What experience did you have when you got on training?

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
Post Reply
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 7:53 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by ebp2104 »

I will be 28 when I start training! Sharing my journey as someone who went to art college (no A levels!) and completed an English degree (1st) before deciding on this career path. I didn't even know what a CP was until I was 22, and found this thread very helpful when thinking about what I needed to do to get where I am today!

2019-2020 - no interviews
2020-2021 - no interviews
2021-2022 - 4 interviews (withdrew from 1), offered 2x places and 1x reserve place

MSc Psychology (full-time conversion) - Distinction

2yrs Bank Healthcare Assistant working across Forensic Mental Health/LD wards, approx 24hrs a week throughout my undergraduate and MSc
10 months Interventions Facilitator at a Cat A prison, primarily delivering CBT-informed offending behaviour programmes
1yr Assistant Psychologist (Non-NHS) in a prison based integrated mental health service
15 months Higher Assistant Psychologist in a Crisis Resolution & Home Treatment Team (pivotal experience)
10 months (3hrs a week) Voluntary research interventionist on a national RCT
5 months Assistant Psychologist in an Infant Mental Health Service (current post, not on application)

Alongside professional experiences - 'exploratory' therapy has really helped me make sense of me, my motivations for training, how I position myself/the roles I take up in groups/teams and so much more. I'm not sure my form/interviews would have been as reflective without it.
I'll echo advice received - if possible, apply to courses that align with your values. I was offered places from 2 courses I had selected based on values/ethos. My reserve place was with a course I applied to thinking I'd have better odds based on numbers of applicants/places!

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2022 1:36 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by mixeduppsych »

I will be 27 nearly 28 when I start training in October 2023.
I applied when I felt ready and got on first time. I was offered an interview at one uni only.

A Levels
Maths B Chemistry B Biology B

I graduated in 2018 with a 1st in Applied Psychology.

Volunteer work
I did an SLV placement while at Uni which gave me 5 weeks relevant experience. At Uni I also volunteered as a befriender for an older persons charity. 1x every two weeks a few hours for a year. I was also a volunteer for the university’s nightline 12 hours 1x a month.

Paid work
1 year 10 months work as an independent mental health and social care Advocate. Full time.
1 year as an assistant psychologist in a community learning disabilities team. 30 hours per week.
Swimming teacher to children and adults including those with learning and/or developmental disability. 2 years, 5 hours a week ( not sure of the relevance of this).
8 months in a community neuro rehabilitation service as an assistant psychologist.30 hours a week.
6 months as a social prescriber. Full time.

While in all my posts I grabbed any and all opportunities to go on training courses/ information days, sessions and lectures. I am of a minority ethnicity so signed up to minority groups and lectures. I took advantage of mentorship schemes and was very fortunate to have a great supervisor that believed in me and supported me.
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:28 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by sophs97 »

I'll be 26 when I start this October, it's all feeling very strange! On reflection, I wasn't really ready until this year but was pushed to apply before, particularly the first time. So I suppose there's something to be said for doing things at your own pace when you're ready for them. As someone who found these threads really helpful, I hope this is the same for someone else :)

2021 - 1 interview -> unsuccessful
2022 - 1 interview, 2 reserve interviews -> unsuccessful
2023 - 2 interviews -> 1 offer, withdrew from other interview

2015: ABB at A level plus a music BTEC D*
2018: BSc Psychology with Neuroscience (1st)
2019: MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health (Distinction)

2017-19: part time Care Assistant in a nursing home for social services. Working with lots of people living with dementia & LD's - did this during my degrees and could not recommend it more highly
2019-20: full time Primary Mental Health Worker in the third sector giving CBT-based self help in GP surgeries & delivering ACT courses
2021-22: full time Assistant Psychologist in a specialist dementia team working with the Newcastle model
2022-23: full time Research Assistant at USW working within Welsh health & social care policy

Publications (for me I think worth mentioning as I'm sure they helped my application more than other things, like A levels for example, and I got a fair few before my RA post so I think it's worth pushing for if you're in a clinical role):
2021: 1 poster presentation
2022: 1 journal publication, 1 magazine publication, 1 poster presentation
2023: 2 (pending but accepted) journal publications, 2 poster presentations, 2 book chapter contributions
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:21 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by LittleIngrid »

I'm starting this year at the fine age of 33.

Applications - 6!!!

