A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

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A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

Post by BenJMan »

A week in the life of an Assistant Clinical Psychologist


8:45 – I arrive at CAMHS to begin my week, the Monday morning feeling sets in as ever.

9:00 – Time to check emails and phone messages in case anything important has happened over the weekend, it never has. I also reply to any emails I didn’t get chance to answer on Friday.

9:30 – This morning is going to be spent continuing the creation of a new set of guided self help workbooks which myself and my fellow AP will be using to conduct mid level guided CBT for low mood and anxiety. It takes ages to gather my stuff back together after the weekend but I eventually spend the rest of the morning drawing together materials from a number of different manuals and resources to finish the creation of one super resource book! … 5 different ones left to go.

12:00 – Lunch!! I’ve been clock watching since 11am for this.

12:45 – Back to the desk, I think I need computer glasses so I don’t destroy my eyes one of these days. The rest of today is set out for data entry into our outcomes research (CORC). It’s boring to some but somewhat satisfyingly mundane to me. The task is taking questionnaires and entering them all onto our database.. I have a backlog of about 50 because I usually end up prioritising something else, but not today!

13:30 – Chocolate hobnobs appearing in the staff kitchen definitely outrank data entry, short biscuit break then back to it.

17:00 – I leave work with a mild headache from too much computer use, but none the less satisfied that I can now avoid more data entry for at least a week.


8:35 – Arrive into work, no school traffic makes my journey in take half the time, I need to remember to set off later.

8:45 – Another morning of creating guided self help manuals begins. Eventually when these are finished over the next month, this time will become 6 hours worth of clinical slots each week for actually doing guided self help which is kind of cool. Since our second AP started my job has changed a lot and I get loads more clinical time now.

12:00 - Lunch again!!

12:45 – Admin time for my clinical work and any other outstanding reports
14:00 – Time for supervision of my psychometrics with one of the clinical psychologists, nothing much needs changing in my latest report, just bits here and there.

14:30 – Spending this afternoon providing support for our new complex case clinic, lots of work to do to get it up and running.

15:30 – Supervision with my supervisor, another clinical psychologist in the department. Always an important part of my week.

16:30 – Finish off bits of work I started for complex case clinic support

17:15 – Head home, tired today.


8:30 – Arrive at work, I still didn’t remember to set off later.

8:40 – This morning is going to be spent typing up transcripts from the interviews I did a while back for some joint research with the Youth Offending Team. It’s pretty interesting but it takes so long to transcribe interviews. This is also the time set out for writing up any outstanding psychometric reports, but I haven’t got any outstanding.

12:00 – Business meeting for the service, my stomach is rumbling a lot.

13:00 – Lunch, finally, I hate late lunches.

13:30 – Normally this afternoon is my CPD and any other meeting time, but this weeks a weird one, I’m spending my afternoon coordinating the service user involvement panel who are interviewing for a new job in the department. It all goes fairly well and as usual the service users love being involved. I really enjoy doing these days.

17:00 – Home time! Good day today.


8:30 – Arrive at work, I need to arrive early on Thursday to get set up.

8:40 – Set up for the Stressbusters, computerised CBT clinic that I run on a Thursday. I really do enjoy the clinic but it certainly doesn’t bust my stress.

11:30 – Clear away for the CCBT clinic, it was a heavy morning today, we had 3 young people needing full risk assessments, the running around to get on call clinicians and trying to contain everyone can be daunting and stressful.

12:00 – Lunch/Meeting for the CAMHS Day Unit

13:30 – This afternoon is set out for my new Functional Analysis clinic. This is a new timetable addition and so I’m not yet doing actual functional analysis, I still need more training and more reading up! So that’s what I’m doing with this afternoon.

16:00 – I decide to take some time owing and leave a bit early, time to cathartically shoot people on Call of Duty!


8:50 – Arrive at work, my entire day today will be spent working on our Day Unit. This gives us naturalistic observations of the more complex young people coming through CAMHS. Fridays means primary age children and so is the best part of my week every week. I get to spend the day having awesome conversations with 5 year olds who are immensely cute. I also get to run the groups, do painting and because it’s school holiday time, make rice crispie cakes during what would normally be school… have to be careful not to eat any of the ones the children have made by accident.. there has been a lot of bum scratching and nose picking today, along with a general disregard for hygiene.. oh well, they’re still cute. My colleague however enjoys placing trays of them in the staff kitchen for general consumption.

17:00 – Head home for the weekend ready to crash but finishing on a high!

