Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

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MarkM
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psycholo

Post by MarkM » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:41 am

There's a former MH nurse in my cohort, and I have learnt a lot from her, I think there are a lot of skills and knowledge that you will be able to draw on! (:

Also, I did my undergrad at City and took a module in Counselling Psychology (which I really enjoyed). The lecturer seemed quite in favour of qualitative approaches, so I wonder whether that just depends on who you talk to? Many of the undergrad staff are more keen on quantitative experimental designs but there are definitely exceptions to that. We also had to do a brief qualitative project as part of the research methods module to emphasise the importance and benefits of qualitative methods, so I'd say there's some recognition that it is an important way of finding out some things!

Good luck with your journey and everything!
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Leems
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Sun May 27, 2018 10:33 pm

Thanks MarkM. "It's what you make of it" seems to be what everyone I'm talking to is saying, really (as did you); that whether you do Clinical Psychology or Counselling Psychology the landscape remains largely the same. You make your own concerted effort to practice and research how you want to (whether humanistically, reflectively, relationally, and qualitatively or otherwise) amidst the various pressures and limitations of your role and the financial climate. Mind you, it's pretty much the same in nursing, so I shouldn't be all that surprised; but it does give me pause about doing a course that is self-funded when I could simply be as fluffy a Clinical Psychologist as I can manage and save myself 30k.

Counselling and psychotherapy seems to be the professions that really do their own thing and live closely to their ideals, but at the cost of being out in the cold strategically and politically. I didn't realise how much more time and money goes into BACP accreditation, either; I suppose the industry has to pay for itself somehow without government funding, but it makes the 'inexpensive compared to Psychology' label a little disengenuous. (If you're offended by these opinions, don't worry, they'll probably change soon enough as I keep researching.)

Nevertheless, I have a gut feeling that there is still a lot of room to manoeuvre in Counselling Psychology, and that might win me over; people like Mick Cooper (UK) and Jim Nolan (US) are impressing me with their fluency and unapologetic 'road less travelled' approach to their work and teaching, and I tend to go with my gut feelings. Couns Psy seems to be very big on the social justice agenda and that's appealing, too.

Now that I've done as much research as I think I'm going to manage to, I'm just going to talk to every psychologist I can get the attention of, but especially those working in unusual jobs to see whether the implied wider scope of Counselling Psychology is illusory or not.

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by bluegoat » Mon May 28, 2018 6:07 am

I came across this the other day which you might find helpful - videos of Counselling Psychologists which highlight the wider scope of the profession (and your favourite, Mick Cooper, futures in one of them!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw5Ng4GuGPs

latelifechanger
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by latelifechanger » Wed May 30, 2018 7:04 pm

Hello Leems,

I'm currently doing my MSc Psych conversion, and will likely apply for counselling psychology doctorates next year in London.

Reading your story (and about your depth of experience which I assume would make you an impressive candidate in a range of contexts) I guess I'm really interested/intrigued that the costs of self funding aren't swaying you towards applying for Clinical?

For me, it's pretty simple - I don't have your experience so I'd probably need a few years to become a viable clin psy applicant, am quite old, and quite restricted by family stuff - husband's job, schools....This isn't to say that I'm not attracted to Counselling Psych in and of itself (I really am), However with the conversion costs, Counselling Psych fees, personal therapy fees - in London, it is realistically 50k plus, and then you have to fund London living costs (on the MSc, I think it would be hard to work more than a day or two and do really well - you have to put in a lot of hours).

If I was likely to be a decent candidate for Clinical I'd have to really think long and hard about that option, and I'm really interested on where you stand? (especially since you could later use that money to do additional psychotherapy training if you wanted).

I haven't as much experience as you, but its been interesting seeing my (London based) Msc conversion course and the courses that people plan to pursue.

In terms of the most obviously 'academically able' people on the course, there is a pretty even split between PhD, counselling and clinical psych doctorates in their intended paths. What seems on the surface to distinguish those targeting counselling from clinical is that they are mainly older (30s and 40s), often with kids, often well-off career changers, often with prior careers in very different fields. On the other hand, those targeting clinical seem to be younger and have had their careers more within mental health specifically - they are well prepared for needing to spend time accumulating experience. Counselling psych's humanistic ethos and the dominance of therapy does very frequently get discussed as a motivating factor for putative applicants to that path, but at the same time, some of those who are focused on counselling psych are pretty 'quanty'/scientific in outlook, and some of those considering clinical apparently far more 'qual' focused.