Education -
BSc Psychology, 2.1
Postgraduate Diploma in High Intensity CBT (IAPT), Merit

Work -
Whilst at Uni I did some voluntary work - mental health befriender and support worker. Post undergrad I worked as a support worker, nursing assistant, assistant practitioner. Struggled to get an AP post. Then I was a research assistant psychologist, assistant psychologist (x3), trainee CBT therapist (1 year), CBT therapist (2 years).

Publications -
2 published papers, one recently submitted
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2021 1:40 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by mlb »

I will be 28 when I start training this year. I applied 3 times to training. I wanted to share my journey here as I had a low mark on my degree and I never saw people with my academic background getting on when I first started applying - it is possible!! I am really glad to see the things that courses value changing.

Academic wise, I scrapped a low 2:1 in a Psychology BSc (61%) at undergraduate. In my last year at university, a lecturer advertised a post during a clinical psychology lecture as an unpaid Psychology Intern at a community CAMHS service. I loved it so much - I never knew what a Clinical Psychologist was until I did this role!! I managed to get myself onto my universities Clinical Psychology MSc which I then got a merit for. I volunteered at various third sector organisations throughout university.

After university, I worked as a Healthcare Assistant at a CAMHS inpatient unit for 2 and half years. I really loved this role and it gave me lots of practical clinical experiences to draw from.

I then moved onto working as an Assistant Psychologist (Higher Level) for another 2 and half years at a community adult LD team. I have learnt lots staying in the same AP role and building up a range of skills and managing a caseload - this then led to receiving 4 interviews this year and gaining an offer for training.
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2023 11:30 am

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by vjames »

I will be 25 when I start the training this year (October 2023), feeling very excited about it. I think it came at the perfect time, I definitely feel prepared for this progression. I did a "trial application" the year before, being fully aware that with the experience I had at the time I wouldn't get in, but my clinical supervisor encouraged me to get familiar with the application process so when it's the "real deal" I would feel confident - therefore I'm not really counting that as an application.
Upon reflection on how I got to this point, I probably wouldn't do a masters if I were to make that decision again. It didn't really add anything new to my understanding of psychology or various models etc, however brought some nice changes in my personal circumstances.

2022 - trial application
2023 - 3 interviews - 1 unsuccessful, 1 reserve, 1 offer -> offer accepted, reserve withdrawn

2016 - 2020 BSc Psychology (2.1)
2020 - 2021 MSc Applied Clinical Psychology (Merit)

Work Experience:
2019 - 20 / 2020 - 2022 - part-time ABA Tutor for a child with ASD, then moved to do my Msc and did another ABA Tutor role (part-time)
2020 - 2021 - Support worker for adults with LD, ASD etc in a support living home
2021 Aug to Dec - part-time Assistant Psychologist for CAMHS
- basically between 2020 September and 2022 January I worked in 3 jobs as well as doing uni
2022 Jan to Oct - full-time Assistant Psychologist for a specialist CAMHS LD team
2022 Oct - now (2023 June) - full time Assistant Psychologist for adult CMHS (community mental health)

Other experience:
2018 - 2020 - Volunteer Research Assistant at university, assisting with a neuropsychological research project
2019 - 2020 - Volunteer Childline counsellor
2021- 2022 - Volunteer CBT self-help group facilitator (TOP UK)
2022 May - now (June 2023) - Relief Crisis Counsellor for Mind

2022 - 1 poster presentation, 1 journal publication
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 24, 2023 3:52 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by MTC »

I will be 27, nearly 28, when I start training in September 2023. On reflection it has been a very interesting journey so far and I will try and detail things to my best ability as I hope it may help future applicants with certain experiences. Unfortunately I'll have to go right back to GCSEs to give a little bit of context. TL;DR will be at the bottom.


During secondary school my behaviour was quite erratic, resulting in a number of school suspensions. Things came to a bit of a head during Year 11 when I was suspended three times during my last couple of weeks and I didn't revise/work for any exams. I came out with fairly poor results, but secured the necessary grades in English/Maths/Science to get into Sixth Form, though I was 'banned' from taking certain subjects due to historic behaviour.

In the summer before my A Levels my mood turned completely and I became severely depressed. I started school in September and by October I was too mentally unwell to continue. I had never accessed services before but was referred urgently to CAMHS. At my assessment I was told that I needed to be hospitalised, and I could either go informally or, if I refused, I would be going anyway on a section. I agreed to be admitted informally, and by the end of October, at the age of 16, I was an inpatient so that I could be kept safe from myself.

