Health psych, clin psych, IAPT. What should I do next?

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Health psych, clin psych, IAPT. What should I do next?

Post by jwardmagic » Mon May 28, 2018 11:38 am

I have a high 2.1 degree in psychology from a russle group uni. I will soon have completed a masters in health psychology with (hopefully) a merit/distinction. I have worked previously as a mental health support worker, a nutritional therapist, a brain injury rehabilitation support worker in two different places and 3 months as an assistant psychologist.

My goal is to get do either a clin psych doctorate, or a self-funded health psychology doctorate. However, I am at a cross roads.

In order to apply for the health doctorate for this September, I need to find a suitable (health related) job, now. This would mean likely working part time as a HCA or something else. The pro's and con's are below:

Pros: Possibly getting onto the health psychology doctorate this year, further work experience
Cons: Possibly getting a lower grade in my dissertation which I'll be doing whilst working, being stuck in a low paid job with a masters degree, whilst studying my doctorate

My alternative is to defer the doctorate for a year, and search for a better, higher paid, more interesting job or do a post grad diploma in low/high intensity therapy or CBT, and get a more interesting, higher paid job to do whilst doing my doctorate (and also possibly be in a better position to apply for the clin psych doctorate). The Pros and Cons to this are below:

Pros: Possibly have a better/higher paid job for later study in a doctorate
Cons: I will be even older by the time I'm finally a 'doctor' (I am almost 30 at the moment - want a family at some point!)

I have four overall questions:
1. What are your thoughts about what I should do, or, what would YOU do?
2. How, where and when do I apply for jobs in low/high intensity therapy?
3. Can you work as/apply for high intensity therapist jobs if you do a pgCert in high intensity therapy, without first working as a low intensity therapist?
4. What is the job market like/how easy is it to get a job as a low/high intensity therapist?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts! Thanks a lot!

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Re: What should I do next?

Post by Northernlad » Mon May 28, 2018 1:25 pm

Hi Jwardmagic

In relation to your first question, I think ultimately only you can decide which route is best for you based on your personal circumstances. I can't imagine anybody could give you any meaningful advice based on your financial situation and how soon you feel you need to progress.

My first question would be which career are you more drawn to? You have mentioned the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, the Doctorate in Health Psychology and work in IAPT. I would consider the aspects of each role you are curious about and how well your interests/goals fit with each of the career pathways you have mentioned. This should provide you with more focus in relation to the types of experience you seek out (although it does sound like you have developed some good experience thus far).

If I am interpreting your post correctly, your scenarios are based on securing a place on the Health Psychology Doctorate? If this is the case I am wondering where IAPT fits into this. I appreciate that IAPT provides more job security than other related positions, but would that be the most useful way of spending your time if you are working toward a career in health? My thoughts are also that IAPT would be a longer more drawn out route than taking health-related or AP type work, especially if you are considering self-funding a health psychology doctorate? This may be an important consideration if you are concerned about your age and rate of progression.

With regard to your IAPT related questions, trainee PWP positions crop up all of the time with the NHS and with other smaller private agencies and charities. Start dates differ depending on the position you apply for and which university this is aligned to. It might be worth checking local university websites which should provide you with the detail you need to answer your query.

If you hope to move into high intensity therapy you would either need a core profession (OT, nurse, social worker for example), or you would need to have completed the PWP PgCert and usually be at least 2-years post-qualified. Competition is tough, for both LI and HI positions; equally as tough as gaining AP employment and I would imagine fairly comparable to DClinPsy competition (this isn't gospel, I don't have any stats to support this).

I felt compelled to reply to this post as my experience fits with your descriptions - I have an MSc in Health Psychology, I have completed both Low Intensity and High Intensity training and I am starting the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in September.

If you have any more specific questions please feel free to PM me.


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Re: What should I do next?

Post by miriam » Mon May 28, 2018 2:23 pm

Hi, this post was in the wrong section (it isn't about cpd events) so I've moved it. It also had a generic title, so I've edited that. Take a look at our pinned guidance on how to use the forum (also linked from your welcome message) to understand why.

As to the question, I agree with northernlad. You still sound quite muddled about what each role involves and how each training route works. So I'd spend more time looking into that, given it will affect the rest of your career. And as I always say, focus more on enjoying the journey and less on the destination.

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