I am currently a band 4 Assistant Clinical Psychologist working within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Last edited by BenJMan on Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

Post by hermione87 »

I caught this thread the other day and thought I would add my experience! I work as a band 5 AP for CAMHS service and have a more clinical role within my service. The following would be a typical week for me:

9-10am Check messages from over the weekend, return any calls from parents. 10-12.30pm General admin for my caseload.
12.30-1pm - Lunch (thank goodness!)
Afternoon - one to one appointments with young people (usually CBT work or assessment appointments for children with query ASD or ADHD)

9-9.30 - meeting with a senior staff member and other team members to discuss new assessment appointments which will be held that morning. Each person discusses the two patients they have, to address any concerns, what direction to take it in and possible outcomes.
9.30-12.30 - two new assessments appointments
12.30-1 - lunch (if you’re lucky to get out the appointments on time and there is nothing that needs any further consultation with a senior staff member!)
Afternoon - write up and make plans for the young people assessed in the morning, liaise with other agencies regarding decisions etc.

8.30am-9am - Check messages and general admin
9am - family therapy clinic, where I am part of the reflecting team
12.30pm-1pm - Lunch!
Afternoon - Team meeting and usually some group supervision and/or training for the rest of the afternoon

9-11 - catch up on admin from the week
11-12.30 - clinical supervision
12.30-1 - lunch!
2-2.30 - meeting with a senior staff member and other team members to discuss new patients with that have been assigned to your caseload and will have their first appointments that afternoon.
2.30 - 4 - appointment with new patient.
4 - 5 - write up appointment and send letter to GP regarding future care

I usually assign most of Friday to psychometric testing and try to write them up in the afternoon, whilst they are fresh in my mind. If I don’t have any booked in I usually use the time for more appointments from my caseload or general patient admin.
5 - home yay!

I hope this is ok, i noticed that it was a moderator who wrote the initial post and wasn't sure if we mere mortals could post about this stuff too!
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Re: A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

Post by tarasian »

Hi I work as a band 4 AP based on a mental health rehabilitation ward for adults of working age (20 clients), the ward also has a couple of aspergers/high functioning autism clients that are staying on the ward as the trust i work for is developing a service for clients like this and part of that role is AP provision (me) and a clinical psychologist (who has yet to be appointed). It is worth mentioning that i work 10-6 monday to thursday and 9-5 on fridays, and as i am ward based i also key work some clients (like a ward named nurse) so this may be different to the other two examples.


10-10.30 - Handover from the nursing staff about events over the weekend

10.30-11.15 - Ward Community meetings with the residents, this is a bi weekly meeting which residents take in turns to chair the meeting and discuss events happening during the week. They also plan who will cook and shop for the communal evening meals. My role is to support the resident who has been chosen to chair the meeting.

11.15-12.15 - Support my client with aspergers to complete the communal shopping for the evening meal. The client has OCD and social anxiety so i am involved with helping him to engage with the wider society.

12.15-12.45 - Supervise the residents lunch.

12.45-13.30 - Working lunch, I meet with the ward OT's and health and fitness instructor to plan the weeks therapeutic groups.

13.30-14.30 - Productive ward meeting and handover to the afternoon staff. I am involved in the therapeautic intervention module for productive wards, I then handover about what my residents mental state ect has been in the morning.

14.30-15.00 - prep for the coping skills group - gather and print materials and prepare the therapy room.

15.00-16.00 - Co-facilitate the coping skills group with one of the ward OT's

16.00-18.00 - paperwork, document group attendance and notes for my residents, check emails, review care plans for my residents

10-10.30 - Handover from the nursing staff about significant events that happened over night

10.30-11 - check emails, action anything needed

11-12.15 - Normally i run an art group on the ward whilst the majority of the residents are attending the groups that happen off the ward however i have no takers for Art so i meet 1:1 with one of my residents, we review his weekly plan together and make alterations as necessary.

12.15-12.45 - I supervise lunch again today as the ward is short staffed.

12.45-13.30 - Lunch

13.30-14.30 - practice development meeting and handover, today one of the student nurses is asked to do a presentation on the common drugs used to treat schizophrenia.

14.30-15.00 - prep for the self esteem group, print of information, prepare room, lay out healthy snacks.

15.00-16.00- self esteem group ran with the ward OT, we take it in turns to run the group with the other staff member providing support, Its a CBT style group.

16.00-18.00 - paperwork as monday

10-10.30 - Handover from the nursing staff about significant events that happened over night

10.30-11 - check emails, action anything needed

11.00-12.15 - 1:1 session with same residents that i shopped with on monday, the plan today is to go out for coffee (which he will order and pay for) thus challenging his OCD and social anxiety.

