Clinical Psychology Doctorate
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Charles Ward Building
Course Director: Dr Tom Patterson
This is an integrated three-year course leading to a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych.). The course, which has been developed as a partnership between Coventry University and the University of Warwick, had its first graduates in 2001 and has a current annual intake of 16 trainees.
The course is situated within the School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University and within the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick. The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has one of the strongest health and social science profiles in the country. The University of Warwick is amongst the UK's leading research universities and the Department of Psychology has an excellent research record. This context provides a unique academic and practical environment for training clinical psychologists to work in the NHS and trainees additionally benefit from having access to the combined facilities of two universities.
This is one of three clinical psychology courses in the West Midlands, where clinical psychology is a strong and well-developed profession. First and second year placements for the Coventry and Warwick course are normally located across Coventry and Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Third-year elective placements are throughout the West Midlands Region. Trainees will have to travel considerable distances at times during their training.
Training is a collaborative venture between the two universities and clinical psychologists in the West Midlands. The training scheme is seen as part of the local clinical psychology community and seeks to encourage full mutual participation between the course and local NHS and Social Care services.
The programme philosophy is based on the belief that clinical psychology is not founded upon one theoretical position but adopts an open stance, which allows for a range of theoretical perspectives. This means that a clinical psychologist calls upon theories and concepts from the discipline of psychology and uses these in a creative way to solve problems in clinical settings. Programme content is based on evidence-based practice and there is an emphasis on critical evaluation of both the psychological literature and clinical practice itself. The course adopts the reflective practitioner approach and thus is based on active learning methods, which enhances the quality of learning in general, and specifically enables trainees to develop the skills required for enterprising and reflective practice. There is an emphasis on personal and professional development, and the course aims to establish a collaborative and co-operative, rather than competitive, group ethos.
All candidates, at the time of application, must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Candidates should normally have at least a 2:1 honours degree and be proficient in the use of English. If English is not the candidate's first language, and they haven't studied at degree level in English, then proficiency will need to be demonstrated to the level of IELTS 7 or equivalent. Additionally, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have relevant clinical experience, an understanding of the NHS and a commitment to working in it. The programme is not able to offer any accreditation of prior experience or learning (APEL) routes. Candidates are normally required to hold a current driving licence and have their own transport. In line with other courses nationally, successful applicants will not be expected to be enrolled for other postgraduate studies when commencing clinical training.
It is recognised that clinical psychologists practise within a multi-cultural context. Every effort will be made in all stages of the recruitment process to ensure that the policies and procedures operate the fairest equal opportunities in accordance with Coventry University and the University of Warwick equal opportunities policies. Recruiting for trainees in accordance with key NHS Values is a fundamental part of the selection process.
Initial screening of the applications is undertaken by the clinical psychology team, in collaboration with local clinicians. Each selector grades the candidate's application on the basis of an understanding of the clinical psychologist's role, academic ability, previous and current clinical experiences, personal suitability and values, research ability and references. Applications are assessed independently by three selectors. These gradings are collated and discussed at a short-listing meeting. 50 applicants are selected to interview for 16 places. Due to the volume of applications, it is not possible to send individual feedback to those applicants who are not invited for interview, and further discussion of this is not available.
All short-listed candidates are seen for a day-long assessment, which includes a group discussion, a written exercise, clinical and personal suitability interview (including a short video exercise), and an academic interview/exercise. The course team meet and interview candidates along with local clinicians and service users and carers. Candidates have an opportunity to have informal discussions with current trainees during the day and join a trainee led reflective group at the end of the interviews. (We have had to offer briefer online interviews during the pandemic, but hope to return to the process outlined above in 2022.) We welcome feedback from candidates about the selection process.
The selection panel will make a final decision about whether to offer a candidate a place on the programme. The Chair of the selection panel (currently the Programme Director) has the ultimate responsibility for the final selection decision. Once a final decision is reached the successful candidates will be informed as soon as possible. All offers of a place will be conditional upon satisfactory checks via the Disclosure & Barring Service and occupational health screening. The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University has an established mechanism for police checks and proof of qualifications. All unsuccessful interviewees are given the opportunity for email/telephone feedback about their interview performance from a member of the course team. Occasionally, if for example health issues arise prior to the start of training, it may be possible for a place to be deferred for 12 months.
All applicants must demonstrate, at the time of selection, that they are eligible to work in the UK for the full duration of the training course.
Current trainees are full-time employees of the NHS and have annual leave and other benefits in line with the usual NHS entitlements. Fees for current trainees are funded by Health Education England. Salaries match the Clinical Psychologist Trainee Job Profile, which is Band 6, point 21, on the Agenda for Change pay scales.
Trainees are currently employed by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust for the duration of their training with associated NHS holidays etc. It is expected that the trainees will conduct some of their core placements within their employing trust, but not all, so for placements outside of the employment organisation, honorary contracts will be issued as necessary.
