Opinions - what else should I be doing?

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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Oneday
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Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by Oneday » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:22 am

Morning
I am an older applicant, this is for a number of reasons. Having children being one of them. For years I felt I wasn’t good enough to apply, I think the competitive nature of the process is difficult for me. I’ve been working in a psychology team with autistic CYP, and love my job. We follow the assessment, formulation, intervention, evaluation pathway. I’ve had some terrible experiences with CAMHS completely misunderstanding the CYP we support and failing to offer any kind of support. I’ve come to realise that actually I have a lot to offer.

I’m currently working towards a MEd in autism distance learning, whilst raising my young children and working part time.

I’m interested in anyone’s opinions around what else I can do to help boost my application whilst I complete my MEd and before my little ones are both settled at school. For example, I know I lack NHS experience so would hope to get something one day a week (probably honorary).

Should I apply a year ahead to experience the process?

Any helpful comments would be appreciated!

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hawke
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Re: Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by hawke » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:17 am

I found it helpful to break things down by 3 areas: academic, clinical and personal. Nothing is essential, but in my experience, you either need to be a good enough all-rounder, or have one particular area where you shine above and beyond other applicants. Often, it's not about getting more experience, it's about making more of the job we currently have. Through reflection, you can have the same experience in 20 different ways. If you already have a short-list of universities in mind, read their Clearing House entry to understand how they short-list so you know what they might prioritise.

Academic
Get the best grade you can, particularly on your dissertation
Look out for ways to disseminate your work - journals, conferences, within your work, magazines, local community groups etc
Know your basics inside out, from core theories to research design

Clinical
Try to get NHS experience
Try to get clinical psychology supervision, or at least contact
Identify someone who is going to give you a good reference, who ideally knows what clinical psychology is about
Practice applying psychological theory to new situations regularly, apply different perspectives to the same case
Get involved in service development, research, training, co-production etc, take the lead on projects

Personal
Keep a reflective journal
Practice psychology formulations and interventions on yourself
Know yourself!

Oneday
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Re: Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by Oneday » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:20 am

Thank you for your reply, you’ve definitely mentioned some bits that are on my radar and more.

We have had clinical psychologists in post, however currently have a vacancy. (🤞 it’s filled soon!) do you think it would reflect badly to have a previous one as a reference?

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miriam
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Re: Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by miriam » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:46 pm

Try to get something published. It really stands out positively on application forms to have a peer-reviewed journal publication. And apply for paid NHS roles. Don't think you need to wait and volunteer one day a week. There will be services where your ASD experience is valued. It might also be helpful to see CAMHS from a different perspective, to see all the brilliant work they are doing with children and young people's mental health - even if it doesn't always provide what outside agencies want for their client groups (and defensive boundaries due to greater demand than resources mean they have to focus on diagnosable, treatable mental health conditions, and not on supporting young people with neurodevelopmental disorders).
Miriam

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

Oneday
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Re: Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by Oneday » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:08 pm

Good re. getting published, this has definitely been on my radar. Hoping to get some traction with my Masters research.

Difficulty is finding something that fits with my child care arrangements, as yet I've not found something.

Definitely interesting perspective re. CAMHS, I'm very aware of some of the amazing work that they can (and do) do with others - and would love to be involved. Perhaps to an extent you are right regarding the constraints on their time made it difficult for them to prioritise support. However I found dismissing someone's difficulties with anxiety due to there autism diagnosis very difficult (despite the fact it significantly impacts on their ability to engage in learning, be safe around others, access the community and general their well-being/sense of self). My feelings were compounded by the lack of any assessment/engagement with us as a service. Perhaps it is the times we are in to a certain extent, however I thought the NHS values were supposed to uphold that everyone was entitled to help?!! And should not be discriminated against.

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miriam
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Re: Opinions - what else should I be doing?

Post by miriam » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:42 am

If everyone was entitled to help then there would be ten times the amount of referrals to resources. The NHS has only enough funding for the most severe cases that fit their core remit. Referrals have risen substantially and funding has been cut in real terms during the last decade of austerity. CAMHS only work with young people with diagnosable treatable mental health conditions, and only when those are very significant. They don't work with behaviour problems, or developmental problems, or learning disabilities, or educational problems. They only work with moderate to severe mental health problems. If the primary issue is autism, they might feel there are other resources that are better equipped to deal with anxiety that is compounding the autism than CAMHS, including the one you work for. Having some realism about services, and knowing how things fit together and where the gaps are is an important part of gaining experience prior to the doctoral training.
Miriam

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

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