12.15-12.45 - Again the ward is short staffed, I supervise lunch to help out

12.45-13.30 - lunch

13.30-13.45 - Handover

13.45-15.00 - prep time for next weeks groups,

15.00-16.00 1:1 meetings with the other residents that i key work, again we check weekly plans, their current progress, if family meetings need to be arranged ect.

16.00-18.00 - paperwork as monday

10-10.30 - Handover from the nursing staff about significant events that happened over night

10.30-11 - check emails, action anything needed

11.00-12.15 - Escort a resident into town to check his bank balance and withdraw his weekly budget, the resident has been overspending and has accumulated massive debts on store cards, the resident doesnt get on with thier keyworker, so i have been asked to assist with the budgetting and 1:1 work in regards to this.

12.15-13.00 - write up my morning notes and arrange for another staff to handover relevant information

13.00-14.30 - psychological services team meeting, clinical discussion, waiting lists and AOB are disscussed.

14.30- 16.30 - Supervision with a clinical psychologist, because they have not yet appointed anyone to the post i am being supervised by a psychologist in the south of the county, we take it in turns to travel to each other for my supervision

16.30-17.00 - Check the residents finances (the one i saw in the morning) check if bills need to be paid and support him to do this.

17.00-18.00 - Paperwork

09.00-10.00 - Aspergers focus group meeting, I form part of the "core team" identified to work with residents with aspergers/autism. The team meets each week to do care planning, discuss progress and next steps.

10-10.30 - Handover from the nursing staff about significant events that happened over night

10.30-11 - Community meeting as monday

11.00-12.15 - 1:1 with my aspergers client, today we go shopping, he needs to get more clothes and get a hair cut which results in anxiety for him however we complete the tasks required.

12.15-13.00 - check emails, and do any paperwork if there is time

13.00-13.30 lunch

13.30-14.30 formal ward care planning meeting, I feed back the meeting that took place this morning, and we plan the care for other residents on the ward. Then i handover my residents to the afternoon staff

14.30-15.00 - try and get onto a computer to complete paperwork

15.00-16.00 - more 1:1 work with inidividual clients

16.00-17.00 - more paperwork!

Re: A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

Post by emilyrose101 »

I have also been working in a CAMHS service for just over 3 months and feel it is also vital to share my personal experience in a similar manor. For those interested, please see my diary below.

8:30 – I arrive at CAMHS to begin my week as an AP. I usually feel excited to see what the week will bring. No day is ever the same.

8:30-9:00 – This is usually the time I take to respond to emails and telephone calls, as well as catching up with staff to see whether there is any new information we need to be aware of.

9:00-11:00– This morning is spent conducting a ‘Developmental History’ interview with parents. These usually consist of looking at how a child has developed from birth until the age they are at present. Some areas to investigate involve developmental milestones, and starting school. It is mostly important to check whether any significant delays or issues were present during these times.

11:00-12:00- I spent this time writing up the relevant notes on the system, as well as beginning to write my report for this session. I also spent this time proof reading reports I completed the week previously.

12:00 - Time for an early lunch. I have a session at 12:30 so it’s best to eat early to avoid any tummy grumbles in session!

12:30 – It’s time to observe an ADOS assessment (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule). This is a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play for those suspected of developmental disorders. The ADOS assessments are usually conducted by a qualified Clinical Psychologist and last around an hour and a half.

14:15– Session finished, it’s now time to write up the notes of the previous session and begin writing the ADOS report. This is usually followed by a discussion with the Lead Psychologist as to what occurred during the session.
15:00- Quick tea break and chat with my colleagues!

15:30-16:30- I spent this time dedicated to completing my reports from today, and prepping for tomorrow’s sessions, as well as sending out any emails.

16:30- Home time! Productive day with 2 sessions. Feeling satisfied.

8:20 – Arrive into work early, ready to get going!

8:30-10:30 – A morning of scoring psychometrics such as the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) and the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS). These get completed by parents and schools and give us a representation of how a child is socially during school time and home time.

10:30-12:30 – I have an appointment with a child to complete a cognitive assessment named the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). This is only the second WISC I have administered therefore a Trainee Clinical Psychologist observes the session.

13:00- Lunch, this is much needed after a busy morning!

13:45-15:45- I took these hours to spend writing up notes onto the system, scoring the WISC using the manual, and writing this report up…time to get my statistics hat on!

15:45-16:30- Time to return some calls that were left when I finished work yesterday. These are usually calls from schools to confirm that I can observe a child at school as part of their ‘School Observation’ assessment.

