Getting the most out of clinical training

Discuss the content and style of the different clinical psychology doctoral training courses, the differences between them, placements, teaching, chat to other trainees and connect with other people who have places on the same course
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Getting the most out of clinical training

Post by Psychbot » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:57 am

I’m about to start clinical training. I’m really looking forward to it. There is so much on this website about getting onto clinical psychology training (which I found really useful) but not so much about getting the most out of the training.
My question is how do I best maximise my time during training to ensure I can pursue the career I want to pursue post-training? (I am aware that CPD will continue post qualification.)

I’m not fully sure where I’d like to end up but a mix of delivering therapy, supervision and management work, and some research sound good. I’m particularly interested in work seeking to improve work practices; service reform, staff training, staff reflective groups, ensuring follow-through on policy commitments, interagency coordination. Well that all sounds good in the abstract but coming from a research background I have little clinical experience to date. I’m also interested in the development of assessment and intervention tools.

What should I look to get from my time as a trainee? Let me say first that I acknowledge the importance of developing my capacity for self-awareness and my reflective skills. I hope to improve my ability to authentically engage with the people I meet.
  • • Going into training should I be seeking to get familiar with 2, 3, or 4 therapeutic approaches. Should I, or is it realistic to, seek to get fully accredited in a therapeutic approach during the period of study?

    • Have others found it important to get published? Do publications open specific doors like teaching positions or is it important for securing clinical psych positions across the board?

    • While on placements I guess a mix of locations (community, secure care etc.) and a mix of client groups is best. But what other experiences should I seek out while on placements, e.g. competence on leading groups or setting up a group, team-based interventions, patient involvement work etc.
With respect to my training Is there a danger of wanting to be too broad, should I simply place more emphasis on the bits that fire me up, that is, become more skilled around a specific career focus?

What’s the best way to get a knowledge of the healthcare landscape, how it’s changing, how the profession is structured?
I have found clinpsy very useful in this respect. I have also found the clinical psychology forum publications useful for providing some orientation. (For others interested there are some issues freely available on their website: ... logy-forum). I would be interested to know if others think this is a good source of information and point of orientation for the field. Do others find it biased in any way or that it has a tendency to neglect a particular area of practice?

What skills do I need to do this: “making your own opportunities”?
Spatch wrote “For those psychologists that want to primarily do therapy and little else there is limited future progression than before... There are fewer consultant posts and making the jump up from band 8a is tricky. Definitely more interest and opportunities in the supervision, training, evaluation, audit, and service development aspects of the role than before. My experience is that It's less of following an established track than before and instead making your own opportunities.“ viewtopic.php?f=10&t=20695
Or are my questions redundant, are most of these things outside of my control? Should I simply focus on keeping my head above water during the training and make the most of whatever opportunities come my way?

Long post, lots of questions, I do apologise. I’d welcome any input you have.

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Re: Getting the most out of clinical training

Post by Geishawife » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:26 pm

I wouldn't say your questions are redundant, but I'm not sure they are answerable! What "getting the most out of training" means will be very different for every trainee and I'm not sure it's possible to quantify. Training will expose you to all of the things you describe in your post and help you develop ideas about the kind of clinician you want to be, but it will also change your mind about things! Whatever you feel about your future career now, it will be altered and shaped by your experiences throughout training! When I started training, I was SOOOO excited about the prospect of the child and adolescent placement! In the end, I DETESTED it! It was my least enjoyable placement and just reinforced the conviction that work with older adults was much more for me! So, at this stage, I would take every opportunity/experience as it arises and not worry about anything more than the current placement and the current assignment. Believe me, that will be more than enough to cope with!
Psychbot wrote:What’s the best way to get a knowledge of the healthcare landscape, how it’s changing, how the profession is structured?
You will develop this by being on placement in a variety of settings and specialisms. The landscape of health care is CONSTANTLY changing and part of training is being given the tools to change with it! Again, don't fret about it at this stage.

My best advice is not to expect training to make you "the finished product". It is one (albeit important!) stage in a long process of development. Take every placement, every assignment as it comes, make use of the support systems around you, use the experiences of others to help you develop your own ideas and remember that you are not expected to be "expert" in everything.

Good luck. I hope you enjoy your training as much as I did mine.

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Re: Getting the most out of clinical training

Post by workingmama » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:09 pm

I would think of training as your driving license: you would hope to be reasonably safe and a lot more confident about your ability to offer psychology as a clinician on completion, but would expect to learn the vast majority of your skills after training (when in your qualified 'area'). I'd see the years as the opportunity for a 'tasting menu', or a tapas if you will, which will give you the chance to see what you might like more or less of after training. I'm not sure if that places training as less 'what can I get out of it', which is admirably agentic, and more 'what can training offer me', which is more passive, but I think that's the position I now look back (as a pretty recent grad) at it with. It feels like there is plenty of time post qualifying to do some of that 'learning key therapies' work, and I'm now better placed to see which therapies I need in my post-qual work.

Not sure if that is helpful (or even really answered your Q?!).

Best of luck. I hope you have a great time. xx
Fail, fail again, fail better.

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Re: Getting the most out of clinical training

Post by Psychbot » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:38 pm

Thank you for your useful replies.

I’ll do my best not to fret too much and take every placement and assignment as it comes, and be receptive to what the training can offer me. I didn’t appreciate the extent of training that occurs post qualification. Also, after my first week of training, I’m impressed by the roadmap the course has presented and think it will help guide me through many of the questions I have.

Eating tapas while learning to drive safely sounds like a challenge :) useful analogies thanks!

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Re: Getting the most out of clinical training

Post by han10 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:59 am

Training is such a rollacoaster (or at least it was for me) I definitely learnt a lot but also learnt what more I needed to learn (if that makes sense?)- WM's analogy is a great one - I definitely did not feel like an elite formula one racing driver following training but a new learner driver!

It would be really interesting to see your reflections on this thread over the next three years - what you wanted and expected to get out of training and what some of the realities were.

There was another thread a while ago where trainees and recently qualifieds talked abbout their experiences of training I remember contributing to and that was a really interesting discussion - no idea of what the thread title was though.

Good luck with your journey :) I hope you enjoy the ride!

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