The A to Z of Clinical Psychology

Learn the lingo of clinical psychology, what the latest issues and legislation mean for us, etc.
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The A to Z of Clinical Psychology

Post by maven »

Any field of endeavour has its own jargon, and clinical psychology is no different. But fear not, we are here to guide you through those embarrassing “What is he talking about?” moments. For your easy reference we have come up with a list and brief explanation of some of the more common abbreviations and acronyms that are bouncing around. Don’t think of this as a comprehensive encyclopaedia, but more of a brief guide.

A4C/AfC: Agenda for Change. A scheme to modernise pay in the health professions (excluding medical doctors and dentists). This includes psychologists and led to the new bandings and job titles, see below. Click here for more info.

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a highly marketed condition in which a person struggles to concentrate, is impulsive and overactive. Often treated with stimulant medication.

ADD: As ADHD but without the hyperactivity.

AP: Assistant Psychologist. Usually a psychology graduate post working under the supervision of a clinical psychologist, and the most traditional route of entry into the profession. Although there is no “standard AP” job, duties often include administering tests, doing client support work and liaising with other professionals, or conducting research and audit, when it may be known as an AP(R) post. APs are often given administrative and clerical tasks to perform.

ASD/ASC: Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Conditions, a spectrum of difference from the norm identified by difficulties with social skills, certain aspects of communication and inflexible thinking. It varies widely and is associated with other presumed neurological difficulties such as dyspraxia, sensory sensititivity, attentional difficulties, tics, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

Band 5/6/7/8a/8b/8c/8d/9: These are pay scales relating to Agenda for Change. APs are paid on Band 4 and 5, trainee clinical psychologists are paid on Band 6 and newly qualified clinical psychologists start on Band 7 and work upwards. Exact salaries vary from year to year but you can check the Department of Health website for more information (or the RCN have a handy paycard online). Band 8c and upward are reserved for Consultant Clinical Psychologists, who have more than six years of post-qualification experience in a speciality, and have taken on leadership/management responsibilities.

BPS: British Psychological Society. The representative body responsible for the professional requirements for chartered psychologists working in the UK, they also represent academic psychologists and students. Although not a regulatory agency, political forum or a trade union in itself, the BPS advise on all aspects of professional psychology from the requirements of the undergraduate degree and the standards of conduct for applied psychologists working with the public to the direction the profession takes in the future. Their role may change as the Health Professions Council (see HPC) begin to regulate Clinical Psychologists this year.

CAMHS: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, a multi-disciplinary service for children and young people, normally up to the age of 18. Work may be done with parents, children, families or the network around the child. CAMHS now includes both Specialist and Targeted services.

CAT: Cognitive Analytic Therapy, based on the work of Anthony Ryle, CAT focuses its attention on discovering how problems have evolved and how the procedures devised to cope with them may be ineffective. It is designed to enable clients to gain an understanding of how the difficulties they experience may be made worse by their habitual coping mechanisms. Problems are understood in the light of clients' personal histories and life experiences. The focus is on recognising how these coping procedures originated and how they can be adapted and improved. Then, mobilising the clients' own strengths and resources, plans are developed to bring about change.

CBT: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, based on the work of Beck this therapy model looks at the relationship between thoughts feelings and behaviour and uses behavioural experiments and a technique of challenging thoughts to treat the client’s symptoms. Commonly used with anxiety and depression, but widely recommended for a range of disorders. There are now a number of therapies developed from the basic model of CBT which may include components like mindfulness and are collectively known as 'third wave' approaches.

Countertransference: is defined as redirection of a therapist's feelings toward a client, or more generally as a therapist's emotional entanglement with a client. A therapist needs to be mindful of what the client elicits in them, as it may also be how they manage other relationships, and this can become an important topic in the therapy.

CP: Clinical Psychologist (usually), but can refer to Clinical Psychology the old name for the in-house journal produced by the Division of Clinical Psychology (See CPF).

