What experience did you have when you got on training?

Discuss applications to the clearing house (and to courses that are not in the clearing house system), screening assessments, interviews, reserve lists, places, etc. here
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by CatJG »

I will be 28 when I start Training in September - It feels so surreal to be posting here! This was my 5th application to the Doctorate:

2015: no interviews
2016: no interviews
2017: no interviews
2018: no interviews
2019: 1 interview and offer of a place

2010-2013 - BSc Psychology - 2.1 (62%)
2017-2018 - MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology - Merit (68%)

2013- Worked as a Support Worker for Adults with LD and Autism for 6 months (Private Sector)
2014- Worked as a Therapy Assistant at a Neurological Rehabilitation Centre - ABI, Dementia and Palliative Care (Private Sector) providing support to Psychology, OT, SaLT and Physiotherapy
2015- Worked as an Assistant Psychologist in IAPT (NHS) for 6 months prior to being promoted to Lead Assistant Psychologist for 2.5 years, line-managing a large team of APs, supporting service transformation projects and completing triage assessments and co-facilitating CBT groups. Nominated for a trust award for excellence in innovation
2018- Worked as an Assistant Psychologist in an Adolescent Inpatient Unit (NHS - Tier 4), whilst finishing a full-time MSc which I started in my previous post. Supported the team in co-facilitating a DBT programme and Family Therapy Clinic
2019- Worked as an Assistant Psychologist in a CMHT (NHS)- supporting the DBT programme and offering 1:1 guided-self help and brief CBT interventions

I always felt that my low 2.1 would stop me gaining an interview and place on a course and I am SO glad that I kept pursuing this career path, completed my MSc and gained interesting and varied experience in the process!
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by kfscotland »

I am similar to you CatJG, 5 applications later and I'll be close to 30 when starting. I tried to enjoy the ride but there were definitely times when it was frustrating and felt like it would never happen. This thread just shows the difference in each person's path to training.

2016 - 4 applications - no interviews
2017 - 4 applications - no interviews
2018 - 4 applications - reserve for interview (wasn't called)
2019 - 4 applications - 1 interview (no success)
2020 - 4 applications - 1 interview - Success!

During undergrad:

Volunteer befriender/support worker with Alz. Scotland (2012-13)
Applied and received for funding to carry out a summer research project between 3rd and 4th year of undergrad.
Support Worker in a residential supported living environment (2013-2014) - I carried this on for a year after graduating.

After undergrad:

2014: job carrying out neuropsychological assessments in a clinical trials unit as part of an MDT
2015: Research Assistant in Older Adult Psychiatry - responsible for recruitment to studies, data collection including cognitive assessments, data entry, ethics applications and amendments, creating patient information sheets and consent forms etc
2016-2017: Research Coordinator - post came up in the same team as before. More responsibility for setting up and operationalising studies, recruiting on a larger scale, communicating with colleagues in wider organisation who were helping to run the study (radiographers, ophthalmologists, research nurses etc) as well as same duties as RA
2017: Acting National Research Coordinator - Same team as before - provided support for 4 UK research sites and set up a 5th abroad. Continued to be responsible for recruiting and collecting data etc. as in previous roles.
2017-2019: Assistant Psychologist (NHS) - neuropsychological assessments, co-facilitated anxiety management groups, 1:1 cognitive rehabilitation and therapeutic work, ongoing service development audit and evaluation work, provided training to MDT, set up a research database and completed ethics and all other documentation etc
2019-2020: Assistant Psychologist (NHS) - high secure forensic setting - currently carry out risk assessments, deliver Low Intensity psychological groups and 1:1 work, more neuro, some research

I think looking back, if I could change anything it would have been to try and get supervision from a clinical psychologist much earlier in my career. My research jobs have been invaluable for understanding how to set up and carry out projects but perhaps they would have been more valuable within a psychology team. I applied to AP jobs when I finished uni and had a couple of interviews but didn't get the posts. I then spent 2016-17 constantly applying for AP posts. I interviewed for all of the jobs I applied for but was advised that the person who got the job each time had experience as an AP already or had worked in the field at hand for much longer than me. Eventually I succeeded but that was a lengthy and frustrating year. I am glad it's taken me this long in some ways; I am far more emotionally resilient now than I was several years ago, I have developed a number of skills that can be applied to training and make me feel a little more confident going in and I have learned so much about myself through the vastly different areas that I've worked in. I am 100% glad I don't need to apply for any more AP posts again though! If you can get through that process, you can do anything!
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by J1991 »

Very excited to be able to post on this thread, after reading and re-reading it for a few years. I will be starting training this September and will be 29 years old.

A-levels in Psychology, Biology and English Literature (C, C, C)
BSc Psychology with Sociology, 2:1 (61.6%)
MSc Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health (66%)
PG Cert in Low Intensity Psychological Interventions (IAPT training)

I really do feel my low 2:1 has held me back from getting doctorate interviews, but it's never hindered me in getting employment thankfully. On reflection, I think it is important to apply to places that are not ridiculously competitive, as any feedback I have received has usually been that other candidates performed better academically. I had been applying to London-based courses and never secured an interview in that region (also I never did well in selection tests).