I was an inpatient for the majority of the school year, I think 6 or 7 months. I was discharged at the end of April / start of May. As I was 17 at this point, I was discharged into an Adult Community Mental Health Team to continue managing my care, and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. As it was May, it was the start of 'exam season' for Sixth Form. Due to my previous behaviour issues, the school were not keen on me coming back, and they requested I sit an AS exam in History (one of my chosen subjects before I was hospitalised) to show I was willing to come back, and I think if I failed spectacularly they would use this as a reason to deny me to return. This ended up being a bit of a turning point for me. I had 11 days to prepare for an exam despite not being at school all year. I decided to teach myself the course in the time I had and I sat the exam. I got a B.

This result showed me that I might actually have a bit more about me than I realised, after messing around for years and not really showing or recognising I had any potential. People had always told me that A Levels were extremely difficult and I felt after this result I could clearly manage it. I told the school I wanted to drop down a year and completely resit my A Levels from the start. They recommended I keep my grade B in AS History so I had less work. I declined this, as if I could get a B after teaching myself the course in 11 days, I could surely get an A with a year to prepare. They said I was naïve, and a B was a great result.

I finished my A Levels at 19 (2015), receiving:

Psychology, A
English Literature, A
History, A*

(Incidentally, I was the only person in the year to get an A* in history, and this would not have been possible if I had kept the B from AS).

Following this, I started my BSc in Psychology. To protect anonymity I won't disclose where this was.

Things were going well until the final term of my third year. I had completed all assignments, including my dissertation and everything was handed in on time. However, a couple of weeks before exams my mood took a plummet. I would wake up wishing I wasn't here anymore and had incredibly intrusive thoughts and strong urges to get up and leave and never come back. I tried to push through and did my first exam, which went well. During my second exam, I mentally collapsed. I walked out after a few minutes in complete distress. I was guided towards my personal tutor by invigilators and ended up spilling everything out to her that afternoon. I was given two options. 1) Complete my exams and potentially have mitigating circumstances 2) Leave university for a year, and resit exams the following summer.

I was torn, as I was literally a week or two from finishing my degree. However, I knew I couldn't do it. My friends and family urged me to just finish the exams and get better afterwards, but I decided to put myself and my mental health first and I dropped out.

I returned in 2019 to complete my exams and finish the degree. I graduated with First Class Honours (eventually!). As I had already lost two years, one as an inpatient and a further year waiting to finish my degree, I decided not to pursue a Masters as I already felt 'behind'.


After deciding not to complete my degree in 2018, I had a year to 'kill'. I got very fortunate at this stage, I worked in a shop and a friend mentioned a family member of his was a Clinical Psychologist. He set up a meeting so that I could discuss with her my options and how best to go about getting experience before and after completing my degree. As it happened, his family member CP was the Service/Psychology Lead at the Community Mental Health Team where I was a patient after being discharged from hospital.

During our meeting, the CP offered me a job as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist. I know honorary roles are quite controversial, but I'm sure you can see that in my position this was extremely fortunate and an absolutely invaluable opportunity.

Therefore, I worked 3 days a week as an Honorary AP while waiting to sit my exams. In the summer, I finished my degree and was given my result. I started applying for AP jobs and was offered a fixed-term position in a Community Learning Disability Team. I had the phone call to accept the job on my graduation day.

I worked at the CLDT from September 2019, and as it was a 6-months FTC I was eager to secure something more long-term as soon as possible. At this stage I also submitted my first DClin Application as a trial run (I didn't have 6 months full time paid at the time it was submitted, so it was always doomed to fail). After around 6 months, I applied for an internal advert for a Perinatal Assistant Psychologist and was successful. However, it was now March 2020. COVID. I asked to be redeployed to help wherever I could. Therefore, the Perinatal team redeployed me to a female Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit before I started with them. After a month on the PICU I was recalled to Perinatal to start the job.

I started officially at Perinatal in May 2020 and I absolutely loved it. I think this is where I would like to end up when all is said and done. However, after 6 months or so, an opportunity came up I couldn't turn down. My local football club was recruiting for a 'Mental Health Coordinator' based at the stadium and with the candidate being tasked with setting up a mental health programme for men, funded by the national lottery (£371,000).

I started at the Football Club in November/December 2020 and set up a male mental health programme, secured funding and set up a female mental health programme, primary school mental health programme and a dementia programme. I designed and delivered on all of these projects. I applied again for the DClin at this time and had three rejections and one reserve for interview (not called).

