Former inpatient looking for DClin application advice

Discuss any aspect of applying for posts or courses (apart from the clinical psychology doctorate which has its own forum section), CVs, application forms, etc
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Former inpatient looking for DClin application advice

Post by Diathesis » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:14 am

Hi there,

I was an inpatient in a mental health unit for 6 months (2012-2013). Sounds a bit silly now, but the very day I left the unit, I swore to myself I'd go back there but on the right side of things.

So, after discharge I went back to school, got A levels (A*AA) and graduated with a First Class degree from the University of Warwick last month.

I have worked for just over 8 months as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist and I have recently secured a full-time paid assistant role within the NHS.

I am hoping to put my first application in for the DClin this September/October, which has led to the predicament at hand! I wondered whether it would be prudent or naive to discuss my own experience as an inpatient, as well as my own bipolar diagnosis. Thus far I have not mentioned it and I have been able to secure jobs and experience opportunities. However, might my personal experience allow me to stand out in the DClin process? Is it unique and a 'selling point' or a red flag on an application? I feel that there is a lot of conflicting opinions on disclosure, and I am really struggling to make my mind up.

I'd love to know what any of you think?



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Re: Former inpatient looking for DClin application advice

Post by lingua_franca » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:15 pm

This has been discussed a few times on the forum, if you dig around for the threads. I believe one of the current trainees (Randomswirls) was in the same situation as you. There are definitely qualified CPs with lived experience of mental health difficulties, including receiving inpatient care. :)

I have experienced PTSD and an eating disorder at different points in my life. My own opinions on disclosure are mixed, and so are my experiences of disclosing. At the moment I'm doing a course with the Tavistock, and I was startled by how in-depth the interview was. The interviewer really wanted to know all about me, which meant talking about some quite personal topics, but they never at any point made me feel that my lived experience of mental health made me a weak or doubtful proposition as a prospective therapist - quite the opposite. On the other hand, there have been times when I've witnessed stigma and an 'us and them' culture among mental health professionals. It can be a tricky choice to make.

On the whole I think disclosure is a risk worth taking, largely because I wouldn't even want to train anywhere that would reject me for this part of my story. If I didn't disclose and then found the place had an unhelpful us-and-them culture, I'd only feel frustrated that I'd ended up somewhere I couldn't just be myself without worrying that I'd attract suspicion or scepticism. Best of luck.
"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.

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Re: Former inpatient looking for DClin application advice

Post by lakeland » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:38 am

No advice to add to what Lingua has said -other than I'd have a look on Twitter as there are a lot of trainees and qualified CPs talking about their own experience, so it shouldn't be a red flag. For example, @camspamalam is a great place to start, have a look at her excellent blog and the people she retweets.

I also wanted to say well done on achieving such great results in your A-Level and degree, and getting a paid AP post. You're clearly a strong candidate.

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Re: Former inpatient looking for DClin application advice

Post by Randomswirls » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:13 pm

I must have subconsciously realised I was being mentioned!

So I’m a trainee and disclosed my experiences and I have found a mix of opinions on it.

I don’t think it’s seen negatively but I am not sure it gives you points so you need the other stuff which you have got by the sounds of things. I think basically it’s seen as an asset generally.

I always think if someone discriminated against me for disclosing I’ve probably had a lucky escape as if I need input at any point I want people who are going to be supportive and not stigmatise it.

I applied three times and disclosed each time. The first time I was so not ready for the course. Second year I had one interview and ended up a reserve (disclosed during interview), one uni was a test so wouldn’t have read my form and the other two again I’m not surprised I didn’t get an interview! The last year I had one interview totally disclosed throughout the interview and got a place, one test uni so form wasn’t read, one university gave feedback that I agreed with around needing more clinical experiences and the uni that interviewed the previous year didn’t interview me that year!

Ultimately I don’t feel disclosing harmed my chances i also don’t feel it gave me a free pass!

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