Best route to the DClinPsy

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sbrenner
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Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by sbrenner »

Hello my fellow psychology enthusiasts!

I have not previously posted, however, have often used this forum to search a variety of questions I have had; I hope you are able to advise me!

So, I am finishing university as we speak, and expect to receive a high 2:1, however this is not from a very prestigious university (University of South Wales). I have known my goal to be the DClinPsy for a while now, and have about a years experience working as a support worker, whereby the last 7 months I have become a shift leader, within an assisted living home for service users dealing with a variety of mental health issues, previously having worked 5 months with non-verbal service users. I have very much enjoyed my work and built valuable connections with all whom I work with, however, as mentioned I will be finished with university shortly, and am looking for next steps, so to speak...

Now I am aware that AP results are considered the "gold standard", however, with my current experience and qualifications, I do not see this being a possibility; AP roles from what I can tell are as (if not more) competitive than the DClinPsy itself; so, I am looking for viable routes. Now, would applying as a trainee PWP role act as good route? I am aware that upon completion of training I would not be able to apply for a DClinPsy for 2 years, however, I believe this would allow me adequate time to learn the most I can, giving me a larger basis to reflect upon. However, again, I am aware that these positions are massively competitive, though admittedly I am unsure how competitive they are now the ruling is in place that further application to funded courses cannot occur for 2 years upon completion.

What are my other routes?

Also, I am aware that the majority of students who attain a place on a DClinPsy typically have a MSc. I was wondering how beneficial this really is? I have read a lot claiming they aren't that beneficial for students who have already achieved a high 2:1 / 1st, however, will the prestige (or lack of) play a factor in my application. Should I look to attain a MSc from a more reputable university or just look for experience?

However therein my dilemma lies, I cannot understand how I am meant to get a job without a MSc, which allows for placements etc. which typically bolster applications for jobs, allowing individuals to meet more of the person requirements specified under NHS jobs.

Any advice would be massively appreciated!
alexh
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by alexh »

Why not apply and find out for yourself rather than imagining the worst?

There's already many other posts on what the alternatives are. However, the questions tend to come from people who have actually applied for a number of AP posts and been unsuccessful.
Therefore, may I suggest you apply for a few posts (following the advice on how to write a good application which you will also find on the forum (hint: tailor your application to the person spec and job desc)), and then worry about the other options if you're not getting anywhere, instead of ruminating your way out of giving it a try?
Similarly, why not hold off on the MSc and associated expense until you've applied for some jobs and secured an AP posts or similar, got the minimum experience and maybe had a run at the DClinPsy application process?

Few people in clinical psychology care what university you went to for undergrad or indeed the DClin itself

I've had assistants get on training with the bare minimum work experience and well written applications, recruited assistants who didn't have a lot of prior experience who performed well in skills based interview tasks etc.
Our language is a necropolis of dead metaphors. Sarbin.
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Geishawife
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by Geishawife »

I'd second everything Alexh has said. You seem to have fallen into the classic trap of believing the rumour mill and talked yourself out of applying for things. Whilst AP posts are useful and you can learn a lot from them, I don't think they are considered "the gold standard" any more, because we all realise there are many other ways of gaining skills and experience. Also, the job title itself will not help you, what helps is the skills you gain. I have had APs in the past who have assumed getting the job is enough, have done little to grow and develp when in post and have, effectively wasted a year because they believed listing the post on an application was all that was needed. Conversely, I have offered supervision to HCAs and Support Workers who have used the roles to gain as much knowledge and as many skills as possible and have really flourished.

As alexh states, the courses don't care where you get your degree, but they do care how well you do. So, use what time you have left to get the best grade possible and forget about the reputation of your university. Several of the CP courses are based in former polytechnicsand are every bit as good as those based in "established" universities, so why would they look down upon degrees from similar institutions?