The academic programme is structured around the standard academic year of three terms (September to July). For each of these terms in the first year, trainees are normally scheduled two days a week in the university and three days on clinical placement. Outside of the academic sessions, trainees will spend three or four days a week on clinical placement with one or two days of each week allocated for private study.
The course commences with a three/four week induction block. This block will provide an introduction to the academic modules and largely concentrates on preparation for going on placement. The induction block includes a substantial part of the Professional Practice in Clinical Psychology 1 module and an introduction to the other four academic modules: Model Specific Therapies 1, Clinical Presentations 1 (Adult & Older Adult), Neuropsychology and Severe and Enduring Mental Health Difficulties, and Research Methods in Clinical Psychology 1. In addition, mandatory Trust induction will also be timetabled. By the time they go on placement, trainees should have acquired an understanding of assessment interviewing skills, counselling skills, formulation skills and an introduction to the main psychological models. They will have begun their psychological presentations teaching which focuses on the adult life-span. Trainees will have covered basic ethical issues, e.g. consent and confidentiality, as well as statutory legal issues, issues of personal safety, and BPS/HCPC Codes of Conduct. There will also be a further block of study at the start of the summer term prior to Placement 2 commencing.
The timetable for second year trainees is similar but they are allocated some additional days of study leave (in place of university days) during term-time.
The second year of the programme commences with a two-week block of study in the university. The purpose of this block is to provide trainees with an overview of the second year of the programme and launch the second year modules to ensure adequate preparation for the next two placements. There will also be an additional block of teaching at the beginning of the summer term. The following academic modules will be studied during the second year of the programme: Professional Practice in Clinical Psychology 2, Model Specific Therapies 2, Clinical Presentations 2 (Child and Learning Disability), Clinical Health Psychology and Forensic Psychology, and Research Methods in Clinical Psychology 2.
By the commencement of Year 3, trainees will have completed all academic modules with the exception of the Research Thesis. Trainees will be required to attend a minimum of 30 one-day workshops from the guest speaker programme of workshops.
In the first year of training trainees will normally carry out two core placements, which may be within "Adult", "Older Adult" or "Physical Health" services. In the second year the two core placements will normally be in the areas of "Child" and "Learning Disabilities". In the third year of the course trainees will be able to choose two placements in specialist areas, subject to placement availability.
The research training comprises two modules studied during the first and second years of the course. The assessment for these modules requires trainees to carry out a small scale, service related project and submit a full research proposal for their thesis. The research proposal will provide the basis for the individually chosen and supervised research project, which is begun towards the end of the first year. There will be a choice of academic supervisors from both universities and local clinicians. The research project (maximum 20,000 words) is written in a form suitable for publication in academic or professional journals.
The degree of D.Clin.Psych. is awarded after three years on the basis of clinical supervisor ratings, written and oral assignments, case studies, personal and professional development and the research thesis. The assessments include the following: reflective reports on clinical skills (role-plays and placement experiences), structured assessment and ratings of clinical skills, seminar presentations, written clinical practice reports, oral case presentation with clinical viva, Clinical Leadership Portfolio, small scale service improvement project, research proposal and the thesis. Trainees are also expected to keep a reflective journal and to submit a professional portfolio. Placement supervisors provide ratings of clinical competencies on all placements. The research thesis is marked by an external examiner and one internal examiner who will both conduct a viva examination.
Personal development is regarded as an extremely important aspect of the learning experience in enhancing self-awareness and underpinning the development of a therapeutic use of self in clinical work. Trainees will appraise their personal development throughout the course. They will keep a journal in which they are encouraged to record experiences, observations and concerns, together with self-reflections. Each trainee will be assigned an appraisal tutor from the course team who will be their advisor over the three years. The appraisal tutor will monitor the trainee's progress throughout the course and offer advice, guidance and support. A range of optional and mandatory opportunities are available to support trainees with their personal and professional development.
In keeping with the collaborative and co-operative group ethos, trainees are encouraged to seek support from course staff, peers and supervisors. A "buddy system" is encouraged and trainees have opportunities to meet together in various ways. Trainees can access one of a panel of clinicians who act as Personal Tutors. They also have access to the Regional "Therapy Network" scheme, which offers personal therapy for trainee and qualified clinical psychologists who are experiencing distress. Where availability allows, trainees may access this scheme for short-term focused work. Both universities have excellent student counselling services, which provide a confidential and independent service.
The main organisation of the course is carried out by the course team, though many NHS clinical psychologists as well as members of staff at both universities contribute to teaching and supervision in their specialist areas.
Dr Tom Patterson - Course Director
Dr Magda Marczak
Dr Helen Liebling
Dr Tony Colombo
Ms Jacky Knibbs - Selection Tutor
Dr Jo Kucharska - Clinical Director
Dr Lesley Harrison
Dr Jo Thomas
Dr Carolyn Gordon - Academic Director
Mrs Catherine Ashton - Course Administrator
Mrs Sonia Krishan - Course Secretary