In October 2021 I was promoted to 'Mental Health Manager' at the Football Club and continued to oversee the aforementioned projects, as well as adding a teenager intervention to the portfolio. As COVID was calming down, the football club were allowing people to the training ground and I started supporting the first team coaching staff and the first team playing staff. Things were going well on and off the pitch with the club cementing their Championship status for the second year running. I applied again for the DClin and had three rejections and one interview, which ultimately I was unsuccessful with.

After a year in the managers post, I started to feel I needed to change things up. My partner was pregnant and I missed the security of the NHS. I also felt I needed direct supervision from a CP again and this would help shape any future DClin applications and interviews. Ultimately, I started to feel really deskilled clinically despite having other fantastic experiences in management. After my son was born in January 2023, I decided to take a pay cut to get back in the NHS, and I applied and interviewed for a Senior Assistant Psychologist role in a Long COVID Rehabilitation Team. This was a 1 year FTC so I knew with a new baby it was a risk, but I felt for my overall development I needed to do this. I had applied for the DClin in November and was awaiting the outcome. I was told I had two interviews this time, which coincided with when I would be starting the new job in March 2023.

I started the Senior Assistant Psychologist role and interviewed for the two courses. I received one offer and one reserve offer. The offer was from my first choice University, which I have accepted.

Well, I think that is roughly what has gone on. I'm sure I've missed a lot, but I've gone on for long enough!


A Levels - A*AA
BSc Psychology - 1st Class

2019/2020 - Trial
2020/2021 - Reserve for Interview (not called)
2021/2022 - One interview (unsuccessful)
2022/2023 - Two interviews (one offer, one reserve for offer)

2018 - 2019 - Honorary Assistant Psychologist (9 months)
2019 - 2020 - Assistant Psychologist, Learning Disability (6 months)
2020 - 2020 - Assistant Psychologist, Perinatal Mental Health (6 months)
2020 - 2021 - Mental Health Coordinator, Football Club (1 year)
2021 - 2023 - Mental Health Manager, Football Club (18 months)
2023 - Present - Senior Assistant Psychologist, Long COVID Rehabilitation Team
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:53 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Sheep21 »

mlb wrote: Thu Jun 01, 2023 3:50 pm I will be 28 when I start training this year. I applied 3 times to training. I wanted to share my journey here as I had a low mark on my degree and I never saw people with my academic background getting on when I first started applying - it is possible!! I am really glad to see the things that courses value changing.
Great Job
MTC wrote: Wed Jun 07, 2023 10:37 am I will be 27, nearly 28, when I start training in September 2023. On reflection it has been a very interesting journey so far and I will try and detail things to my best ability as I hope it may help future applicants with certain experiences.
Love this and absolutely delighted for you, well done!
Last edited by miriam on Sat Jun 24, 2023 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: I shortened the quotes, as this is a thread with a very tight focus and we don't normally permit conversational posts, but i agree - both good examples to see!
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2021 1:53 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Sheep21 »

I will be 35 when starting training, really makes turning 35 special in a good way, what a dream come true after fighting against the odds and persevering for so long and being thrown opportunities and challenges along the way! I started my journey at 19, so this is for those who don't follow the typical trajectory. Dealt with a lot of trauma in childhood and adulthood, possibly undiagnosed ADD, low socio- economic background and physical health problems. Stay at it, if you want it bad enough, you can make anything happen! Also massively appreciate the support from lovely people from this forum (Thanks a bunch Miriam) and the UK Clinical Psychology Doctorate Applicants Facebook group. I didn't have access to a Clinical Psychologist Supervisor however was very lucky to benefit from supports and mentorship from this forum, the FB group and Twitter and got great guidance from Sharon B, Clinical Psychology Community UK, The Worry People and The Oxford Psych found on Youtube and Instagram. The UK community is so much better and helpful than the Irish community sadly so again really appreciated all this support.

2006 - Repeated A Levels - Not great results, average
2007 - 2010 - BSc Psychology - 2.2 or 50%
2010 - 2012 - MSc in Psychological Science - 2.2 or 50% - (Only consider doing further education if you got a low 60% or lower, or if you're brilliant at short listing tests then forget about that and apply to Lancaster etc. with a chance to get on the DClinPsy, there are other ways such as Plymouth and Exeter, if you didn't get a 2.1 but have mitigating circumstances).
2017 - 2021 - MSc in Applied Psychology (Distinction/75%) alongside PWP training (73%)

Applications to UK and Ireland (look up the common travel agreement to increase your chances if you don't mind travelling)
2016/2017 - no interviews
2021/2022 - One interview and got a last minute call for an interview from the reserve list - both unsuccessful outcomes
2022/2023 - 6 interviews - 2 unsuccessful, 2 reserve lists and 2 places offered (1 place was offered to me from no.3 on the reserve list)

