiences or viewpoints.

Thanks,

Andy

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KMC00
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Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by KMC00 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:24 pm

I'm 37 and got on training this year so I understand how daunting it can feel beginning the journey at 35. I've always worked in psychology but ended up moving into research, first doing a PhD and then several postdocs before deciding to apply for the clinical doctorate. Although they say age is just a number, your priorities often change in your 30s and you need to consider how the training will impact on you and your family as it is an intensive course. That being said I know many people who have completed the doctorate with young children and really enjoyed it.

One thing I had to consider was how I felt about going back to studying in a trainee role as I'm quite senior in my research career. This is something that you might want to consider as well since you are already an established counsellor. Out of interest, what about clinical psychology is appealing to you right now?

You also need to be prepared to apply more than once and for the program to potentially change in terms of funding over the next few years. Some people get on first time, others 5th time, some people never do. I applied twice, once in 2013/2014 (unsuccessful) and 2016/2017 (accepted at IOPPN). A lot happened to me in those years in between applications, personally and professionally, and these experiences shaped my application and I think made me a stronger candidate. As an older applicant I felt I had a lot to talk about and reflect upon that I didn't have when I was younger. I think psychology is a career that benefits from life experience and maturity.

Depending on where you apply you might also need to increase your research experience if that is something you don't already have as more and more universities are looking for research as well as clinical experience. It's worth looking at the criteria for any courses you are interested in.

I hope this was useful!

Kat

Gem2010
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:55 am

Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by Gem2010 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:18 pm

I think Kat makes some very valid points and I actually feel that age (and therefore more life and work experience) is a bonus. I started my training aged 33 years and I am neither the oldest or the youngest. I find that within my cohort it is the younger trainees (20's) that struggle with the demands of the course and meeting competencies on placements. In terms of academic work however this does not seem to have any direct correlation with age.

I think it would be more helpful to focus on what you wish to gain from the course given your already well established profession.

Best of luck :D

endedupageek
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:06 pm

Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by endedupageek » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:50 pm

Hi Andysing,
I'm 44 and a parent of 2, about to start my second year of training. I am not the oldest in my cohort, nor am I the only parent, so I would say that neither age nor parenthood are barriers to training.
I echo the previous poster in suggesting that you be very clear about what you think you will get from training/CP that will be different from your current profession.
Whilst doable, training is hard work and does occasionally conflict with the demands of family life. It sounds as though you see it as a potential "step up" but it may not be - do check out the likely job opportunities as a CP compared to the options already available to you and other options. For example, where I live there are more opportunities for family therapists in CAMHS than psychologists, and family therapists tend to get higher graded jobs, so there may be other ways of challenging yourself professionally.
One of the hardest things for me has been having to take a substantial pay cut, which has impacted on our ability to do some things (like holidays) as a family. This may not be an issue for you of course, but it's worth looking at all aspects of the change.

Good luck!

gazdavies
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Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:32 am

Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by gazdavies » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:03 am

You have a much more impressive array of relevant clinical experience than me, and I think you'd be an asset to any course. I commence training at start of next month and will very shortly after turn 36. Get that application in for next year. You are ready and you sound like you will be a huge asset to the profession ;-)

flaman
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by flaman » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:22 pm

Hi everyone,

I am another 35ish year old intending to apply for a DClinPsy. I am in a similar position to KMC00 and I am trying to figure out whether I need to quit my job and get some AP experience to enhance my chances to get in the DClinPsy in London or South/East England (success rates are 3-4% in those Universities). I understand that quality of experience, rather than quantity, is important but everything counts given that places are so limited and future NHS funding is uncertain.

Basically, my path has been:
* BA Psychology, 1st Hons (Italy)
* MSc Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology, 1st Hons (Italy) --> this included a neuropsychology research project on patients with brain damage
* Honorary Assistant Psychologist in charities and national hospitals (approx 1 day/week for 3 years)
* Carried out 1000 hours of clinical placements (psychiatry, dementia unit, neurorehabilitation service) supervised by CPs, and passed an exam to become a chartered psychologist in Italy (neuropsychology and experimental psychology only) --> note this qualification is not equivalent to HCPC
obtained GBC from BPS
* Paid Assistant Psychologist in two Dementia Units (Italy; 1.5 days/week for 2 years) - supervised by CPs
* PhD Cognitive Neuroscience (Italy&UK)
* 7 years of postdoc in cognitive neuroscience at UCL and University of Cambridge in various departments --> this includes 6 months paid leave following a tragic bereavement; it also includes lots of psychology teaching, loads of publications in the field of cog neuroscience and around 5 in the field of clinical neuropsychology, student supervision, and 2 years of honorary NHS contract (Addenbrookes) to carry out computational-psychiatry research on patients suffering from chronic pain and fatigue. It involved psychological testing but it was not supervised by a CP.
* Naturalised as a British citizen (I lived in the UK for 10 years and I want to remain in the UK in the long term)

I want to quit research and go back to clinical practice. I have always missed it since I moved to the UK but I wasn't ready to go back to it for personal reasons. If I look back, I remember my patients and my students, not my papers. I have reflected a lot on this and now I am ready to jump, but I am not sure what is the best way forward. I am not sure if I have a sufficient amount of clinical experience to be competitive for a DClinPsy in a geographical area I can reach (London, Eastern, possibly Oxford). I can either continue working in research/teaching (possibly going part-time) and try to get a part-time AP job somewhere (either paid or honorary), or try to find a fulltime AP post, preferably band 5 (currently applying). Band4 AP jobs are not financially viable for me due to personal constraints.

I know some people got into the DClinPsy without AP or PWP experience, but I don't understand how likely that is - especially in the absence of a recent reference from a UK CP. If I don't get into the course this year, could a part-time AP post (plus a part-time research/lecturing job) be potentially sufficient to get into the DClinPsy the following year (provided I demonstrate to be able to reflect on my experiences and learn from them)?

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you very much!

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miriam
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Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by miriam » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:25 am

I don't think you need to do AP work. If you want a CP reference, or to top up recent clinical experiences then I'd suggest either a joint project/publication with a CP, or an honorary placement that you can fit around your existing paid work.
Miriam

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

flaman
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Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by flaman » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:39 pm

Thanks Miriam!

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miriam
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Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by miriam » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:05 pm

But you will need GBC, and it might be an easier path to apply for HCPC registration under the mutual recognition scheme than to undertake the 3-year doctorate - although that is likely to be reviewed post-Brexit if that ever happens.
Miriam

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

flaman
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Re: 35 year old considering applying for ClinPsy next year

Post by flaman » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:58 am

Thanks Miriam. I have GBC. My Italian clinical qualification does not correspond to the training provided by the doctorate. I will consider both routes (clinical doctorate and international conversion), but I don't feel ready to work as a CP without further training/placements.

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