Honestly, just forget about whether or not a job is a useful route into CP and instead apply for jobs you have an interest in and that would help you develop skills, because it's the skills not the job you acquire them in that matter. Yes, apply for AP roles, or the PWP route, or research assistant posts or support worker posts, or ANY post that interests you. But do it because you think it will help you grow and develop in the here and now, rather than horizon gazing to a mythical future.
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miriam
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by miriam »

Yes, this ^^^^

I've known people go from being a fresh graduate with a job in costa coffee to AP to training in 18 months. What it takes is well-tailored applications that show you've researched the role you are applying for and have transferable skills, and then making the most of every opportunity for growth and development. Whilst jobs are competitive, as someone who shortlists for roles I can tell you that the amount of people who actually write a good application is remarkably small.

I give this example to show that despite the rumour mill saying jobs are impossibly competitive to the point it isn't worth applying, that isn't really the case, and not to suggest that speed of progress is the goal. It can be really beneficial both personally and professionally to take your time gaining experience. I still draw on skills I learnt as an AP now, 24 years after qualifying! I would always say to focus on enjoying the journey and not waste your energy constantly calculating and recalculating the fastest path to the destination. I'm sure we've recommended it before, but the Alan Watts lecture on music and life is worth watching periodically, to remind you to dance whilst the music is playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERbvKrH-GC4
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MiniChestnut
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by MiniChestnut »

I also just wanted to add that during my own route to the DClin, I found that I was more likely to get the jobs that I was actually genuinely passionate about rather than the ones I applied to simply for being a “good next step”. Genuine interest and enthusiasm does shine through in applications and interviews, so I agree with the others that the best route will be one that interests you!
sbrenner
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by sbrenner »

Thank you all for your replies! I did not mean to come across in such a way that suggests I am simply looking for the fastest path, to be honest I am under the impression that I will need extensive training in allowing me to gain the experience I require so as to feel comfortable moving forward with a DClinPsy application.

Of course I intend to enjoy my journey along the way and as far as things go I can see myself being passionate in almost any role (e.g support worker, AP, PWP and so forth). Psychology truly is my passion and I feel I am able to gain wonderful experience within any of these fields allowing me to reflect.

I do, however, believe I have been caught in the rumour mill which ultimately has led me to panic and I am sure this in itself is an experience worth me thinking about.

I appreciate all your replies and plan to move ahead with my PWP application, as well as some AP applications. Fingers crossed, but either way, hopefully I can enjoy my journey!
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miriam
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by miriam »

Yeah, I wasn't suggesting you were looking for shortcuts. Quite the opposite - you were making the route seem longer and more arduous than it needs to be. I just wanted to highlight that saying it can be easier and shorter doesn't mean that the easiest and shortest route is the best option!
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sbrenner
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by sbrenner »

I have spent significant time scouring these forums but am dealing with some issues of self-doubt; I would very much appreciate some guidance as to whether you believe my experience to be "enough" in landing an AP role. I appreciate what is considered enough can vary from person to person, however, when viewing generally please let me know your thoughts.

I have paid and unpaid experiences, however, I do not consider them extensive, though I believe I have learnt a lot. My paid experiences include both full-time with non-verbal service users within a supported living service and part-time work with service users dealing with a variety of mental health issues within an assisted living service (I have experienced a lot from which I can reflect upon). Furthermore, my unpaid experiences include having designed a client evaluation tool for clinical psychologists whereby through the use of self-report measures we could gain more easily and assess the data collective. This role required handling a clinical population, with a need to adhere to confidentiality.

It is worth noting that within my most recent part-time role I have become: a shift leader, a keyworker and a health and wellbeing champion, also having gained experience regarding risk assessments; I have helped senior staff to determine outdated risk assessments and in turn been involved in the process of updating these risk assessments.



Many thanks!
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Geishawife
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by Geishawife »

I think an element of self doubt is very common amongst new graduates and it is fuelled by a rumour mill that would have us believe you need 3 PHds and 10 years of experience to even apply! That really isn't true. I have certainly interviewed people for AP posts with similar levels of experience to you. They have not been descended from Superman, but have simply taken the time to write a reflective application that demonstrates their skills and how what they have done has made them a good candidate.