16:30-Time for home- tiredness hits.

8:30 – Arrive at a local school to complete an observation of a child. These usually involve observing the child in lesson and break, as well as being able to speak with a member of staff who knows the child well. I enjoy these assessments the most! I also leave a questionnaire for the school to complete.

11:00- Head back to the office to write up notes and the report

12:00- Lunch!

12:30- Chat with the Lead Psychologist about what I observed in school

13:00-15:00- Time spent writing notes onto the system and writing the school observation report

15:00-16:30- More time spent scoring psychometrics returned from schools and parents. I am beginning to enjoy this part more and more!

16:30 – Home time, successful day.

8:30 – Arrive at work, time to check emails and return calls (as usual)

9:00-10:30 – Supervision with my manager (Clinical Psychologist). This usually involves discussing safeguarding issues, upcoming training, updates on current cases I am working on and any issues I have to discuss.

10:30-12:00 – Time for another kind of assessment, one to asses ADHD! I enjoy this assessment as it involves listening to an audio tape- the children seem to love it!

12:00- Lunch – I have been craving my sandwich for hours!

12:30-14:30 – Report catch-up time. I need to remember to write my notes on the system earlier, as I almost forget sometimes when I am busy!

14:30-15:30 – Time to sit and observe another fellow AP complete a WPPSI-III (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence) assessment as I have never done one before. It seems very similar to the WISC but suited to younger children!

15:30-16:30 – Spent an hour reading up on the guidelines and administration of the WPPSII in preparation for my own session next week

16:30 – Home time, the dreaded drive home!

8:30 – Arrive at another school to complete another observation! The children seem in a good mood as its Friday!
11:00-13:00– Arrive back to the office to write up the necessary notes on the system and commence with my reports (and also proof reading!)

13:00 – Lunch! Today is my treat day where I grab lunch from the local chippie with the other AP’s, yummy!

13:30 – 15:00 – I have another session with a child to complete a WISC. Session goes well, I am beginning to get the hang of these now!

15:00-16:30- Notes are written up onto the system and report is begun. I like to keep on top of the reports as I do them, instead of generating a huge back-log of ‘to do’ reports.

16:30 – I head home after having a fantastic, yet tiring, week at CAMHS. I am enjoying this role more and more.

I currently work as a Band 4 Assistant Psychologist within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, on an ADHD/ASD diagnostic pathway.
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Re: A week in the life of an Assistant Psychologist

Post by JB99 »

I found my AP experience to be quite different to those listed above, so I thought I would add my own 'week in the life of an AP'. My AP position is full-time and in outpatient adult neuropsychology, and I have been in post for just over two years.

9:00 - Get my computer loaded up and, importantly, the nespresso machine in the office fired into action.
9:05 - Decide to spend some time familiarising myself with the shared outlook calendar for the week. I tend to switch off a bit too much at the weekend and need to remind myself what is going on this week.
9:20 - Next, I spend a little time reading any new emails that the head of service has sent my way. He starts early, so I normally have a few actions right off the bat. I add any new actions to my task list.
9:30 - Time to start off with neuropsychological assessment report writing. I have completed 3 out of 4 sessions with a patient, so time to get ahead and get the bulk of the report written. I start by typing up the key scores into a table, so they can all be reviewed at a glance.
10:20 - Now that the scores are typed up (and double checked!), time to start writing. I use a self-made template as a guide. I start by filling in the background referral question information, current difficulties, relevant medical history, and educational/occupational details. I realise that my clinical notes can be hard to interpret at times; I must work on that.
12:15 - Lunch time!
12:45 - Time for a change of activity. I respond to some minor queries. Some patient-related admin for our service group (some boring stuff involving moving patients from one tab of a spreadsheet to another and recording that some have opted in).
13:15 - Added some clarity to an email chain about our service leaflets. There had been lots of versions and it was important to make sure we spend money printing the version without typos!
13:30 - Time to get back to report writing. I spend the rest of the day filling out the bulk of the report. I go through each domain of the WAIS-IV and WMS-IV and hand-picked executive functioning test. I comment on evidence for change from pre-morbid (before brain injury) levels. I then hazard a go at the interpretation, but acknowledge that this needs to be discussed in supervision, and the results of the final session may alter the interpretation.
16:30 - Daily admin contributions to the service. The admin support is understaffed, so I chip in every day for 30 mins.
17:00 - Home time!

