Why do you *specifically want to be a Clinical Psychologist?

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DangerMouse
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Why do you *specifically want to be a Clinical Psychologist?

Post by DangerMouse » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:02 pm

Hi,

I was just wondering why people specifically wanted to be Clinical Psychologists Not, why people want to help people or why they want to be a therapist - but specifically what it is about Clinical Psychologist that makes you want to do it? Why do you want to be a CP - *as opposed* to a... CBT therapist or a Psychological Wellbeing Practioner (PWP), or a High intensity worker. What is it about Clinical Psychology - the role, the job that makes you want to do it? Why do you want to be a CP? Why not be a PWP or a CBT therapist - or a Counsellor? Why not do lots of different models of therapy (CBT, Psychodynamic, CAT) and do it that way (besides the cost and time). What it is that the role (of a CP) has, that the others don't?

I ask this as we were having a peer support group at work (I am an Assistant Psychologist in pain management, working with a couple of other APs) and we had this discussion...

2 things came out: None of us, despite 5 and a half years AP experience between us, knew how to answer the question "What does a CP do - as opposed to other roles (CBT Therapist; CAT Therapist; PWP worker)"
and we also struggled with: "Why do you want to be a CP - as opposed to the aforementioned roles"

Scary!!! :lol:

I was just wondering what your thoughts were - aimed at mainly fellow APs and trainee CPs.

Why do you want to be CPs - as opposed to those other roles?

By the way, I have read the wicki - and the What is Clinical Psychology Book (not cover to cover, admittedly - it's a bit dense!) and yet I am still struggling!

Cheers,

Josh.

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Post by Ruthie » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:59 pm

I am a CP.

If I was asked in a professional context why CP, I'd say I was attracted to the combination of research and clinical work and the intellectual challenge of CP work and the variety - so not just therapy and helping people, but clinical leadership, service development, consultation and teaching/training others. This is all very true so I'm not lying.

I think the variety is what differentiates CP from other roles.

But on a personal level - I'm really not that sure and i don't think I'm that unusual in that!

Ruthie

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miriam
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Post by miriam » Sun Oct 31, 2010 1:59 am

I think the lack of clarity of aspiring clinical psychologists about what it is they aspire to be is scarily common and one of the big barriers that stops people progressing. Its a bit silly to want to be something if you don't know what it is, and it also makes people very vague and woolly when they talk about their aspirations. It means, to my mind, that people are really just aspiring to have paid training and to work in mental health with a relatively well paid career path - and if that is the case, people should just say that!

But yeah, for me its the variety of the role, the chance to work at multiple levels including consultation and systemic work with teams and organisations, as well as the ability to link practise and research that stands out, as well as having superior assessment and formulation skills which draw on multiple models, and reflective supervision.
Miriam

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Spatch
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Post by Spatch » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:59 am

None of us, despite 5 and a half years AP experience between us, knew how to answer the question "What does a CP do - as opposed to other roles (CBT Therapist; CAT Therapist; PWP worker)"
and we also struggled with: "Why do you want to be a CP - as opposed to the aforementioned roles"
This is one of the most depressing things I have read on the forum- and yet it is scarily common. While I would concede no single CP can decisively say what is and what isn't clinical psychology, one would have some hope that people would be able to at least have developed their own ontological view of the profession they want to spend the next few decades immersed within.

Clinical psychology and psychology in general has a rich, wonderful and intricate history, but few seem bothered to learn about it or even aware of it. Even more disturbing is that is how little we see about the potential and scope of what we could do.

When I hear these kind of comments and conversations I feel like someone gazing at a defaced war memorial; that people strived, and struggled and endured all sorts of hardships. For this.
It means, to my mind, that people are really just aspiring to have paid training and to work in mental health with a relatively well paid career path - and if that is the case, people should just say that!
for me its the variety of the role, the chance to work at multiple levels including consultation and systemic work with teams and organisations, as well as the ability to link practise and research that stands out, as well as having superior assessment and formulation skills which draw on multiple models, and reflective supervision.
My concern with posts like this is that it gives people who are in the fomer paragraph the language to present themselves as the latter.

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miriam
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Post by miriam » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:40 am

Spatch wrote:My concern with posts like this is that it gives people who are in the fomer paragraph the language to present themselves as the latter.
Yeah, I thought about that and hesitated before I posted, but we have the same information all over the site and its in plenty of other books and websites too. Hopefully selectors can differentiate having adopted words from others and having some sincere understanding of the concepts.
Miriam

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

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baa
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Post by baa » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:47 am

Yeah, those statements are hardly state secrets :D Unless CP is like Fight Club. At least talking about it might inspire some people to think in more detail about the differences between CP and other professions.
that people are really just aspiring to have paid training and to work in mental health with a relatively well paid career path - and if that is the case, people should just say that!
That is probably one of the reasons why I applied to be a clinical psychologist :honest: I couldn't afford to train myself in a therapy without taking out a loan or asking the BaaParents for money. That is also probably the reason why I am not a trainee CP at the moment :lol: Lucky IAPT came along when it did really.

Today is Honest Sunday by the looks of it :D
At least I'm not as mad as that one!

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matt.berlin
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Post by matt.berlin » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:34 pm

The potential variety within a single job and also the diversity between different jobs within the profession is one of the things that attracted me most to this career path. I bore easily, so the multi-faceted nature of CP is attractive as it can hopefully sustain a working-lifetime of interest! :)

charley
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Post by charley » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:00 pm

I trained because, as a person supporting myself financially, I didn't like the insecurity of working in primary care as a counsellor and this was the chance to have a recognised (I won't say 'respected!) career path with a good salary

shadowfox
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Post by shadowfox » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:02 pm

I am an honourary AP but also work in the nursing side of mental health and I am constantly asked why i want to go down the CP route instead of nursing.

sometimes I think it's hard to be really honest about some of your reasons. And sometimes it is difficult to articulate them, like asking why do you prefer heavy metal music and not rap or country.

for me its CP because i think i would be good at the job!!! Its the top of the psychology career ladder.
furthermore it is a recognised profession and career pathway which lets me work within the NHS, the money is good, its relativley secure and its funded for the training. but you could use the same arguments for being a nurse (except the money) or a doctor.... but its just not something i want to do.

