Research & DClinPsy

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
Post Reply
lunathecat
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:38 pm

Research & DClinPsy

Post by lunathecat » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:52 pm

Hi there,

I wonder if anyone has undertaken the DClinPsy knowing that they do not enjoy/feel competent in research skills? I completed an MSc in Psychology and I really did not enjoy research modules. I achieved good grades in them but felt extremely stressed during as I did not feel like I ever really 'got it' - particularly quantitative. I was always planning on aiming for the DClinPsy as the role appeals to me, and I currently work as a PWP. However, I wondered if anyone else has taken the DClinPsy knowing full well they would probably struggle with the research component? I truly value being a scientist-practitioner, and the counselling psych doctorate might be more appropriate for me as it has less of a research focus, but I can't afford to self fund it.

Does anyone have any advice or had statistics anxiety themselves and still successfully completed the DClinPsy?

Thank you

lakeland
Posts: 943
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:18 pm

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by lakeland » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:57 pm

I felt like I was terrible at research. I liked coming up with ideas and collecting data, but things like systematic reviews were beyond me. I managed to pass my research modules, my viva and complete the course on time.

No real advice other than to get as much help as you can from research tutors and other sources like librarians. My current Trust will help staff with literature reviews etc. And pick a topic you love, because you will hate the whole thing, so at least if the topic is interesting, it will keep you going.

User avatar
mungle
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:07 pm
Location: Midlands

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by mungle » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:17 pm

Lunathecat - I'm not sure whether it's about not liking research or not feeling confident in it. It is different in the doctorate as you are carrying out a project and discerning how to use and interpret stats or qual methods for the project rather than drilling knowledge and exercises on statistics. To strengthen your research skills you could volunteer to be part of any research teams you can find, practise some methodology in a service evaluation project, read more research journal articles and read dclinpsy thesis which are now usually published online.

If you really dislike research then I'd re-consider CP and think about similar careers that don't involved doctoral study. However, you might find that doing more of the above stokes your interest in research.

User avatar
miriam
Site Admin
Posts: 7920
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks
Contact:

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by miriam » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:40 pm

Indeed. To me research is an inherent part of the profession, and a very large proportion of what I do and how I understand (and contribute to) the evidence base.
Miriam

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

User avatar
Geishawife
Team Member
Posts: 860
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:10 pm

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by Geishawife » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:29 pm

Is it research generally or just statistics that scares you? I don't want to sound pedantic, but they are different things. If you really don't enjoy the research process (coming up with the question, planning how to investigate it, collecting data, working out what the data is telling you, etc) then you are going to struggle with CP training. If, however, that aspect excites you but it is the STATISTICS that scares you that's slightly different. There are resources to help with the statistics (and I would guess you are not alone in being scared of stats) and they are only one aspect of the research process. Being able to conduct and understand research is integral to the CP role, but you don't have to enjoy stats to enjoy research (if that makes sense?). It's maybe worth reflecting on what it is that really scares you and, if it's the whole research process, then CP will probably not be the best fit.

hawke
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:10 am

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by hawke » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:22 pm

I would definitely have put myself in this camp before starting the doctorate. Likewise, I always did well in it in my pre-academic life, but never felt 'comfortable' with it.

I would recommend doing some reflection on why you don't enjoy it. For example, I have learned that the context really matters for me - the culture of academia just doesn't bring out the best in me, whereas real-world research in the NHS really engages me because I can see the people it immediately benefits and the demands of the NHS mean you're often doing quite small-scale simple research that is really valued by the team.

For my thesis, I picked to work within a research team with my supervisor's project, rather than go it alone with my own idea. Obviously this means I am missing out on some of the process, but it has also made research feel more like a 'team project' rather than my own research baby. I really like this way of working, and it has meant I have lots of support around me in my weaker area of study. I'm even doing a meta-analysis, which I would never have thought possible.

The workload on the doctorate is high, and increasingly research-focused as you move through the years. While you can get by with weaker areas, it definitely makes life more difficult. You stop having the luxury of time and energy to throw at work areas you are less strong in, and life is much easier if you are more of a natural at something. Having said that, support is definitely available - but has meant swallowing my pride at times and admitting I need guidance!

lingua_franca
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by lingua_franca » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:30 pm

lunathecat wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:52 pm
Does anyone have any advice or had statistics anxiety themselves and still successfully completed the DClinPsy?

Thank you
I'm an academic rather than a clinician, but I had significant anxiety around anything mathsy. As a child I would have panic attacks at school and be in floods of tears over my maths homework. In my case, this was the result of having specific learning difficulties that went undiagnosed and unsupported until secondary school, combined with bullying from one particular teacher. I started to experience panic attacks again on the stats module of my conversion course.