CPF: Clinical Psychology Forum, the new name for the in house journal of the Division of Clinical Psychology. Not sure why such a radical re-branding was required, but there you go. Does sound a bit like something interactive on the internet, but is actually a white A5 booklet.

CMHT: Community Mental Health Team.

CPD: Continuous Professional development. A system of updating skills, learning new ones and staying aware of advances within the profession. A qualified psychologist has to submit a CPD record each year to get their practising certificate from the BPS (though membership of the BPS is not compulsory).

CPN/CMHN: Community Psychiatric Nurse or Community Mental Health Nurse. A type of nurse that specialises in mental health needs who works in the community or in clinics, rather than working entirely at a hospital or inpatient unit. They often work in community mental health teams and can provide support to clients in their home.

CTPLD: Community Team for People with Learning Disabilities.

DBT: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. A combination of skills-based training, mindfulness and therapy that has been shown to have effectiveness with chaotic presentations involving self-harm (often labelled as EUPD)

DClinPsy/ClinPsyD/PsychD: Doctorate of Clinical Psychology. A (normally 3 year) programme of work and study that trains you to work as a clinical psychologist in the UK.

DCP: Division of Clinical Psychology. The part of the BPS that focuses on clinical psychology, and represents the interests of clinical psychologists.

EUPD: Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. The new name for Borderline Personality Disorder, a pattern of dysfunctional relationships typified by self-harm and indirect expression of needs that appears to often be 'attachment disorder grown up'.

GMHW: Graduate Mental Health Worker. New roles to deliver short packages of therapeutic input, normally to adults with milder mental health problems, within GP practises.

Grade A: Prior to Agenda for Change this was the banding for non-consultant clinical psychologists (now bands 7, 8a and 8b).

Grade B: Prior to Agenda for Change this was the banding for consultant grade clinical psychologists (now bands 8c, 8d and 9).

HCA: Health Care Assistant. A support worker who works very closely on a day-to-day basis with clients usually in an in-patient facility.

HCPC/HPC: Health and Care Professions Council (the word Care was added recently), the regulator for professionals including practitioner psychologists.

Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist: AfC term for more experienced, but non-consultant psychologists, matched to bands 8a and 8b.

IAPT: Improving Access to Psychological Therapies - a government initiative to provide more brief or early intervention therapy, normally CBT system uses "low intensity" and "high intensity" therapists, the latter being more experienced and having a formal therapeutic qualification

IPT: Interpersonal Therapy is a kind of talking therapy which considers the relationship-based issues which are often central to the experience of many depressed people. IPT uses a practical, time-limited and focused approach to the treatment of depression. It looks at any difficulties people have in maintaining relationships and resolving relationship difficulties whilst feeling depressed. The main aim of IPT is to help people learn how to link their mood with interpersonal contacts.

KSF: Knowledge and Skills Framework. A system of assessing various skills and competencies in different clinical roles, and apportioning pay accordingly. Linked with Agenda for Change.

MDT: Multi-disciplinary team. A team with different types of professionals in it, such as nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists, OTs, etc.

NA: Nursing Assistant.

NICE: National Institute for Clinical Excellence. A government body that publishes guidelines for the treatment of various conditions, mainly on the basis of research and other clinical evidence. Known to favour CBT, due to evidence base.

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an anxiety disorder where the person gets strong thoughts that make them enact rituals to feel better, such as washing, checking or repeating actions.

OT: Occupational Therapist.

PCT: Primary Care Trust. PCTs are English statutory bodies, part of the National Health Service, responsible for delivering health care and health improvements to their local area. PCTs have their own budgets and set their own priorities, within the overriding priorities and budgets set by the relevant Strategic Health Authority they belong to, and Department of Health. They directly provide a range of community health services; they provide funding for general practitioners and medical prescriptions; they also commission hospital and mental health services from appropriate NHS trusts or from the private sector.

PD: Personality Disorder. A dysfunctional pattern of relating to people, typically learnt from an abusive childhood. This diagnosis is controversial as it relates to legislation that can potentially imprison risky people who haven’t committed a crime.