In truth i think would be happy just to be an AP but as an option of more than one year its just not viable as a career. we all have bills to pay and aint getting any younger!!!
its also primarily CP because I want to work with Mentally disordered offenders in a hospital setting and there just isnt anything like the oppertunities CP opens up. that just simply isnt there in Forensic psychology.

why do I really want to be a CP? because I want to work in the psychological deep end :) not very articulate but there you are.

I dont think I could say any of that in an interview for the course however :)

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Post by BlueCat » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:35 pm

Ditto all the above, especially the bit about it being worrying that so many people want to pursue a career when they don't really understand that career. Clinical Psychologists are not highly paid therapists. Clinical Psychologists don't just work in mental health. For me the choice to pursue this career was more about my passion for the subject, and wanting to work in an applied psychology field, and a belief in the NHS, and normalising rather than diagnosing, wanting to work at levels other than the individual and scope for teaching/training/shaping the practice of others. Also the pay.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

e
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Post by e » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:01 pm

One of the main reasons i started on the career path was that i liked the prestige sounding title of Dr and Clinical Psychologist.
I felt it would help me to become an expert in a highly respected position, and i liked that idea.
Obviously now its lots of other reasons, plus im stubborn and once ive caught wind of something Im not going to let it drop until i give it a good shot.
i think the monetary prospects help too.
i didn't understand what a CP was before i wanted to be one. now i have a better understanding i like the idea even more.

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jane doe
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Post by jane doe » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:43 pm

Actually LOVING the honesty on here today :D

I think it's fair to say that my motives aren't always whiter than white either, and I'd be kidding myself if I told myself that my 'epistemological position' or whatever was 100% consistent, 100% of the time... although I do try, and I do give it a lot of thought - except when I'm drunk, or hurt, or upset, or angry, or perhaps stuck in a cycle of trying to get on a course which is held up as some kind of holy grail (perpetuated in no small part, I'm sure, by internet-forum related anxiety...) that I forgot what I was doing it for...

And I'm not sure giving DangerMouse a hard time from a decidedly one-up position is the way forward either...

PETRAN
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Post by PETRAN » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:11 am

e wrote:One of the main reasons i started on the career path was that i liked the prestige sounding title of Dr and Clinical Psychologist.
I felt it would help me to become an expert in a highly respected position, and i liked that idea.
Obviously now its lots of other reasons, plus im stubborn and once ive caught wind of something Im not going to let it drop until i give it a good shot.
i think the monetary prospects help too.
i didn't understand what a CP was before i wanted to be one. now i have a better understanding i like the idea even more.

I believe that this is the most truthful post of the thread (together with the previous one which states "pay" as a crucial factor). The other more "formal responses" like "job variety" bla bla bla are just illusory attributions and explanations sorry :P No one goes into CP to be a researcher, they are normal PhDs for that thank god. No one goes to CP to be a bloody manager. People go to "CP" and not PWP (or something related e.g.CBT therapist) because of its highly competetive status, the formality and high-status of the title in the UK and the good NHS pay (which gives a "secure" future). In other countries (like the majority of the European countries) where the "CP" title (if a "formal" "CP" title exists) is granted through a standard 1/2 year MSc, clinical psychology is not that competetive and it is not regarded as (substantialy) different to any other standard "therapist" job. I believe that if you substract the social and economic factors, no crucial "job-selection" factor is really left.

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Post by chixta » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:32 pm

Jane Doe - Loving your honesty! I found it interesting that the first few responses all came from qualified psychs when the OP tailored their question to other APs and trainees.

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ell
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Post by ell » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:39 pm

Great idea for a thread - and I think it was brave of the OP to admit they weren't sure of their answer to this question and to give people the opportunity to be honest.

Having said that, I'm pretty clear on why I want to become a CP and it can be frustrating to hear that others don't. On the inside I am shouting "I know exactly what I want to do with this qualification - why won't they let me do the course!". To be honest my reasons are a mix of the prestige/money with the specific altruistic elements of what I want to do as a CP.
No one goes into CP to be a researcher, they are normal PhDs for that thank god. No one goes to CP to be a bloody manager. People go to "CP" and not PWP (or something related e.g.CBT therapist) because of its highly competetive status, the formality and high-status of the title in the UK and the good NHS pay (which gives a "secure" future)
Personally, I am looking forward to the management element of the role (yes I know I'm crazy), and the teaching and supervision element (have done a little of this in different contexts and love it), and the research element. However I would never want to do just one of those things. This brings up the variety issue again - I genuinely think that is an attractive element of CP. I am not going into PWP or CBT therapy, not because of the prestige of CP, but because they don't offer what I want to do (working with people with dementia and their families using a psychological approach, as well as developing diagnosis methods and the support surrounding this process). The idea of being a full time therapist does not attract me at all.

I could probably have a good job with lots of these elements if I went into mental health nursing, or maybe OT, or even S&LT. However, when I was 18 I decided to go to uni to study psychology (and maths, with a plan to become a maths teacher). Therefore I have a psychology degree, and it would be an expensive process indeed to attempt another degree to pursue another career path. This is a big deciding factor in my decision to pursue clinical psychology if I am honest.

L

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