What I'm saying is that I wonder whether circumstantial/practical factors as well as ideological factors will play a pretty major role in terms of the routes that people take. I'd also be really interested to know about how London courses differ in intake from other parts of the country that are a bit more affordable.

Anyway, my anecdotal ha'penny worth - and very good luck.

Leems
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:08 pm

Hi latelifechanger,

I suspect the "circumstantial/practical factors" you mention largely predict what routes we take, in fact, for the very reasons you give in your post and that were discussed in my post above; money makes the world go round, and there's nothing really to stop you being an ultra fluffy Clin Psy or a quanty Couns Psy.

My own circumstantial and practical factors are somewhere in the middle of the two sorts of people you mention above. I'm in my thirties, and am not on a bad wage, but am not made of money. I don't have children, but I do have to balance where I will study with where my partner (not in health and social care) can get work. I do have clinical, teaching and research experience, and so it's not so much a second career as a diagonal move that will probably make me highly specialist in a very short time. As such, the balance is not hugely in favour of Clinical or Counselling, so the determining factors are really more personal.

Yes, I did consider Clin Psy, and your post has helpfully made me consider it a little more, as I will admit to a certain amount of idealism around Counselling Psychology and perhaps even a touch of prejudice around Clinical Psychology that made me not really look too closely until recently. I might still go for it, once I've spoken to more psychologists. Having my fees paid is tempting, it's a solid and prestigious route, and I think I'd likely get onto it given proper preparation. But the idea of doing six relatively short placements in areas I'm not necessarily even interested in (such as LD and Child Psych) can feel quite limiting, especially given I've already done a two year training that was 50% working for nothing in areas I had to like or lump. Nor do I feel the need to be prepared carefully for an NHS Band 7 position. Given the multidisciplinary nature of mental health teams, I could have pushed for Psych Liaison Practioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist before this and done a lot of similar work. It says a lot that I didn't get a High Intensity Trainee post recently because, in the end, my heart wasn't really in it!

Instead, I can see myself enjoying the freedom of the Counselling Psychology training to do things a little more my way, but with the oomph of a doctorate that allows direct access into things like academia, private practice, individual projects, or consultancy, as well as still giving me a direct avenue into NHS jobs as required. In the end I go with my gut and I enjoy study immensely, so whichever route I take, I'll put my heart into it.

I am also sniffing around the difference between London and The Rest, as that's one way of being cheaper, and also exploring parts of England that aren't the South East, so I look forward to your findings on that, and will post my own.

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by hettie » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:45 pm

For me my choices were 60% about circumstances and 40% about the ethos of counselling psychology. I really wanted to train part time as I was pregnant and had planned another child... I didn't want to work full time when my kids were under 4.... At the time the fees were a fair bit lower (before the undergrad fees increased, there wasn't quite the fees inflation....) and I had saved a fair bit towards my retraining 'costs' (whatever they would be-voluntary/low paid work or fees) as I had a fair bit of success in my first career. I was also really drawn to the very definite stance that counselling psychology took towards diagnosis and the medical model and the importance of the relational model. Interestingly this has now become a more dominant discourse in clin psych. However, it is still possible to train without that as a focus. Our local clin psych course (I supervise their trainees and teach on the course) has a focus that is more removed from a counselling psychology... but the next nearest has a very similar approach/ethos...
It terms of variety of roles, my cohort are now working in specialist services (forensic), on wards, in health psychology settings, in private practice, CAMHS, LD ....I know consultant counselling psychologists and couns psychs who are national figures in specific areas (eg psychosis)....There are pockets where we are less wanted/accepted or seen as a much more mixed bag (and therfore a 'rsik'- you less sure of what you getting). For example depsite being qualified and a lead in my service (and well regarded by my clinical colleagues locally) I am not eligible to be one the qualified area of this site as this is exclusively for qualified clinical only. I think this is something about not being sure that we would share the same frameworks/approach to peer supervision (or not having a guarantee of certain standard)...? You'd have to check with Miriam but I think that's the gist....

