Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

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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meem123
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Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by meem123 »

I've noticed quite a few unis are dropping the "Counselling Psychology" doctorate. Surrey, Regents, Southampton have all dropped it in the past year.....it is really odd. I thought it would be quite a lucrative income for the unis?? Anyone any ideas why? I'm worried they know something I don't! Like is the qualification going to become obsolete in the future?
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mungle
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by mungle »

Given the intensive teaching they are not lucrative and may actually be loss leaders. Given the difficult financial times for many universities, some have reviewed their portfolio of programmes and decided to drop the doctorates in counselling psychology.
meem123
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by meem123 »

Really? 15 students each paying £10,000 a year…£150,000…that’s at least 2 full time tutors 🤨
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mungle
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by mungle »

Think of an undergrad psychology course where you have maybe 100+ students paying £9k+ and their contact time might include some seminars of about 20 students, a little 1:1 time for a dissertation and lectures with 100 students in them. Their total contact hours tend to be considerably less than someone on a counselling psychology doctorate.

From the fees, probably over 50% or maybe considerably more, (I have been quoted as much as 90% of fees) doesn't stay in the School but goes to the central University. There are costs such as estates, utilities, cleaning, HR, libraries, cleaning staff, administrators, executives, marketing, research, vice chancellor salaries and so much more.

Even if the programme kept all the fee income with none going to the central university budgets, the £150k is actually not enough to pay for the staff team for a doctorate in counselling psychology. You need teaching staff to fulfil roles such as programme lead, professors, clinical tutors, research tutors, a placement coordinator, ordinary teaching, examiners for theses and perhaps also external teachers to come in.
Let's say you want to employ someone on the equivalent of band 8a you need not only their salary but pension, training, expenses etc. Usually there is a figure of "on costs" to cover these things and HR, IT etc. per head. You'll need someone at a higher level than 8a to lead the course.

We should probably be asking questions of why so little of the money goes on teaching. Believe me when I say the teaching staff aren't being paid the big bucks. Many of these programmes rely on poorly paid adjuncts on zero hours contracts for at least some of the teaching, marking and research supervision.

The NHS pays more per year to the Uni for each dclinpsy student - £16,358 according to this HEE document (p.21) from 2016. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... report.pdf
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by meem123 »

Hmm okay good point.
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maven
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by maven »

Indeed. A course team is likely to have at least one professor, and probably 2-3 practitioner psychologists at 8B/8C level, as well as 2-4 band 7/8A staff to support research, teaching and evaluations, as well as fulfilling the university requirements and updating the teaching materials/curriculum and passing the inspections. Then there will be lots of field staff who come in to deliver individual teaching sessions, at hourly rates, and an administrator. And the pensions, sick leave, NI etc add about 25% to salary costs, and there will then be costs for the buildings and facilities costs that mungle listed. Even in the NHS those costs add 30-50% to the staffing costs. Putting some rough numbers in there I get £300-380k of salaries, which is £375-475k with on-costs, and £525-665k with university overheads. With 3 cohorts of 15 trainee CPs at £16,358 that course would break even. With 3 cohorts of 15 trainee CoPs at £10k each they'd be at least £100k short every year. Given there probably isn't the demand for cohorts of 40+ self-funding trainee CoPs, I can see why the sums don't add up. Also, self-funding trainees drop out at much higher rates, and expect different things for their money (eg the flexbility to work part time at their own pace and around other commitments), which can also impact on the financial viability of a course.
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Spatch
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by Spatch »

maven wrote: Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:45 am Indeed. A course team is likely to have at least one professor, and probably 2-3 practitioner psychologists at 8B/8C level, as well as 2-4 band 7/8A staff to support research, teaching and evaluations, as well as fulfilling the university requirements and updating the teaching materials/curriculum and passing the inspections. Then there will be lots of field staff who come in to deliver individual teaching sessions, at hourly rates, and an administrator. And the pensions, sick leave, NI etc add about 25% to salary costs, and there will then be costs for the buildings and facilities costs that mungle listed. Even in the NHS those costs add 30-50% to the staffing costs. Putting some rough numbers in there I get £300-380k of salaries, which is £375-475k with on-costs, and £525-665k with university overheads. With 3 cohorts of 15 trainee CPs at £16,358 that course would break even. With 3 cohorts of 15 trainee CoPs at £10k each they'd be at least £100k short every year. Given there probably isn't the demand for cohorts of 40+ self-funding trainee CoPs, I can see why the sums don't add up. Also, self-funding trainees drop out at much higher rates, and expect different things for their money (eg the flexbility to work part time at their own pace and around other commitments), which can also impact on the financial viability of a course.
This is a really good overview and encapsulates brilliantly why DClinPsy/ DCounPsy courses are SO expensive to run.

The other thing to consider is scalability. As opposed to undergrad, where a core team can probably scale up from teaching 50 to 100 undergrads with minimal extra staffing, you can't do this for practitioner doctorates as easily due to the restrictions around placement availability. Even if there was the demand to fill 100 self funded seats, you aren't easily going to find the necessary 100 placements or supervisors.

To be honest, I am surprised this constriction hasn't happened sooner.I have no solid evidence for this but always wondered if it may have been a legacy issue where practitioner doctorates were somehow seen as prestigious and enhanced the profile of a budding psychology department in a post 92 university where many of the DCounPsy courses were originally based. (This would fit with the loss leader idea Mungle raises further up thread)
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mungle
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by mungle »

Yes, one university stated they were using a counselling psychology doctorate to recruit undergrads with promises of preferential access to the doctorate. It also fitted with a university-wide project with health employers, boosted prestige, by prioritising their own undergrads for places they boosted their figures for those in employment or full-time education 6 months after graduating and psychology staff gained doctoral research students and could offer projects in line with their research portfolios. If it fits in with a wider business plan it may be worth it for a university to take a financial hit.

Universities these days are developing their course portfolios with input from market development on what will 'sell' (i.e. attract students will pay to do the course) and the costs to run a course - this is inevitable when the higher education sector is set up to run like businesses. Just look at how numbers have been increased on undergrads such as psychology or criminology as there is demand from students and they are relatively low cost to run per head when the intake numbers are high. I've heard universities discuss their dislike of the BPS staff-student ratios for psychology (and ways to work around it!) as this increases costs whereas courses such as criminology doesn't come with these ratios. The downside can be the metrics universities are judged on - it helps them if graduates are in full-time education or employment within 6 months. They can, of course, signpost you to their masters course....

There have been private universities offering counselling psychology doctorates but with the actual fees needed for it to be profitable, they have struggled to get enough students. Also, as Maven states above, the drop-out rates are much higher than on the dclinpsys and that means reduced income for each subsequent years. At undergrad level I've known universities offer more 'exceptional' resit attempts as they need the £9K fees for year 2 and 3 plus other profits from accommodation, catering etc.
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by bluegoat »

Just a quick note to say that only Regents and Surrey have stopped offering the course. Southampton has never offered a DCounsPsy.

Having said that, two new courses are now on offer (St John's York and South Wales) so the number of courses across the country stayed the same.
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by Spatch »

bluegoat wrote: Tue Sep 06, 2022 6:02 pm Just a quick note to say that only Regents and Surrey have stopped offering the course. Southampton has never offered a DCounsPsy.

Having said that, two new courses are now on offer (St John's York and South Wales) so the number of courses across the country stayed the same.
That is a pity about Surrey DCounPsy. That was a really good course that produced some really good psychologists. Then again Surrey is probably more business minded than it used to be.

Will be interested to see how STJ and South Wales do economically and if there are teething issues with the first few cohorts. Others here will have more uptodate knowledge, but I remember some folk talking about recruitment difficulties in the latter region so staffing it with fully qualified Counselling Psychologists may be a problem in the longer term. I hope they do well though, because we do need more diversity in how we train psychologists and it can't just be big cities with large universities that have NHS links being responsible for producing future psychologists.
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by bluegoat »

I agree with you Spatch. Surrey was extra special as it was the first Doctorate in Counselling Psychology course (they called it PsychD) and you are right, there are some very good Psychologists that trained there. Not sure what went on with any either Surrey or Regents, but I know that the first cohort at York STJ have recently qualified. Haven't heard anything or met anyone from the South Wales course.

We definitely need to have more diversity in how we train Psychologists and celebrate what unites us as opposed to focussing how different we are. I recently came across an article by the Director of the DCounsPsy at Manchester talking about the difference between Counselling and Clinical Psychologists - have a read if you like! https://counselling.substack.com/p/what ... _share&s=w
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mungle
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by mungle »

I'm hearing that London Metropolitan are ending their Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by bluegoat »

You are right mungle. Surrey, Regents, LondonMet, and Teeside have officially withdrawn their Counselling Psychology doctorates. UEL is on the way out but are keeping very quiet about it.
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Re: Discontinued Counselling Psychology Doctorates???

Post by CaptainMagpie »

Has anyone heard anything about mid term plans for the UWE course? I was planning on applying in 2-3 years time but maybe I should apply sooner if courses are closing...
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