- 9:00 - As before, computer, coffee, emails, and calendar.
- 9:30 - Time to tackle a task that I had been avoiding. The trust asked us to document all systems involving patient identifiable information. This includes paper systems (e.g. message books). I start furiously entering all of the team's many systems onto the spreadsheet, one row at a time.
- 11:30 - That's over, time to focus on something else. I have a cognitive assessment after lunch, so I familiarise myself with the patient's scores, the plan of action for the next assessment session, and take myself to the neuro test cupboard to get the relevant assessments.
- 12:30 - Lunch time!
- 13:00 - Cognitive assessment time. The session is two hours and I administer a variety of different tests. Rapport is good and they are doing well.
- 15:30 - I emerge back into the office. After a quick breather, I finish clinical notes, date, sign and outcome the session on our computer system, and book in the next session.
- 15:50 - Time for some scoring, not forgetting to double check my adding up!
- 16:30 - Daily admin - the opt-in line for the pain service has had an unprecedented influx of people opting in.
- 17:00 - Time to go home. The assessments are interesting and fun, but very tiring.

- 9:00 - You guessed it, computer, coffee, emails, and calendar.
- 9:20 - My 1 o' clock initial assessment cancelled. It happens. This means some associated admin with rebooking and recording on the system the cancellation. This puts a lot more ease on my day, as this means no outcome letter will need to be written later.
- 9:30 – It’s half term, so no clinicians are in. This means fewer queries than normal have arisen. I decide to get even further ahead by starting to write the report of my other cognitive assessment patient. I’ve only seen them for two sessions, but I can make a start with the background sections.
- 12:00 – Lunch time. These reports do take up a hefty amount of time.
- 13:00 – I accept that this is a quiet day and decide to do some CPD. I read some chapters of a book on assessment and formulation.
- 14:30 – Time for some data entry. I add on a new batch of outcome data from the start of our group intervention on the database. This is very time consuming, as each measure used requires a scoring calculator, and dozens of Likert responses need to be entered in to generate a single data point.
- 16:30 – Admin time
- 17:00 – Home time.

- 9:00 – Computer, coffee, and chit chat with clinicians who have been off
- 9:30 – Our weekly new referrals meeting begins. We each take it in turn to read out a patient’s referral while the other clinicians listen. We make a joint decision about whether the patient is suitable for the service.
- 10:15 – While we are together, we talk about team-related queries. This may be about service processes and whether we are doing things efficiently. Today’s discussion focused on our letter correspondence with the neurologists, and whether there are more effective ways to get quick answers about patients who seem to be kept semi-permanently “on hold”.
- 10:45 – The next few hours are dominated by letter writing. I’m given a nice pile of letters from the referrals meeting. I draft letters to the referrers, explaining why they have not been taken on if the referral was rejected. This can be tricky, and time needs to be spent to find the right wording, particularly if the letter is being copied to the patient.
- 12:45 – Lunch time. It’s always late on Thursday because of the tasks that stem from the referrals meeting.
- 13:00 – Time to prepare for my 13:30 cognitive assessment. It’s a driving assessment, which is one that I do not complete frequently. I spend some time familiarising myself with the manual to make sure I will be delivering it accurately.
- 13:30 – Assessment time! These sessions are usually less jovial than other assessments, because often the driving tests are conducted with the perceived risk of someone having their licensed revoked. However, rapport was good and it went well.
- 14:20 – Time to score up and hammer out the report. The driving reports are much briefer, so I should be able to finish the draft today.
- 16:30 – Admin time
- 17:00 – Home

- 9:00 – Last day of the week. Double dose of coffee and a check of emails.
- 9:30 – Supervision is later. I prep early by copying over any agenda items from my task list that have come up during the week. I remind myself of the queries so I can use time effectively in supervision.
- 10:15 – A load more group-related queries have arisen since Monday. I spend some time dealing with those. I call some patients to confirm receipt of their messages, to explain the service, and to query interest.
- 12:30 – Lunch time! The canteen food in the hospital is quite good, I might add. I treat myself to a Friday tiramisu – delicious!
- 13:00 – Supervision time. I have acquired a few scoring related queries throughout the week. I present my interpretations and ask for feedback on it. I suggest test selection for the next sessions and gauge my supervisor's opinion. Lastly, we discuss whether there is scope for post-assessment therapeutic work.
- 14:00 – I type up actions that have been generated from supervision. I write notes to myself in the patients’ files about the plan for the next session so that I do not forget (I tend to forget the details if I don’t write them down).
- 15:00 – I make scoring changes on the back of supervision discussions.
- 15:30 - I spend some time to update my reflections log.
- 16:00 - I do some more reading as I wind down for the weekend.
- 16:30 – Friday afternoon admin.
- Home!
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