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Spatch » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:34 am

There are pockets where we are less wanted/accepted or seen as a much more mixed bag (and therfore a 'rsik'- you less sure of what you getting). For example depsite being qualified and a lead in my service (and well regarded by my clinical colleagues locally) I am not eligible to be one the qualified area of this site as this is exclusively for qualified clinical only. I think this is something about not being sure that we would share the same frameworks/approach to peer supervision (or not having a guarantee of certain standard)...? You'd have to check with Miriam but I think that's the gist....
There may be two things being conflated here. The first is how the skillset and competencies of clinical and counselling psychologists compare, and how suited they are for various professional roles. Personally, I think they are viewed fairly similarly, with probably more disparity within the practitioners in two fields than between the disciplines. Mainly due to the flexibilty of Counselling Psych training, and the fact that there are many options for post qualification training and CPD. I can't think of many posts that would automatically warrant excluding one group over another, except in specific individual cases (e.g. a clinical psychologist without substantive person centered experience wouldn't be suitable to teach BACP counsellors, a counselling psychologist without neuropsych experience may not be suitable for a neuro-rehab job) or if the role requires it at an near existentialist level (e.g. Professor of Clinical Psychology).

The second thing is being eligible for membership of trade bodies, groups or associations that are set up purely to advance the professional interests of a discipline. These are not jobs or roles or related to respect or even level of competence but require you to belong to that given "family", which is why membership is restricted in organisations like The Association of Clinical Psychologists, or the qualified area of ClinPsy. It may be helpful to think of it more like Equity for actors, or the fact that I can't sit down at another family's sunday lunch, despite me being a wonderful son to my parents :wink: .
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by hettie » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:12 pm

You're right in identifying this site as a 'trade body' (so to speak). And I suppose it's the same as not being able to join the DCP... But I'm a firm believer in united we stand (and all that) and would like to see more areas of cooperation (hence my disappointment in the new clinical psychologist organisation not welcoming counselling psychologists whom have similar concerns with the BPS...) But I think as a relatively young professionals that in some ways is still trying to mark it's territory (in particular in relation to psychiatry) these splits and anxieties about defending professional uniqueness (with exclusive clubs or 'trade bodies' employed to boost professional status) is inevitable.... Counselling psychologist are fairly shit at this to be honest, God knows what that says about us.... :lol:

Leems
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:07 pm

Hi all, I was asked by private message how I was getting on, so I thought I'd provide an update.

I've firmly decided on the Psychology rather than Counselling/Psychotherapy route for all the reasons above in this thread. There's just so much more scope to do teaching, research, leadership, management as well as therapy (which I would still like to be the backbone of my career, mind). However, I'm now considering Clinical Psychology as well, just because I can no longer see a reason not to keep my options open given the discussion above about similarities and differences, and because I feel competitive and confident enough for either Counselling or Clinical Psychology applications. I also have decided I want to do a doctorate for the challenge. So thank you to the people who chimed in and helped me to consider things more openly.

The big thing that has changed is that I split up with my partner some months ago. While this feels a bit personal to post, it is highly relevant to this thread because it has changed my financial and living situation, as well as my priorities. I am now more able to relocate, and my funds are my own (I have no dependents). I have applied to the MSc Psychology of Mental Health (Conversion) course, which is the only conversion course focusing on mental health. This is perfect for me, and Edinburgh looks like a superb place to have my next adventure. I may not even necessarily do my doctorate in this country. I may be in a financial position in the near future to do the NSPC four year doctorate that will qualify me as an Existential Therapist at the same time as a Counselling Psychologist, and that's what excites me most at the moment, since I am interested in all things psychospiritual and have a philosophy background. But I feel that whatever course I do, I will make the most of it.

At work, I'm now transitioning into a senior nurse. I'm enjoying doing teaching, service improvement work and learning around mental health, and meeting monthly with a Principal Clinical Psychologist, so the CV is looking quite rosy. But nursing increasingly feels like it would railroad me into specific options, so it has to be Psychology.

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by miriam » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:27 am

hettie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:45 pm
There are pockets where we are less wanted/accepted or seen as a much more mixed bag (and therfore a 'rsik'- you less sure of what you getting). For example depsite being qualified and a lead in my service (and well regarded by my clinical colleagues locally) I am not eligible to be one the qualified area of this site as this is exclusively for qualified clinical only. I think this is something about not being sure that we would share the same frameworks/approach to peer supervision (or not having a guarantee of certain standard)...? You'd have to check with Miriam but I think that's the gist....
That's a strange way to look at it. I'd see that like an engineer wanting to join a guild for electricians, and taking it as a personal slight when told that they can't. It doesn't say you aren't respected or wanted or viewed as similar to members in many ways, it just says you don't meet the criteria of a specific organisation set up specifically to support one professional group. In this case, the forum exists to provide information about training and practise in clinical psychology in the UK. Whilst we've been inclusive of other wider groups in most of the public forum, and have threads about IAPT, educational psychology and counselling psychology, our peer consultation group doesn't allow international members, or trainees or other branches of practitioner psychologist because it is defined by being for hcpc registered clinical psychologists - partly because we want to ensure a forum about CP retains as many qualified CPs as possible. That doesn't mean we don't want to be allied with other practitioner branches of psychology, or willing to cooperate and speak with a unified voice on key topics, or that if we ever develop more of a "think tank" function that sorting from this site that we wouldn't want to hear diverse voices. It just means that for one element we defined a tighter subgroup.
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Leems
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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:34 am