Work Experience
2000 - 2016 - Working in multiple jobs such as cleaning, babysitting, coffee shops etc. while studying and working in psych relevant roles.
2011 - 2015 - Care Assistant Relief Worker
2012 - 2012 - Volunteer Research Assistant (6 months)
2012 - 2012 - Another Volunteer Research Assistant post (6 months)
2013 - 2017 - Volunteer Support Group Facilitator for Mental Health
2015 - 2016 - Honorary Assistant Psychologist (1 year)
2016 - 2017 - Psychology Project Worker (6 months)
2017 - 2017 - Social Care Worker and Shift Leader (6 months)
2017 - 2018 - Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (T-PWP) (1 year)
2018 - 2019 - Assistant Psychologist, Learning Disability (6 months)
2019 - 2021 - Stopped working due to serious health problems
2021 - 2022 - Despite looking for work, very hard to find it due to ongoing health problems, long absence from work and employers reluctance to take me on
2022 - 2023 - Social Care Worker (6 months)
2023 - present - Assistant Forensic Psychologist

While in my posts, I engaged in training days, CPD, distance diplomas, lecturer experience, sat in on presentation days and other opportunities to go on training courses/ information days.

Research Dissemination Experience
2011 - MSc Psychology Department Presentation
2021 - Emailed relevant bodies regarding the findings of my 2nd MSc Research Project
2022 - Northern Ireland BPS Conference Presentation
2022 - Submitted Journal Article for publication, currently awaiting a response after making corrections to the reviewers

The End.
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:58 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by MFHG »

34 when I start training. Am LGBT, have LE, chronic health issues, and a career changer. Applied twice.


Refugee volunteer worker
LGBT volunteer peer supporter
1 year part-time support worker in supported accommodation (enduring MH)
6 month crisis support worker (suicide prevention)
4 months national COVID crisis response team (variety of presentations)
2 years AP (evaluation/research heavy)
10 yrs eclectic jobs


Social science undergrad (2:1)
MSc conversion (1st)

Submitted brief report 2021 (developing a new scale) (pending publication)
Evaluation reports disseminated to government/other stakeholders

2021: 3 rejections, 1 reserve list interview spot, no interviews
2022: 4 interviews, withdrew from 1, 3 offers

I got through the applications with support from peers on training, the minorities network, this forum and AP friends, finding your tribe helps! The interviews were gnarly but I focused on what I value and am passionate about (equality and diversity, trauma, systemic and social issues, burnout, partnership working). Other than that I am involved in E&D work and some local activism. My advice is to find what you're passionate about and go for it, and think broadly in terms of the skills trainee CPs need and use. And look after yourself, it's a wild ride.
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2022 9:00 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by CLU96 »

I will be 26 turning 27 when I begin training in October.

I applied for the first time this year as it was the first time I felt ‘ready’ to. I applied to 3 courses and received 1 reserve for interview (south wales) and two interviews (Exeter and Bath). I received offers from both Exeter and Bath.

A-levels: Psychology A* , History A and Biology C
BSc Psychology (first)
MSc Health Psychology (merit)

Paid work:
Worked in a general hospital for 8/9 months after leaving sixth for in 2015 as a health care assistant.

Started BSc in 2017 and my circumstances meant that I needed to work full time hours in hospitality jobs to fund living costs whilst studying. For my 2nd and 3rd year I also worked on the bank for my local NHS mental health trust and tried to do 1/2 shifts a week gaining experience in as many settings/ with as many client groups as possible.

In 2020 I began working in a community rehabilitation service full time alongside doing my masters full time (disclaimer- I personally don’t recommend doing this if you have the choice/flexibility!). This initial role was a junior entry level position but gave me amazing opportunities to work 1:1 with people who had experienced a diverse range of mental health challenges. This role also gave me lots of insight and knowledge into housing, OT, homelessness, physical health comobidities, addiction and many other valuable aspects of mental health.
In may 2021 I was promoted into a different role in the same service and was able to hold my own case load, care plan, carry out assessments, deliver low intensity interventions and work in more long-term therapeutic ways. I also delivered psycho education groups.

This service is where I got the bulk of my experience and I’d say I really did take every opportunity to work with other practitioners in the MDT, engage in training/develop offered to me (and seek out training opportunities not offered directly!).

At the time of application I’d published my undergraduate dissertation and was preparing to publish a second paper.

I have never held and AP position.
Post Reply