-ChildLine: I volunteered as a telephone counsellor one evening a week during my MSc and for a short period whilst working full-time. This gave me amazing experience at building rapport, assessing risk and there was lots of role-play during the training, which has been very useful as in a few job interviews and my DClin interview I had to do a roleplay.

-IMHA: I worked as an Independent Mental Health Advocate for a year, which involved working in various hospitals/wards with people under a section (Mental Health Act) ensuring they understood their rights, supporting them in meetings and aiding them with any complaints.

-IAPT: I trained as a PWP for a year and worked as a qualified PWP for 8 months. Again, another invaluable experience where the training was really good and gave me the most skills out of any other employment/education. I conducted assessments, 1:1 therapy, group sessions and online CBT. It has it's flaws, but in my experience IAPT is a great service to work for, and also gives you useful skills if you want to apply to the DClinPsy in the future.

-AP: I have been working as an Assistant Psychologist for 2 years at an NHS autism service. The role has been varied, from conducting diagnostic assessments with a qualified CP, to doing 1:1 therapy and psycho-educational groups. I have had more flexibility in this role, so I could take what I had learnt from IAPT and adapt it to suit my clients.

-RA: I have also been working as a research assistant in the NHS for 8 months. This has been part-time (2.5 days a week) so I had also dropped my hours at the AP post to match. I am working on a clinically relevant randomised control trial, recruiting participants and conducting questionnaire follow-ups. It has given me a realistic experience of conducting research in the NHS and I believe the RA post really helped me secure an interview this year.

I have been very lucky, but also have worked very hard to get these posts. I have worked in cities in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, where roles are less competitive, so if you are struggling where you are and are able to move, do so. I think having a good mix of clinical and research experience will be really useful for aspiring CPs and really recommend trying to get experience in these different areas.
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by redpanda21 »

This was my fourth time applying, I will be 28 when I start my training.
1st application - 1 interview, unsuccessful
2nd application - no interviews
3rd application - 1 interview, unsuccessful
4th application - 2 interviews (but withdrew from Herts interview as accepted a place at Essex)

BSc Psychology - 1st class
No post grad study

Work experience:
- Learning Support Assistant for 1 year in mainstream secondary school SEND department
- Healthcare Assistant, 2 years, in the private sector; inpatient CAMHS, eating disorder inpatient, adult acute inpatient (3 wards, one hospital)
- Assistant Psychologist; 3 months NHS PICU inpatient, 9 months older adults inpatient (both at the same hospital)
- Assistant Psychologist, will be 2 years when the course starts; NHS community autism diagnosis team

You don't have to have a masters or post-grad study, and I loved that my intro into psychology was actually through an SEND department and pastoral work at a school. I didn't do any work experience at undergrad, I chose to aim for a 1st class degree instead.

Just keep going, you'll get there :)
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Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:01 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by delicatedoorstep »

I got accepted on my 2nd time applying, age 27, UCL
1st application – no interviews, (not a very serious attempt to be honest)
2nd application – 2 interviews, accepted the first offer

A level: AABB
BSc Psychology – 2:1 (68%)
Masters in Biology/Psychology – Distinction

Work experience:
- Non clinical work - 2 years working in bars/managing teams
- Healthcare Assistant - Part time for two 2 years working in adult impatient mental health
- Assistant Psychologist - 1 year in primary care
- PWP - 2 years (including some work on a research trial)

- No publications and very limited research experience
- Never had supervision from a clinical psychologist

Lucky breaks: (I think realistically luck/privilege has been an important factor in me getting on training and want to be honest about that).
- I was able to live at home during my masters meaning I only had to work part time making it easier for me to get a good mark.
- I had a really good relationship with my supervisor (who also happened to teach on the course I applied to) meaning I had a good reference.
- I was able to get an AP job partly as I knew people at the service meaning I had a lot of information/support to help with the interview/application process.
- For my clinical interview I was able to speak to previous trainees about their experience of the interview so had a good idea of what kinds of questions would come up. I also had help with practice interviews and good advice on how to structure answers meaning I was able to go into the interview feeling really confident.
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Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by duchyb13 »

I really like to structure of the above post, so I going to copy it (hope that's okay delicateddoorstep!)

I have just been accepted on my first year applying (still in shock), I will be 26 when I start.

A Levels: Psychology, Philosophy & Ethics and English Literature (A*AB)
Undergraduate Degree: MPsych Advanced Psychology with Certificate in Professional Experience (2:1, 65%)
Postgraduate: MSc Applied Clinical Psychology (Merit)

Work Experience:
Samaritans Volunteer- 5 years (2014-2019, I *adored* this role and only left because a branch refused to accept my final transfer :( )
(Honorary, for some of it!) Research Assistant- 1.5 years (2015-2016, during undergraduate placement year + paid ad hoc work between 2016 and 2018)
Assistant Psychologist- will be just under 2 years at the time of applying
+various other voluntary positions, little bits and pieces during undergrad.