A little update and reflection...

I was happily offered a place on the MSc Conversion course, but decided to hold off for a year. I'd like to have a longer run-up in terms of resources and preparedness, both personally and practically, and generally have a year where there isn't a big shakeup in my life. I received a pay rise (in nursing!?!) and my MH/HIV job remains rosy, enjoyable and relevant to my chosen route. I feel like to get the MSc Distinction I need (and am capable of) at the same time as remaining healthy and happy, I need to take a little more time.

At the age of 35 I am content to take it slightly less full on than I have in the past (i.e. juggling clinical, research, study, peer support etc all at once and being rather 24/7!). I'm reading panicked posts from others on here reaching the age of 30 and feeling like they're hitting some sort of arbitrary cutoff, which I can relate to as I did my RMN around that age; but the sense of being rushed or having highly specific goals is gone, replaced with a sense that I'm getting better at my work as I age and not losing my enthusiasm for hard work and study. Once again, not having dependents is a huge factor, and means that the kinds of money we're looking at for research/psych assistant posts is attractive and often comparable to my upper band 5.

I keep an eye on Research/Psych Assistant posts and there are some really juicy ones out there around things like mental health in A&E or the effectiveness of art therapy, which gives me a positive outlook on what to do after my MSc for a year if need be- they're likely to be things I'd enjoy as opposed to being perceived as a stepping stone. I could even do the QCoP at this rate. I'm very aware now that my quantitative research skills are lacking and that's what I'll really focus down on in my MSc, and probably in my next role after that. I could become a research nurse now for a year or so, but that would be a temporary sideways move that would be more of a focus on trial recruitment than the actual data.

The old question about Counselling versus Clinical Psychology is getting blurry, as I get a bit less fixated on my route and more interested in my personal approach to practice. When you can do the same jobs with either qualification, but one of them costs a bomb and the other is paid for... it's starting to be a bit of a no-brainer, despite my dislike of doing another dogsbody training.

I'm aware my approach is optimistic and broad at best at the moment, but things are working out so far! Comments, questions and criticisms welcome. :)

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:51 am

Time for an update at the New Year, six months since I last posted.

Last I was on here, I needed some time to plant my feet, have a quiet period, do a bit less career-related activity, and generally feel like I had options and time to decide amongst them. A big holiday helped to shake off some of the pressure- if in doubt, step away and come back, it seems. That also helped me internalise some of the good advice I've had here and to synthesise it with my own experiences and aspirations, which has come down basically to committing to a flexible plan, based on a more honest assessment of my limitations and desires.

I'm now a Band 6 RMN, a promotion which was validating of my clinical and leadership approaches and obviously good for the CV. Ironically it's also made me 100% sure that I want to move diagonally towards Psychology, because there simply aren't the appropriate boundaries required for good therapeutic work as an inpatient nurse when your 1:1 might get interrupted at any moment, or you have to switch to being the enforcer of ward rules in ways that tend to maul the therapeutic relationship. My work won't fund any serious further training and so it would be a move to a Group Treatment Service or IAPT as a nurse, which as we've covered in previous posts are somewhat limiting. I've loved the palliative care work I've done recently, though, so that really calls me in terms of specialisms: I've been looking into existential approaches, loss and grief, chronic physical symptom management and the like, and trying to practice around those on the ward as much as I'm able to.