I really don't think anyone can say whether your experience is appropriate for any specific job, because sifferent jobs have different requirements! As we have all said many times, however, simply listing what you have done will not help us to determine whether or not you are suited to a role, AP or otherwise. What you have listed above could well be enough to get you an interview for an AP post IF, IF, IF you demonstrate on your application how the experience has made you a good candidate for the job. It's not so much about sufficiency of experience as it is about how you use that experience and what you gain from it.So, rather than focusing on whether or not you have ENOUGH experience, look at the job description and person specification for the AP posts you fancy and ask yourself whether or not you have the skills/attributes being asked for. Demonstrate that in your application and yes, your experience will be "enough" .

Do follow any instructions closely. If aked to send a letter saying why you are interesed in that population, for example, send a letter! Also, tell the short listers what you can bring to the service, not what you want to get from the job. We all know that 99.9% of people looking for AP posts want to get on to the CP doctorate, so you really don't need to tell us that. But before you even apply for training there is a job needs doing and doind as well as possible so tell us/demonstrate how you are the right person for the job and will fit into the role. Miriam has written an excellent piece on her blog (accessible from the link below her signature when she replies on this forum) about applying for jobs, so have a good read of that for pointers as to how to structure your application.

Just to add, be careful what you claim and don't overstate what you are doing/suggest you are working beyond your level of competence. I'm saying this in respnse to your stating that you have developed self evaluation measures. We have had discussions before about the need to be very careful around the development of these and not putting people at risk. If you have worked with a qualified CP on this do state that!
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miriam
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by miriam »

Yes, my blog about how not to apply for jobs in clinical psychology would be helpful, also the post with the metaphor about getting a cleaner can be helpful in understanding what it really means to tailor your application (the search term "toilets" brings it up easily).
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Spatch
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by Spatch »

I am going to come at this from a slightly more oblique angle and from a broader perspective. I have started to think the best route to training is probably one that looks beyond the horizon of a DClinPsy and towards what kind of psychologist you want to be. Part of the journey involves knowing who you are, what will bring you joy in your work and what you need to sustain the career in a 5 year, 10 year, and 20 year frame. Looking back it is what I wish someone had told me when I was going into training.

Yep, so you do need the competencies and cover the bases to be a good trainee in the short term, but doing something that sets you up for your career afterwards will pay dividends. If you know you want to be a psychologist who is all about intervention, a good route will involve the skills and experiences that set that up. That may be research, therapy, assessment, neuro, management or other areas. That's not to say you need to have a specific target in mind like "8b in CAMHS in Dorset" or "the next David Clark", but knowing what you are going to be about, what makes you happy, what makes you miserable and what will you regret if you don't shoot for. For some the best route may be the PhD route, others a PWP or AP. I am just struck by how many of the skills in my pre-qualified route (RA->PhD->DClin) that I still use, and wouldn't have necessarily made those choices if I was ticking boxes or trying to follow a golden, ideal route that I thought all courses were looking for.

Being about something does help you become better at your longer term aim, but IMO also helps you stand you out from the pack and make you better for your DClinPsy. You have the purpose to keep going through the challenge of the DClin and avoid the "I am selected! Is that it? Now what?" valley of suck many trainees fall into who just focus on getting onto the course.
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miriam
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Re: Best route to the DClinPsy

Post by miriam »

I'm also someone that uses my pre-qualified experiences, though I thought at the time they were the least relevant possible! I wanted to do clinical work with children and took an AP post doing research about older people with dementia, but sure enough those skills have come around to being hugely relevant to what I do (and even work with dementia has reappeared on my horizon in a surprising way). So, whilst in some ways I agree with Spatch, sometimes it is fine not to have a grand plan and to just learn as you go along. In fact, part of the fun can be figuring out your own path based on what you like and dislike about each experience.
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