-No publications, but quite a lot of research experience with three dissertations, multiple service evaluations and over a year working in R&D
-Just under 2 years of clinical supervision with Clinical Psychologists (whilst an AP)

DClinPsy Applications: 4 universities applied to, 2 offers to interview, 1 job offer + 1 withdrawal from interview (due to getting my first choice, please please do this if you can to give everyone a fair break!)

Also like the post above feel like I've had a lot of lucky breaks:
1) Being white, middle class and British in this field, which immediately gives me an upper hand
2) Getting an AP job straight out of education felt like a very lucky break- I had a supervisor who clearly saw something in me despite being very unexperienced clinically, and that led in a direct line to my successful application
3) I currently work in a very supportive team who were willing to do everything they could to support my application- mock interviews etc.
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:10 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by AJ555 »

I'll be 30 when I start
2018: No interviews
2019: 1 interview
2020: No interviews
2021: Four interviews

Alevels: B, B, C
Undergrad Psychology - First
MSc - Distinction
I presented my undergrad and postgrad research projects at BPS conferences and wrote something for The Psychologist

1 year casual support worker in A&E with a charity (hours varied)
Providing supported discharge to elderly and vulnerable people
9 months honorary AP 1 day a week (alongside MSc)
Older adult mental health
3 years approx Tenancy Support worker (mental health charity)
Advocating for mental health support, benefits support and homelessness prevention.
Also supported the in-house trainer
3 years Samaritans listener
1.5 years Support Time and Recovery Worker (NHS - primary care)
Low intensity interventions similar to iapt
4 months PWP - Assessment based role in GP surgeries

I've never had a paid AP post, but I have had lots of interviews for assistant psychologist posts.
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by willow17 »

Dclinpsy applications:
2020: applied to one course, got an interview but no offer
2021: applied to one course, got an interview and was offered a place

I’m 24
A levels: A, A, A
First in my Psychology degree

Did a couple of research internships whilst at university.
Also did a placement year.

Since graduating:
1 year as a Research Assistant
1 year and a half as an Assistant Psychologist in older adult mental health
Since applying this year I have a new Assistant Psychologist post in neuro rehabilitation
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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:42 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Simone91 »

This was my third year applying and I'll be 30 when I start.
2019: No interviews
2020: One interview, unsuccessful
2021: One interview, successful

A Levels, AAABB
Undergrad, English Literature 2:1
GDiploma Psychology, Pass with Merit

Work experience:
4 years, Senior Support Worker for a homeless charity
1 year voluntary work with Victim Support
1 Year, Star Worker in a CMHT (but with a lot of joint work with the assistant psychologist and access to clinical supervision)
4 months PWP (assessment based role)

I managed to get 2 publications (one for The Psychologist, one audit) completed, and one in preparation whilst working as a STAR worker.

It's been a real journey (stressful at times!), especially coming in through the conversion route. Whilst I'm aware of my privilege of being able to do the conversion course in the first place, I've always been worried I'd need to do a Masters as well, which I honestly couldn't afford to do. I'm also really aware that the screening tests have worked in my favour as both my interview this year, and the one last year, came from universities that use them.

My clinical supervision was so valuable though and really helped me learn how to put my practice into words, not sure I could have done the interview as successfully without that support! I also have a lucky break of having a parent who is a clincal psychologist, which probably helped my wider understanding of current issues etc. The only things I'd do differently (aside from doing Psychology as my undergraduate) would have been less time working in the third sector - I stayed so long as I loved the work, and didn't really realise how valuable supervision and NHS experience would be.
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:17 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Psyfer »

I will be 33 or 34 when I start:

A levels AAAA (the A* was not yet invented)
1st class degree in social sciences 1/3rd of it was in Psychology
Distinction in MSc Conversion
2 months Honorary AP
1 Year HCA
1 Year Trainee PWP
1 Year Trainee Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology
2 Years qualified Clinical Associate

2017 - 1/4 interview
2018 - 2/4 interviews
2019 - 1/4 interview
2020 - 5/7 interviews (also applied to Ireland), so far I have one offer.
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: What experience did you have when you got on training?

Post by Maango »

I can't believe I can finally post on this thread! I will be 28 when I start training this year.

2017 (test run) - no interviews
2020 - no interviews
2021 - 1 interview > successful

2015 - BSc Psychology (61%)
2018 - PGCert in Psychological Wellbeing (IAPT training)
2019 - MSc Foundations in Clinical Psychology (Distinction/82%)

Support worker in a low secure mental health hospital - 1.5 years
Assistant Psychologist in a neuro-rehab centre - 1 year
Assistant Psychologist working in a memory service - 6 months
PWP in IAPT - 2.5 years
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