I'm anxious about the competition/role/doing stats!

Information about qualifications, experience and the typical career path
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I'm anxious about the competition/role/doing stats!

Post by miriam » Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:22 am

If you are a recent graduate with a 2:1 or First in a psychology degree with BPS recognition, then clinical psychology would be a possibility, if you are determined enough that this is what you want to do with your life! As you observed, clinical psychology is extremely competitive, so it is realistic to think of getting at least two years of relevant experience before standing a chance of getting on the three year clinical training, so it will almost certainly be at least five years before you qualify. My advice would be that this is only worth doing if you enjoy the process - don't waste five years hoping you will enjoy the end point if you won't enjoy the experiences en route.

You need to get a good sense of what it is clinical psychologists actually do. My recommendation would be to both read about it (and this site is a good place to start, although there are also some good books), and to see if you can meet up and talk with people who work in the field (maybe local assistant psychologists).

As to stats, you will need them to do your doctoral research (as well as if you do any research work on the way to clincial training). However, as to whether or not you use them once you are qualified, that is a matter of personal choice. I've kept a research component to my job, because I enjoy that aspect of adding to the communal pot of knowledge, but many psychologists do purely clinical work and never touch research beyond qualifying. I guess that is a bonus of there being much demand for clinical psychology and a limited supply - we have the opportunity to shape our own roles and fit in a few personal interests.

If you decide to go for it, good luck!

It also seems worth acknowledging that many people seem to feel like they are "bluffing" their role as a psychologist and somehow don't deserve their post or their responsibilities and might be "found out" and shamed. Don't worry - this is normal!

To be honest, the feeling of being a fake or not good enough in some way doesn't ever entirely disappear (well it hasn't for me). I think the expectations on a qualified psychologist are higher, and therefore feel like harder shoes to fill. I also think that we often set ourselves unobtainable targets and then, unsurprisingly fail to live up to them. For example "I ought to keep up with the literature relating to every aspect of my job", "I ought to be able to have a gigantic caseload AND keep up with all the admin and other aspects of my role" or whatever. At the end of the day, we are human, and its just a job. We don't have to be perfect, and its okay to acknowledge our own limitations. It's still something that is a recurring theme in my supervision anyway!

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

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