Any advice on what NOT to write, any turn off phrasing?

Discuss any aspect of applying for posts or courses (apart from the clinical psychology doctorate which has its own forum section), CVs, application forms, etc
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Re: Any advice on what NOT to write, any turn off phrasing?

Post by maven » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:58 am

Applications that seem generic, like the applicant pastes in the same content for every application are horrible to short-list, but not as bad as those that reference a different post or client group. Also, as Ell said, over-claiming your competence is a definite negative. Pejorative or medical language is also generally off-putting (though certain aspects of the latter may be appropriate in some settings). Avoid poor grammar, punctuation, spelling or typos.

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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Re: Any advice on what NOT to write, any turn off phrasing?

Post by ManonFire » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:29 pm

It's really difficult to get a formula that will do it, as the others have pointed out.

In my experience when i've made it to interview, my statement has been a short summary essay-style piece which provides examples of reflective learning. I'll usually address most of the person spec but not in a stilted way going through each point by point.

I think the point you make Maven, about pejorative or medical style language is a really tricky one, I've definitely struggled with it, probably due to a lot of experience within medically-dominant services in which you tend to use the same language to fit in. I found it hard to come to terms with the idea that the supportive and seeming highly professional staff/ role models around me were not using a universal language, that these medical terms were in fact to be debated in the psychology world. A slow learning curve, and to blame for at least one failed interview!
ell wrote:Also, saying you can do things that, at an AP level, you would not be trained or competent to do. e.g. "I have delivered family therapy using a systemic framework",
I've always struggled with this one. AP roles in my experience are highly varied. In some roles you will be delivering aspects of a therapy under supervisory guidance, for example helping someone to work through a thought record (ie. a cognitive therapy tool), and in other roles will be at most helping someone read the newspaper. I guess your duties will come down to the behest of the clinical psychologist, and factors such as how they view your levels of autonomy and competence doing certain things.
But I would argue that making a statement how you have worked with a certain therapeutic framework demonstrates an understanding of differing approaches as well as some experience in it - I would imagine the person reading it, given the assumptions made about the competency levels of APs, would offer benefit to the doubt and see the candidate's potential. Maybe it's all in the phrasing? What would be a better way to say that your supervisor had you work with someone and their family using methods you read in a book about family therapy they recommended?

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Re: Any advice on what NOT to write, any turn off phrasing?

Post by ell » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Using different techniques taken from different models under supervision and informed by a formulation is fine (e.g. behavioural activation or graded exposure), as is assisting in the delivery of family therapy (e.g. as part of a reflective team). Where I would see a red flag is when someone is claiming to do things clearly outside the remit of an assistant psychologist, when they don't have any qualifications to do those things. It might not lose you the interview, but it doesn't endear you to a shortlister.

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