I tackled it using a graded exposure approach. Firstly, I broke each assignment into bitesize manageable chunks. Secondly, I never stopped studying when the panic was really bubbling and I felt that I had to get away right now. I stayed in the situation until I had a.) digested at least one of my bitesize chunks and b.) felt somewhat better. I knew that if I left an anxiety-provoking situation when my anxiety was at its height, my brain would interpret the situation as a 'near miss' ("Thank goodness I got away in time! If I'd stayed it would have just got worse and worse!"), which would have made the material feel even more frightening next time I came to look at it. With this approach the anxiety reduced over time. I found the trick was to ensure I wasn't setting myself up to fail by making the challenges too big to start with (expecting myself to stay at my desk until I'd worked through an entire chapter of the stats book was too much, for example). I also found that I could navigate my way through anxiety with lots of compassionate encouraging self-talk and this would often stave off a full-blown panic attack.

As you got good grades in your MSc, you must be able to handle stats well in spite of the anxiety. Don't lose sight of that. It sounds as if there might be a mismatch between your actual capabilities and your perception of them. Before you make any decisions it might be helpful to explore the reasons why you feel as you do. I'd received CBT in the past and this came in very useful for unpicking and challenging the assumptions and negative automatic thoughts that doing stats stirred up. Perhaps something similar might be useful for you?
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

lunathecat
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by lunathecat » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:20 pm

Thank you so much everyone for your careful, informative and considered replies. The distinction people have drawn between stats and research is quite helpful. Yes I did manage to pass my stats MSc module with a 2:1 grade, but I did struggle and I felt anxiety most of the way. I think it is how I feel about statistics, rather than the research process as a whole. I also don't like drilling stats, but like people say the process of applying it to research is a different question. I do find the research process to be exciting, but whenever I get to the stats stage of it that's when I feel a sort of 'ugh' feeling because I never quite 'got it'. It's good to hear that others have felt this and got through the clinical doctorate and a graded exposure approach perhaps might be best, as like some have commented it may not be my abilities but how I feel about stats. It has given me much to think about.

It has also made me wonder, as miriam said, about why psychologists need to be scientist-practitioners, as opposed to other healthcare professions, such as GPs, who tend to only be 'practitioners'.

buenosaires
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:56 am

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by buenosaires » Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:05 pm

Hi Luna,

I have had a similar experience to you and absolutely feel the UGH when it comes to stats. I'm on training at the moment and have found the research/stats modules to be really comprehensive - they go through things in quite some detail, to the point where I now feel like I actually understand WHY we might do certain tests etc., and how to interpret them.

I think also, because you start working on your research project early on, it feels like the stats has more of a practical/real-life application rather than learning things in a completely abstract/theoretical way? Also the research project is really really broken down into manageable chunks so that every task feels like a gradual progression in terms of complexity, rather than being thrown in the deep end and being expected to muddle through!

I'm not sure research/stats will ever be my favourite part of the profession, but I am definitely learning a new appreciation through the doctorate. I hope it doesn't put you off too much :)

XX
Talking applications, trainee LYF and beyond on: https://www.youtube.com/c/theworrypeople

lunathecat
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by lunathecat » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:07 pm

buenosaires wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:05 pm
Hi Luna,

I have had a similar experience to you and absolutely feel the UGH when it comes to stats. I'm on training at the moment and have found the research/stats modules to be really comprehensive - they go through things in quite some detail, to the point where I now feel like I actually understand WHY we might do certain tests etc., and how to interpret them.

I think also, because you start working on your research project early on, it feels like the stats has more of a practical/real-life application rather than learning things in a completely abstract/theoretical way? Also the research project is really really broken down into manageable chunks so that every task feels like a gradual progression in terms of complexity, rather than being thrown in the deep end and being expected to muddle through!

I'm not sure research/stats will ever be my favourite part of the profession, but I am definitely learning a new appreciation through the doctorate. I hope it doesn't put you off too much :)

XX
Thank you so much for your comment! I completely relate to the UGH. Like I love psych, I love working with people, and I love the research people produce but UGH lol. That's really good to know about starting early on in a practical way, I think that sounds much better. In my MSc we went from 0 to 100 pretty quickly and then suddenly a bunch of stats exams. It definitely wasn't a way to find love for stats! That really has made me feel a lot better simply knowing there are other people who don't find research/stats to be the best part of the profession, but are nonetheless pursuing clinpsy!

buenosaires
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:56 am

Re: Research & DClinPsy

Post by buenosaires » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:35 pm

Hahahaaa the UGH is so real, but honestly I think you would be in good company when it comes to having other people on training who aren't wild about the research component. Anyway, having done an MSc I promise you will have a better grasp of research/stats than what I did when I started training - I think you'll be surprised by how much you know already :)
Talking applications, trainee LYF and beyond on: https://www.youtube.com/c/theworrypeople

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests