Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

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enid
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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by enid » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:03 pm

I just think, concentrate on your MSc. See what you get and where it takes you. I think the clinical psychology process can make people a bit obsessive, and hinder people enjoying and embracing the moment.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by astra » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:27 pm

A few thoughts on reading this thread:-

I'm not into blind encouragement either and I can be a bit harsh about these things sometimes!

There are courses that will accept you with a 2:2 if you demonstrate that you can do higher level study, through getting a masters for example. Your 2:2 and pass at Masters may be sufficient, especially if the Masters was Pass/Fail as the only options.

You mention what sounds like mitigating circumstances for your 2:2 - are these now resolved? or would they impact on future study? did your uni recognise your mitigating circumstances and do you have any evidence of this?

You seem to doubt your own abilities - hence your post on here - maybe you just need to complete the current Masters to the best of your ability and see where you are then. If the mark demonstrates that you can study well at that level then you just need to build up your experience and try applying for the doctorate. If you get another dubious mark then you really will need to rethink things.

I'm intrigued by your comments about convincing your parents you need to do this and then not being able to give up because of what they would make of it. That doesn't sound like a valid source of motivation, or reason to do something. As Miriam asked - what's the reason CP is so important to you? And why would you not consider other similar but arguably "easier to get into" careers? Seems very black and white to me - with CP being seen as an idealised goal and anything else being seen as failure. That might be an interesting notion for you to reflect on.

I guess I'm trying to be helpful. I don't know what is right for you. i don't know the details around your university grade, I don't know your parents, I don't know your motivations. But it's fair to say lots of people try and fail to become CPs, so a back up plan is a good idea, but also unlikely candidates do sometimes make it. I'd say take it a step at a time. Get hte best mark you can on this Masters and take it from there.
From the point of view of mindfulness, as long as you're breathing there's more right with you than wrong with you. Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by lakeland » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:19 pm

I think Spatch picked up an interesting point about the differences in encouragement between post training and training onwards forum members. The thread about Clinical Psychology Heartache springs to mind for me - I remember writing a reply on a particularly grumpy day and then not submitting it, because it was something along the lines of 'the best way that qualified psychologists can be helpful to undergraduates is to tell them the reality of being a Clinical Psychologist' - but I didn't think that would go down well, nor was it entirely accurate, as it came on a day I hated my job.

But I do think that it is supportive to encourage people not to put all their efforts into pursuing a career that may not happen for them. There are many very similar alternatives to Clinical Psychology, and I think that if it wasn't a well paid training route with the doctor title at the end, it wouldn't be as popular - that was certainly a big part of the appeal for me, and why I didn't pursue the forensic psychology route despite my experience being in this area. It will be interesting if changes in funding influence applications for training.

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enid
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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by enid » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:13 pm

lakeland wrote:It will be interesting if changes in funding influence applications for training.
I think they invariably will. It's interesting, I think 3 years ago when I was first seriously thinking about it (though it's always been in the back of my mind somewhere) if they completely switched to bursaries I would have been really put off. I do know what it is like to live on a 15k stipend as have done it for both MSc & PhD (it's not much fun). Yet now that I have invested so much passion and excitement into getting myself ready to apply for training I'd probably still go for it if the only option for funding was a 15k bursary. I think a significant proportion of people would think again about applying if this were to happen though. Whether that is seen as a good or bad thing will remain to be seen. I think we'd see a drop in say the 28-30 age range applying, an increase in the younger age group, and maturer age group (35+ and thus settled with mortgages, etc.) probably less affected by a change.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by lingua_franca » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:03 am

Mudisco, I don't think Miriam is saying that there is no way you would ever get in, just pointing out that realistically your chances are significantly reduced with a 2:2 and a Pass (unless, as she says, your Master's was graded on a Pass/Fail basis rather than Distinction/Merit/Pass). Judging by your posts, this isn't the greatest obstacle - it's more the fact that you seem to be dead-set on CP without being able to give any real basis as for why other than 'I've put my parents through hell so I have to do this'. This is not a valid reason to pursue anything, and if this is your chief reason, then you could end up putting yourself through a lot of pressure and heartache for nothing. If you do decide that CP isn't for you, or you don't get onto the doctorate, I doubt your parents will feel as though you've slapped them in the face. You can't let other people's expectations be your driving motive in any case.

I am academically strong, and I have relevant clinical experience, but I am starting to feel that being a CP might not play to my strengths in the way I'd hoped. All the speech and language therapists I've ever worked alongside have been enthusiastic about me and encouraged me to train in SLT. When I've worked in mental health settings (acute psych wards, mainly) I haven't felt anything like the same confidence as when I was working in SLT. I just seem to 'click' with SLT better. I am also much better at working with adults than with children (I found this out while doing PhD research with a child population!). This was disappointing at first, as I like the idea of working in CP, and with children too. I haven't completely ruled it out, but I realise that there is a risk of romanticising this profession, setting up as some kind of holy grail, and losing sight of your strengths and what would make you happiest. Through the PhD, I've come into contact with a few organisations protecting children's rights in conflict zones, and I could see myself being content in such an organisation - working to eliminate child soldiering, for example. I am much better at reading and assimilating large quantities of information and making a persuasive argument than I am at working with kids in a direct capacity, so why would I insist on cramming myself into the latter role when I could do something else much more effectively and enjoy it so much more? There are so many possibilities. No, it's not what I'd originally thought about, but isn't that part of the fun? You learn as you go. If you have had little to no clinical experience, how can you even know that CP is right for you? It seems a little odd to set your heart on something that you haven't experienced.
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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by ell » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:24 am

That was a really interesting post Lingua_franca, thank you for sharing all that. Ironically, your self-awareness and reflection on your strengths, weaknesses and motivations are ideal qualities for CP! Those qualities are not exclusive to CP of course, and your reasoning behind looking at those other career paths makes sense.

I think it is important to understand why you want to train as a CP, and this is a question that you will be asked at many stages along your journey, and your success at gaining a training place may well hinge on your answer. I hope it is not too harsh to say that 'I don't want to disappoint my parents' will not result in success at application/interview. This doesn't discount your feelings about it or mean that it isn't a motivator for you (we all have a myriad of motivators of course! I don't want to disappoint my parents either), but you will need to have a think around the question and work out your answer beyond that point.

Regarding the original question around working abroad... I think there might be a lot of valuable experience to be had working in an African country (depending what setting, and with what kind of population etc). Experience in the UK (and in the NHS to a lesser extent) is more or less vital, but if you want to go work abroad and have some interesting life experiences and learn about a different culture, then I say go for it! You don't want to be working as, say, a support worker one day, hating your job, wishing you had gone to Nigeria. You would learn so much, and get some transferable skills. You would probably still need the experience here in the UK, but why not do both?

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by Mudisco » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:47 am

Guys, thank you so much for the advice. However, I did not say things with my parents was my only motivation for being a CP but partly (30%).

My passion for CP originated from what happened in my childhood. I went through all sorts of abuse and negative events, and I am grateful that I am a somewhat sane person today, especially as I did not have any professional help. I'm fascinated with how certain types of exposure from the environment can shape/affect someone, e.g., The risk of a certain family/school/living condition causing or provoking personality disorders, sexual disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and other disorders to to do with the mind. What I desire is to help people as such in a practical and scientific manner (hence why I want to be a CP), but I also want to research the specific origins of those problems and the best methods to alleviate them. There is still great stigma on people that suffer from MH disorders and I would like to bring awareness that it is not their fault and focus on how we can help them, and reducing the risk of those disorders occurring. I would even be perfectly content being a Researcher that studies clinical or mental problems and being able to generate more effective treatments (I hope). My interest (or obsession as you call it) is personal and the need to bring advancements to the field.

What I would take from this is consider other options or have a Plan B and/or C. I can't figure it out yet but I hope I'm able to do so along the way. I'll focus on my Masters, go to Nigeria to grow/regroup in all aspects and see where I can go from there. Thanks guys.
Last edited by Mudisco on Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by miriam » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:30 am

See, now you are thinking like a psychologist! Good luck in fulfilling your aspirations.
Miriam

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by msrisotto » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:40 pm

miriam wrote:I mean I'm a CP, I've been qualified for 13 years, consultant grade for 5.5, I run a service and employ a team of staff and I'm still considering my plan B and plan C and plan D and weighing up the pros and cons of each, and its something I'd advise everyone to do to keep this job in perspective. Today I was pondering about property development, and over the last week I've thought about writing books (novels as well as non-fiction), getting involved in one of the clinical training courses, moving into commissioning/management and bidding to run an NHS service.
Thank you for saying this Miriam. To get on to training you have to be so single minded and having other ideas for what you want to do with your life feels almost taboo.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by mr_tippy » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:49 pm

I think its tempting to say that when posts like this come up, it may be that posters are anxious and seeking some encouragement, if not simply for the fact that many questions are easily answered by a quick search on the forum. Maybe then, it can be fruitful to explore that.

That said, I have to say it struck me as awkward reading to see miriam's initial curiosity being pursued by other posters. As much as forum communities like any other work on a give and take basis, and there may be merit in discussion in the benefits of reflecting on our motivations, it reads like Mudisco has ended up feeling the need to justify his/her motivation (dare I say, worthiness?) for the approval of a group that was only asked for practical advice.

I'm aware this may not be intended, but I definitely think Spatch's comments could make for an interesting wider discussion for the forum's role.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by Spatch » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:12 am

I have other aspirations like being a fiction writer/novelist and a lecturer of some sort. But this CP is first
As someone who could be accused of being a CP/"lecturer of some sort"/novelist, I would say that doing all of that is possible. However, knowing what I know now, I would also advise you to seek out people who can tell you about the particular difficulties and challenges each of those pathways will throw up. Not to put you off, but that you have some idea of what you may be shooting for.

It's rewarding, but I can tell you there are easier (and far less stressful) ways to live a life.
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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by Sun15 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:40 am

mr_tippy wrote: That said, I have to say it struck me as awkward reading to see miriam's initial curiosity being pursued by other posters. As much as forum communities like any other work on a give and take basis, and there may be merit in discussion in the benefits of reflecting on our motivations, it reads like Mudisco has ended up feeling the need to justify his/her motivation (dare I say, worthiness?) for the approval of a group that was only asked for practical advice.

I'm aware this may not be intended, but I definitely think Spatch's comments could make for an interesting wider discussion for the forum's role.
Having read this post I have to agree here with this. Although maybe not intended I also feel it does read like this, and perhaps any future advice given can be given whilst keeping this in mind, and thus being tailored to prevent this (unintended effect) in future.

Sun15.

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by miriam » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:17 pm

I think you are projecting your own constructs onto the discussion. I don't measure who is 'worthy' of CP. I try to judge from the limited information given who is capable of doing the job, who has a realistic chance of getting on, and who has enough confidence/masochism to face the level of competition. Then I try to give advice that might help them achieve, or modify, their goals so that they reach a destination they are happy with.
Miriam

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by mr_tippy » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:39 am

I was careful in the way I worded my post to aknowledge your contribution and did not criticise you. I was also careful to convey that worthiness was only a subjective reading of a thread which began with a request for practical advice and resulted in him disclosing abuse to make up for unsatisfactory throwaway comments about wanting to please his parents. There was no pressure to post that, and it appears to be a great source of strength and motivation for the OP, but was it relevIant or 'derailing' the thread, I don't know. :)

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Re: Advice on someone with no clinical experience!

Post by miriam » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:14 am

Hey Mr Tippy, that comment wasn't meant as criticism of you, nor to read as if I felt defensive (I didn't). It was meant to respond to a general theme, which was highlighted by the subsequent poster. I think that it is one that comes up across other threads also, where the more experienced members of the profession who reply in threads like this one are seen as critical or intrusive for challenging people's beliefs and ambitions or asking them to reflect on their motivations, when responding to such questions is really part of the bread and butter of the profession (and rightly necessary to progress). I would also note that nowhere on the forum have I seen anyone expect public answers or ask the questions or pose reflections in a way that identifies or shames the individual. In this thread it was the OP's choice to disclose (and not entirely appropriate IMHO). However it did make me feel I should back off, as I felt I had said my piece and that response suggested the OP was beginning to feel a bit cornered. Thus I made a short post to convey that reflection was the beginning of thinking like a psychologist and left it at that.

As discussed earlier in this thread, I think it is interesting the discomfort a proportion of people on this forum express when the response is one other than encouragement. It seems that some people identify with the need for reassurance themselves to an extent that not offering this is perceived as cruel. I also think that amongst self-selected caring people there is a tendency to want to avoid upsetting others and to give everyone who needs it a foot up (in fact, there is probably a desire to offer more help the more the person needs it). This means that when people offer realistic reflections to weaker candidates or those who appear to be less clear about their goals or the requirements to progress, some people get upset on behalf of the recipient who they think might feel hurt (which is actually a bit patronising, IMHO).

I think I feel the same discomfort when I read blind encouragement, which I think is insidious and harmful. I strongly believe that we should encourage people to set goals which are ambitious but achievable and to choose this career path with their eyes open to the challenges and level of competition involved. If they are robust enough to succeed in such a demanding profession they should be robust enough to engage in some constructively critical feedback and reflection, and if the career is not the right match for them it is helpful to learn that as early as possible so that they can refine their goals. To offer encouragement to someone I don't believe has demonstrated they have a reasonable chance of success in the profession would feel dishonest and, further than that, I think it would make me complicit in an unhelpful mythology about the profession, particularly given the wider audience that will read the thread.

Wherever possible, I think it is better to tell the truth and to do so in a way that helps the individual understand themselves better. I say that as someone that often has to feed back quite negative formulations that lead to heart-rending outcomes in the family court. Being honest doesn't have to mean lacking compassion for how a person got to where they are at, or wanting the best for their future. It just means being straight with people when they fall short of the mark required. Some people are more ready to hear that than others, but for those that do take it in it and acknowledge where they are at and what needs to change it can be a powerful experience which helps them chart their future course.

Bringing the discussion back to this particular thread, I think the OP has their work cut out for them for a long time ahead and may meet with disappointment if clinical psychology is their sole aim, whilst they may well be able to achieve a career which would give them satisfaction and fit with their skills and goals if they were to open the net a little wider than a single profession. I don't think it is unreasonable to have a discussion about that, given that was the very question that was being asked, and I think it is fine for several people to air both similar and different views on the topic - that's how healthy debate works; sometimes responses build upon each other or draw out particular nuances that are helpful. I think Pink's recent thread is a great example of this, where her response to several people writing similar posts challenging something she had written was to experience the comments as supportive and to say it was helpful material to take away and reflect on. She didn't get defensive about it, and everyone involved learnt something from the discussion. Of course that may be easier a little further down the career path and for someone as eloquent and reflective as pink, but its a good model for us all to aspire to.
Miriam

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