Most importantly a new relationship encouraged me to really put together a workable, holistic plan. After a lot of careful research, I will now be moving to my partner in the US next year and beginning my Master's in Psychology and Counselling there. While expensive, it's adaptable in terms of the courses I can choose to take and has placement elements compared to the more rigid, academic structure of a conversion MSc in the UK. It also gives me options, in that I could choose to make it my terminal degree and qualify as a clinical counsellor if it all proves to be too much of a slog in terms of time, money and level of investment in work. If it's going well, there is an early entry option to a Couns Psych PsyD and a local, prestigious Couns Psych PhD that includes practicums and full funding. Having a partner willing and established enough to be able to bear the brunt of some of the expense is obviously a great boon that I know not everyone has, along with family assistance and the ability to work in a related area due to my previous experience. Visas are more complicated in terms of psych work, but that's not for this forum. I'm still applying to Edinburgh for Psychology of Mental Health, but it's a real backstop at this point in case everything goes to hell.

Did I choose Counselling Psychology over Clinical Psychology, then, I hear you cry? Short answer is yes, but no. In the US there is a lot more emphasis on the quantitative and the clinical anyway, even in Counselling Psychology, but as I said, the courses are more flexible, so I can pick and choose what I need to do more of to be competitive and meaty a practitioner and doctoral candidate (research methods, neurocognitive etc) and what I'm interested in doing in terms of practice (see above). Importantly, too, I'm more interested in the lifespan approach rather than the psychopathology model, and in working with less acute presentations. Having done lots of work with people with more extreme presentations, it's just not my cup of tea anymore. With the NHS going the way of the US healthcare system, slowly but surely, I need to find my own ways of navigating supply and demand as ethically and sanely as possible. Having a doctorate seems likely to give me a little more clout in that regard in terms of perhaps even setting up private practice with a sliding scale of fees.

I had some sense before that I could be doing research, teaching, leadership and practice all at once, because I've done all at once before as a workaholic nurse, but I think it's more likely that I'll focus on teaching and practice if at all possible and attempt to have more of a work/life balance.

Comments, questions, criticisms all welcomed!

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by Leems » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:25 am

An update almost three years after the OP. Yowsers. My route is far from the core content of this forum anymore, but it's personally helpful to post here and it keeps getting readers, so I will carry on.

Story so far:
2017- deciding on details of route whether Psychotherapy or Clinical/Counselling Psych
2018- became senior RMN, applied for Psychology MSc Conversion and delayed for a year to prepare further
2019- became clinical manager, accepted at US university for MA Counseling & Psychology with a view to Couns Psych PsyD

2020: Covid put a hold on emigration and study plans and I've deferred until spring 2021. I took the opportunity to apply directly for a Counseling Psychology PhD, but the content of the entrance exam in terms of theory and statistics was well beyond my knowledge, making it 100% clear I need to do a solid conversion course first.

I feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been to progress to doctoral level study. As a clinical manager I've developed a lot of confidence around leadership, clinical supervision, team dynamics, therapeutic skills and personal resilience. I'm firmly interested in going into palliative care: providing teaching and supervision to the MDT, using non-pharmacological interventions to support symptom management, giving advice on complex cases, providing therapy around loss for the patient and family; perhaps being a service lead in such an area. I'm sure this is done around the world by Psychologists in palliative care, but my reading implies to me that Psychologists somehow remain at the sidelines of palliative care, and Counselling Psychologists have a quiet voice in general, so I hope it is not arrogant to say that I hope to be part of changing that.

In terms of my previous posts talking about 'extreme presentations not being my cup of tea anymore', I'm aware after another year of practice that this is more about not wanting to work in acute mental health wards, focusing on acute presentations, and that palliative care will help me scratch my 'physical care' itch in another form. (I am a nurse after all.)

I see Counseling Psychology in the USA as firmly invested in the sociopolitical. I want to share in that, seeing what I can bring to the profession to enhance palliative care in a way that is equitable and aware of diversity, and frankly that seems very timely given the events of the year in the US and beyond. UK Counselling Psychologists in palliative care that I've recently contacted have told me that my route is on point for the UK at least. Completing my MA will allow me to get to grips with the clinical culture there to see whether my ideas are compatible with what is realistic and achievable, and to beef up the theoretical side of my CV. Plan B, that I qualify as a Licenced Professional Clinical Counselor, remains viable and attractive.

Questions, comments, criticisms all welcomed as usual. Thanks!

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Re: Mental Health Nurse working towards Counselling Psychology

Post by miriam » Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:03 am

You might be interested in volunteering with the loss foundation who have just advertised for volunteers on this forum to support those bereaved by Covid-19. It would get you some direct experience with CPs, and with a client group that sounds related to your interests, unless you can get similar experience in a paid capacity as a nurse?
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