PhD: Doctor of Philosophy (usually a qualification achieved by innovative independent research over 4 or 5 years)

PLD: People with Learning Difficulties (generally, people in the bottom 1-2% on intelligence testing who also have difficulties with daily living skills)

PMHW/PCMHW Primary (Care) Mental Health Worker

Preceptorship: The name given to appointing a newly qualified Clinical Psychologist on Band 7 of AfC, with a commitment to raising this to Band 8a after two years.

PWP: Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, the employees who deliver Low Intensity interventions within IAPT

RA: Research Assistant

SFBT: Solution-Focused Brief Therapy - a type of talking therapy based upon social constructionist philosophy. It focuses on what consultees want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The SFBT therapist helps the consultee to identify times in their current life that are closer to their preferred future, examine what is different on these occasions, repeat these successful things they do when the problem is not there or less severe, and move towards the preferred future.

SHO: Senior House Officer (a doctor who is beginning to specialise)

Specialist: A term applied to the core multi-disciplinary mental health service, which requires a referral from a GP or certain other professionals that meets specific criteria. For example, in Children’s mental health services, Specialist or Core CAMHS is the main team in each locality that offers therapeutic services for children and families affected by emotional, behavioural or mental health issues.

Specialist Clinical Psychologist: AfC term for less experienced clinical psychologists, matched to band 7 (see also Preceptorship).

SpR: Specialist Registrar (a doctor who has specialised and is training to be a consultant)

SoE: Statement of equivalence, approval from the BPS that a foreign or non-standard qualification is equivalent to standard British qualifications and can lead to chartered status.

SW: in a care context, Support Worker (may also be Social Worker)

Targeted: Mental health services aimed at vulnerable groups. For example Targeted CAMHS services may proactively seek out children and families such as those with learning disabilities, those who are Looked After or adopted, refugees, those who are seeking asylum, travellers, etc.

Tiers: Levels of service delivery. Tier one is generic/universal primary care professionals like GPs, teachers, health visitors. Tier 2 is single mental health professionals at an accessible locality, like a practise counsellor or GMHW or a school nurse. Tier 3 are multi-disciplinary teams like CTPLD, AMHT, or CAMHS. Tier 4 are inpatient or highly specialised services, such as a high dependency team, eating disorders team, or a mental health unit. The idea is that each progressive tier is more specialised (and expensive) but a smaller service, as it will be needed by fewer people. In newer lingo, Tiers 1 and 2 may also be known as “Universal” and Tiers 3 and 4 as “Specialist”.

Transference: In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a client's feelings from a significant person to a therapist. Transference is often manifested as an erotic attraction towards a therapist, but can be seen in many other forms such as rage, hatred, mistrust, parentification, extreme dependence, or even placing the therapist in a god-like or guru status. Transference can highlight important areas to address in therapy, that may relate to the client's experience of early relationships.

Universal: Services that apply to everyone, like those based in schools or GP surgeries. They are designed to be local, accessible (often by self-referral) and non-stigmatising and focus on shorter pieces of work with less severe or enduring difficulties.

WAIS: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, a standard intelligence test for adults that can only be administered by psychologists. Numbers or Roman numerals afterwards refer to the revision edition.

WISC: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, a standard general intelligence test for children aged 6 to 17 that can only be administered by psychologists. Numbers or Roman numerals afterwards refer to the revision edition.

WASI/WORD/WOND/WIAT/WMS: Other Wechsler standardised tests. The WASI is the Abbreviated (4 subtest) Scale of Intelligence, the others explore literacy, numeracy, achievements and memory respectively.

WPPSI: Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence is a standardised general intelligence test for children aged 2 years 6 months to 7 years 3 months that can only be administered by psychologists or other suitably trained professionals. Numbers or Roman numerals afterwards refer to the revised edition (currently WPPSI-III).

YOS/YOT: Youth Offending Service/Team

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Content checked by qualified Clinical Psychologist on 15.2.13
Last modified on 15.2.13
Last edited by maven on Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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