comparing PWP and DClinPsy training courses

This section is for discussion relating to the Layard report, and subsequent schemes like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies where lower intensity inteventions are offered in primary care
Post Reply
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:31 pm

comparing PWP and DClinPsy training courses

Post by sockmonkey » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi all,

I have recently completed my PWP training course which I have enjoyed, but found rather stressful trying to juggle everything, in particular the fact that my training was a good 120 miles away from my base so i was staying away from home 2 nights every other week and had a severe lack of routine for that period. I have had a number of other personal things going on in that time which have definitely contributed to my stress, so I'm certainly not letting the course take full credit!

But, I have an application in for the DClinPsy but am currently freaking out a little, in the mindset of "this was stupidly stressful, how on earth will I cope with juggling training/ placements if i get onto a course?!"

I was just wondering about people who have previously done the PWP training and are now on the DClinPsy training- how have you found the two courses in terms of stress, time management, support, etc? Are they at all comparable?

User avatar
Posts: 1434
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:18 pm
Location: The other side of paradise

Re: comparing PWP and DClinPsy training courses

Post by Spatch » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:35 pm

Full disclosure:I haven't done an iapt diploma, (only the DClinpsy).

However, I have worked with several trainees who were former PWPs and have noticed that the research element can present as quite challenging to that group (compared to trainees with a Phd or research assistant background). The dissertation and small scale project easily eats up extra time and can add all kinds of time pressures in addition to lectures, essays and placements.

Saying that I think it will depend more on the individual and their capacity to juggle tasks well, rather than any broad statement about all PWPs. In my experience, Most trainees reflect on the hectic nature of training, regardless of background.
Shameless plug alert:

Irrelevant Experience: The Secret Diary of an Assistant Psychologist is available at Amazon ... 00EQFE5JW/

User avatar
Team Member
Posts: 745
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:51 pm
Location: North-West England

Re: comparing PWP and DClinPsy training courses

Post by Will » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:48 pm


I did the old PCMHW course in 2008 which is what preceded the PWP IAPT training, and am currently a trainee on the DClinPsy course. The PWP course has changed quite a lot in the past few years (I didnt do any exams or anything) so I can't speak for what it's like now, and I'm sure there are differences across the training centres too. From my experience, I enjoyed the PCMHW course a lot - it felt like a good balance of practical role play type work and academic assignments, which felt really relevant to the role in a lot of ways. It was hard work certainly, and I remember putting a lot of my own time in to get the academic work completed - especially once I started with a caseload I didn't have time through my working days and most 'study' days were taken up with a full day of teaching at the university. I did feel supported by the management and I think they would have been helpful if I had been struggling - however this is again obviously going to be different across different teams and services.

In terms of my DClinPsy training, that's a different beast altogether. We have a study day every week, but it still doesn't feel like you ever have enough time to feel on top of everything. You have a lot of different academic work/research projects on the go all at once, and you have to balance that with three days worth of placement - which to many of us feels like the actual 'job' as opposed to the course. Then you have a teaching day every week, which is often an introduction to a totally new topic. You want to be able to read everything and know as much as you can, and the pressure of that can be hard work. My course is absolutely fantastic and extremely supportive - however the training is a challenging experience and it's important to go into the application process thinking about how you will be able to show you are resilient enough to complete it - particularly in terms of the personal stuff, which of course has a massive impact on your ability to manage the demands of the course.

So I guess my point is that it's definitely a step up from the IAPT training and it's always going to be, as it's a doctoral level course and it involves balancing a varied and ever changing workload. Most DClinPsy trainees will no doubt tell you about how challenging it can be at times. However from my experience, I found the PCMHW training to be good experience and it certainly helped get me into the mindset of balancing academic and clinical work, whilst helping build my ability to write at a postgrad level. My advice would be to have a good read of the forum and the wiki section to get a feel of what training involves - the 'week in the life of' articles and this post by choirgirl viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3547 might be good starting points.
Ponderings and wonderings in 140 characters - @willcurvis

User avatar
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:42 am

Re: comparing PWP and DClinPsy training courses

Post by fledgling » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:30 pm

I did PWP training in 2009 and am now a trainee CP. Much depends on other variables, as you are aware, but here are some thoughts on how I would compare the two...

* Working part-time + learning part-time= full time commitment.
* Limited allocated study time, so assignments often have to be done in your own time.
* The demands on your leisure time, and the emotionally demanding nature of the work, mean that it can be very personally challenging, particularly if there are other difficulties/life events going on at home.

PWP stress > Trainee stress:
* Caseload- at least where I was a PWP, there was a certain amount of pressure to 'get stuck in' and get names off waiting lists, even while training. As a trainee on placement, you are relatively protected from this kind of pressure.
* Access to support and supervision (in my experience) is significantly better as a trainee. As a PWP it was pretty much just my clinical supervisor (who was mainly concerned with case management), and staff on the course if needed. As a trainee I have access to a placement supervisor (who is usually as interested in my welfare and development as much as managing cases!), course tutor, an external mentor, research supervisors, etc...

Trainee stress > PWP stress
* I would not underestimate the jump in the academic level from PGCert to doctorate- a lot more critical thinking and knowledge of current research is expected, so assignments take a lot more time and work.
* Additionally you need to have a level of autonomy around planning and managing your research project(s).
* As a trainee CP you are effectively changing jobs every six months, which means getting to know new client groups, colleagues, systems, etc. You only just reach a level of feeling competent in one job before you have to move on.
* Depending on the course, you may also end up staying in B&Bs for placements part of the time, or having long commutes.
* CP training is three years long! I think the impact of this is something I underestimated. With PWP training, it was demanding but it was an acute stress- there was an end in sight. This 'grin and bear it' approach isn't sustainable for a three year period, so I have found myself needing to develop a different mindset (e.g. deliberately finding ways to manage stress, using the support available, generally lowering my standards and expectations of myself!).

I feel there was a lot I learned from both the PWP training and the role itself that have been very valuable to the challenges of the DClinPsy. However, as Will said, it is a definite step up- there is no escaping that it is an incredibly demanding course. I think many applicants just have the end goal of 'getting onto the doctorate' in their sights and don't pause to consider how they will cope with the work, so it's great that you are giving this some serious thought now- there may be things you can learn from your past difficult experience.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest