Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience - King's College London

Course Code: 12

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
King's College London
PO Box 78
4 Windsor Walk
London
SE5 8AF

Twitter icon @KingsDClinPsy

Programme Director: Dr Katharine Rimes
Programme Co-ordinator (Admissions): Kayleigh Rawlings
Course Administration & Admissions enquiries: dclinpsy-admin@kcl.ac.uk

Please note that the Programme admissions team are unable to provide individual careers advice or advice on further postgraduate study to potential applicants. Please follow our Twitter account for general admissions advice.

Introduction

Programme Orientation

Welcome to the UK's oldest clinical psychology training programme. The three-year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is based within the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London.

The IoPPN is a world leader in the research, study and practice of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines. National and international experts in their field, from not only the Dept of Psychology but the wider IoPPN faculty, teach on the programme and provide clinical and research supervision.

We have long-standing links with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, which includes the Bethlem Hospital (oldest psychiatric institution in the world) and the Maudsley Hospital (established 1924). Most of the teaching on the programme is provided by clinical experts within this Trust or the broader King's Heath Partners which also includes Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, and King's College London NHS Foundation Trust. Most of the Programme staff provide clinical sessions within King's Health Partners. This integration with King's Health Partners allows effective partnership and collaborative relationships.

The Programme values the reflective scientist-practitioner model for clinical psychology and integrates theory, research and practice in all aspects of the Programme. This integration is embodied in the way the Programme team and many clinical academics within the Department of Psychology provide clinical sessions within the NHS, by the many practice placement supervisors who teach on the Programme and undertake research and in the way the curriculum is developed and kept up-to-date through partnership with local NHS colleagues and clinical academic colleagues.

A biopsychosocial approach underpins the provision, in line with the broad range of IoPPN research investigating multiple determinants of psychological difficulties and neurological conditions. Our understanding of this framework is that it is linked to a continuum model in which we strive to understand psychological difficulty from an assumption of commonality of experience and human potential.

CBT is the primary therapeutic modality, reflecting the world-leading research and clinical expertise at the IoPPN and King’s Health Partners; family therapy is the second modality, building on collaborative relationships with family therapy educators and researchers at the IoPPN.

Other research and clinical expertise includes:

  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Digital mental health including virtual technologies and digital delivery
  • Early intervention in mental health
  • Neuropsychology & neuro-imaging
  • Clinical health psychology
  • Longitudinal research including links with Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry department
  • Innovative clinical services e.g. using third wave cognitive behavioural methodologies and applying cutting edge research findings. There is a very wide range of placement opportunities in local and national specialist services.

The programme is located in South East London with its vibrant and diverse communities; the programme values and positively promotes equality, inclusion and diversity. At the IoPPN and local Trusts, there is much expertise relating to Culture, Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) in clinical, research, and teaching activities.

Programme Objectives

The Core Purpose of the Programme is:

"to benefit service users, carers and wider society through training clinical psychologists who are skilled in evidence-based psychological assessment and intervention, who produce applied research of the highest quality and impact, and who will become leaders within the NHS, clinical academia and beyond."

This core purpose is achieved by training students to demonstrate all Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency and British Psychological Society (BPS) required competencies for practising clinical psychologists, thereby conferring eligibility to apply to join the HCPC register of applied psychologists and become a practising clinical psychologist.

The Programme aims in partnership with all stakeholders to train clinical psychologists who:

  • Embody the reflective scientist-practitioner ideal;
  • Are skilled in evidence-based psychological assessment, formulation and therapy;
  • Will become leaders within the NHS;
  • Conduct high quality applied research to advance psychological knowledge and therapy;
  • Are self-reflective and self-aware;
  • Embody compassion, dignity and respect in all areas of their work;
  • Use their overarching meta-competencies in a wide range of settings to respond creatively and flexibly to new challenges and to create positive change;
  • Take responsibility for meeting all standards of professional proficiency and ethical conduct set out by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Trainees on the Programme are key stakeholders, helping to shape the Programme's development and evolution through participation in training committees and feedback systems. The Programme promotes and values trainees' professionalism in all areas of training. Trainees are represented on key Programme training committees and hold year group meetings with the Programme Director and other senior Programme staff. Trainees also lead a number of working parties which inform programme development, including the Increasing Access Committee and Service User Involvement Working Party. As well as enhancing the quality of the Programme, these experiences provide trainees with opportunities to develop skills in leadership and systemic working.

Experts by Experience

Alongside trainees, service users and carers are key stakeholders with representation on key committees and working parties. Service users and carers are involved in a number of sessions within the teaching curriculum directly via co-producing or co-delivering. Service users also provide input into teaching, assessment, governance, trainee research, selection and placement feedback. Each interview panel for prospective trainees includes a service user or carer.

Location

The Programme is based predominantly within King's Health Partners (an Academic Health Sciences Centre) which comprise King's College London and three of the highest rated NHS Foundation Trusts in the country: South London and Maudsley, King's College Hospital, and Guy's and St Thomas'. The majority of placements are located within South London and are accessible via public transport links.

HCPC, BPS and Other Accreditation

The Programme meets the standards of education and training required by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK. Successful completion of the Programme confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council as a clinical psychologist.

The Programme is also accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and graduates of the Programme are able to apply for Chartered Membership and full membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology.

The Programme has applied for Foundation level with the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

Commendations

The following commendations were made about the Programme from our most recent BPS Accreditation Visit:

"There is a vast extent of research activities, resources and support available to all trainees on the programme. Trainees have the option to pursue research in their own areas of interest, and this is positively encouraged"

"The cohesiveness and responsiveness of the programme team to communicate with all stakeholders including trainees, clinical supervisors, service users and commissioners. The programme team proactively provide excellent communication channels with all the different stakeholders involved in the programme"

Areas of good practice noted by the BPS included the work on diversity and inclusion by the programme team, the support and pastoral care for international students and for all trainees during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the leadership opportunities available for trainees.

Entry Requirements

Academic Criteria

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

All applicants to the Programme must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS at the time of applying. GBC is usually obtained by completion of:

  • an honours degree that has psychology as the main field of study or
  • a Masters or Doctoral degree that has psychology as the main field of study or
  • a recognised conversion degree that confers eligibility for GBC.

The Programme does not distinguish between types of accredited conversion degree or course centres where these are undertaken. Completion of a conversion degree means that during our short-listing process, we would weight your undergraduate degree in a different discipline the same as a psychology degree.

Current Undergraduates and Studying for a Conversion Course

Applications from current undergraduates still completing their undergraduate degree or conversion course at the time of application will not be considered. This is because proof of GBC status needs to have been received at the time of short-listing and the final award of the qualification given to enable assessment.

Academic Qualifications

Applicants should include full grade or pass mark details for all school leaving qualifications (whether A level or equivalent). Grades relating to any non-UK qualifications must be in a format that will allow conversion to a UK equivalent. Candidates unsure of their equivalency should still list all qualifications and original grades in their application for assessment.

Candidates are required to have a minimum 2:1 degree in Psychology, or different discipline where the candidate has achieved Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society via a conversion diploma.

Due to the high number of applications we receive each year, competition for places is fierce. Applications can be enhanced by evidence of a postgraduate qualification relevant to clinical psychology, however this is not a prerequisite for a successful application.

A full transcript should be submitted as evidence of a BPS accredited qualification, along with proof of GBC status. If submitting a transcript in another language, the candidate must also provide an English translated copy.

Experience Criteria

Clinical Experience

It is important for applicants to demonstrate clinical competence, reflective practice and a realistic understanding of the profession – including its diverse role within the NHS.

Applicants must have the equivalent of at least six months' full-time equivalent (FTE) relevant clinical experience or employment, either paid or voluntary, prior to submitting their application. Please note that due to the high number of applications, clinical experience gained during an undergraduate placement or voluntary work undertaken before degree completion will not be regarded as sufficient on its own.

The length of experience can be gained in a number of roles but should equate to six months in total when adding up the FTE months of relevant experience within your application.

It is important that any such experience acquired is described in detail in the application. Experience can be gained in any type of environment, whether within the NHS, another healthcare body or in private practice and be either paid or voluntary, however it must be relevant to the field of clinical psychology.

Positions for relevant experience include Assistant or Research Psychologists. Other roles are also considered as long as they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Supervision by a clinical psychologist (or equivalent mental health practitioner)
  • Familiarity with clinical populations and settings
  • Substantive (voluntary) position (preferably within a statutory setting, e.g. Local Authority Mental Health volunteer)
  • Face-to-face contact with service users (e.g. graduate primary care worker, nursing or healthcare assistant).
  • Applying/disseminating research

Due to difficulties gaining suitable experience since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, remote work that meets one or more of the criteria above will also be considered.

Please note that the following types of roles, whilst valued for development, would not be considered part of relevant clinical experience or employment to meet the six months FTE criteria.

  • Carer
  • Mentor
  • Helpline volunteer (e.g. Samaritans)
  • Befriender
  • Special Education Needs Assistant
  • Clinical experience limited to general healthcare (e.g. general practitioner, nurse)

Due to the high number of applicants, candidates without experience of carrying out assessments, behavioural interventions and observations and/or treatment programmes with clients in a clinical or research capacity are very unlikely to be short-listed for interview.

Research Experience

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is a research degree programme and incorporates a substantial research component which is carried out during the period of registration and which results in the submission of a thesis for examination at doctoral degree level. Applicants must have experience of conducting and disseminating research following their undergraduate degree, alongside a sound understanding of basic research methods.

Whilst there is not a formal FTE requirement on the amount of research experience, due to the high application ratio for places on the Programme, it is highly unlikely that candidates without such experience will be successful in their application.

Research experience can be gained in an academic environment, for example during a master's degree, in a research role, or in a clinical setting, such as a service review/audit.

Other examples of work that would be considered relevant research experience are as follows:

  • Project development
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Writing up and/or presenting results
  • Publications
  • Doctoral Level Research

Academic publications are valued, but not essential, and should be described in the application. Academic publications must have been accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals to be considered during the selection process. Please note that publications listed may be verified during the short-listing process.

References

All applicants must have one academic referee and one clinical experience referee. Applicants without two completed references will not be considered.

Academic referees should be able to comment on an applicant's academic ability and preferably have direct experience of their academic work or research experience.

The clinical experience referee should be able to comment on an applicant's suitability for training as a clinical psychologist. Ideally this reference would be from a clinical psychologist and recent. If this is not possible, the rationale for the selection of that particular referee should be detailed in the application. At the very least, the clinical experience referee must be a mental health professional who has supervised a candidate's work in a clinical or research environment.

The Programme encourages applicants to carefully consider their referees as to their suitability to provide the information requested in the Clearing House reference forms, templates of which can be accessed in the references section of the Clearing House website. A referee who has had little contact with you is unlikely to be able to write a reference of sufficient quality and depth. A referee who supervised you years ago may not be able to comment on your development and standard of your work at the time of the application.

Applicants should request for their references to be anonymised (e.g. "they"). Applications which include references written by family members will not be considered.

Please note: a number of healthcare organisations have a policy of providing standardised references for all employees and will not provide personal references. We do not accept these references and would not be able to consider applications where these are received. Please check this before you apply.

Right to Work/Fees Status

Home Fees Applicants/NHS Commissioned Places

All applicants with Home fees status who are eligible for an NHS funded place on the Programme must apply via the Clearing House. There is no other possible route of application for those with Home fees status. Alongside home fees status, candidates must have the right to work in the UK without restriction for the duration of the training contract.

International Applicants

Those who do not qualify for Home fees status can apply for a self-funded place as an international candidate via the King's College London admissions portal. Please see our online prospectus for further information on how to apply. There is no other possible route of application for those with overseas fees status.

Fees Status Queries

Discerning whether an applicant has Home fees status from their application alone can be complex as there are a number of criteria which must be met to be eligible for this. The Programme expects candidates to know the correct route of application for their status and will not consider applications made via the wrong route of application. Even if you are a UK citizen, a residency criteria needs to have been met for a candidate to have Home fees status. To ascertain your fees status, please see the guidance in the Entry Requirements section of this website.

If still unsure about your fees status, the UK Council for International Student Affairs provides further advice on this matter.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Candidates for whom English is not their first language will be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency. The minimum level is: IELTS score of 7.0 (with no element below 6.5). Please see the King's College London postgraduate entry requirements regarding other English Language Proficiency Tests that are accepted (Band B).

Equal Opportunities

Policy Statement

The IoPPN DClinPsy Training Programme is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity for all trainees and members of staff.

In line with the Equality Act 2010 our aim is to promote equality of opportunity to ensure that no applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, gender, disability, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, sexual orientation, or race (including ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality). We are committed to increasing the diversity of the profession and encourage applications from suitably qualified candidates from all sections of the community.

Further information on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at King's and the IoPPN can be found on our websites.

Equal Opportunities Data and Positive Action

The Programme will apply positive action during the short-listing process. If two (or more) applications achieve the same score within a short-listing panel, equal opportunities data for the candidates will be independently accessed to ascertain whether they meet one of the following protected characteristics (all associated with under-representation in training): racial or ethnic minority background; disability; male sex. Positive action will be taken for the candidates with the characteristics above. A similar process will apply if two candidates have the same score at interview.

The Programme also actively analyses equal opportunities data after completion of the selection process to identify potential barriers in the selection process for those with protected characteristics, with findings used to influence changes in the selection process where appropriate alongside revision of Programme guidance to make requirements and advice clearer.

For candidates equal opportunities data to be used for the above purposes, they need to consent to provide full access to the Programme for the information they give in the equal opportunities section of their application.

Contextual Admissions

Our programme is considering developing contextual recruitment processes. This is based on evidence that contextualising individuals' achievements using additional information about their educational, social and economic background can lead to fairer and more inclusive selection processes. In particular, this information could help us to recognise individuals with strong potential for success at doctoral level and within the profession, who otherwise might not have been identified.

The Clearing House will circulate a survey to collect Contextual Admissions data separately from the application form. The Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology have agreed the questions in this survey, which have evidence for improving the inclusivity and equity of recruitment processes. Completion of this survey is optional, however if you are able to answer any of the questions which provide some additional background about you, and you are happy to provide this to us via the Clearing House, then we would encourage you to do so.

We will in due course provide further details on our website about how we will use the data collected in the survey e.g. as part of our selection processes; for audit/research purposes to consider developments to selection processes in future years; to create reports for external agencies such as Health Education England (which commissions many of the training programmes); etc.

Disabilities

Please note that King's College London does not currently subscribe to the "Disability Confident Scheme" (also known as "double-tick"), however disability has been identified as one of protected characteristics where positive action may be taken, as outlined above.

Candidates short-listed for interview should discuss any access arrangements or request any reasonable adjustments as soon as possible.

Selection Procedure

Short-listing and Interviews

Our selection process has the following steps:

  1. Screen out applicants who do not meet minimum entry criteria (GBC, Home Fees Status, Right to work in UK, Incomplete Application/Missing References, English Language Requirements).
  2. Rank all remaining candidates based on academic achievement.
  3. Exclude candidates who do not have at least six months of clinical experience.
  4. Exclude candidates who do not have research experience.
  5. Remove from application pack the pages with name and details regarding which grades they obtained and distribute anonymised applications to clinical psychologists who score the applications using a standardised template to reduce individual biases.
  6. Each application is scored blindly by two members of the panel.  In each panel we have males, females and at least one racial/ethnic minority scorer.
  7. Candidates are ranked based on scores achieved in Step 2 and Step 6, with the top candidates for each panel offered an interview, with a further 10 candidates per panel placed on the reserve list for interview. We interview three to four candidates for each available place.

There are no assessment tests or formal presentations. If you are short-listed, you will be invited for one interview lasting approximately 30-40 minutes with a panel of three members of the Programme Selection Sub-Committee. Each interview panel includes at least one Black, Asian or other minority ethnic individual and a service user or carer.

The interview will consider a candidate's communication and leadership skills, alongside suitability for the Programme and profession.  An applicant's academic and research experience and knowledge, clinical experience, capacity for self-reflection and knowledge of current issues affecting the NHS will also be covered.

Feedback

Please note that due to the high numbers of applicants, the Programme does not give individual feedback to applicants who are not interviewed, however more detailed written individualised feedback will be provided to all unsuccessful candidates to improve applicants' understanding of some of the factors influencing their unsuccessful application. Feedback is offered to all candidates who are interviewed by telephone.

Other courses still to be completed

Candidates enrolled on any other degrees at the point of application, e.g. a PhD or Masters Programme, must have completed their degree in advance of starting the Programme. If you have outstanding requirements from another programme when the course starts (beginning of October), you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to continue your studies on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Fitness to Practise, Criminal Record Checks, Health Assessments and Other Checks

Please see the information on Fitness to Practise, Criminal Record Checks, Health Assessments and Other Checks provided in the Application section of this website.

Safeguarding

Training as a clinical psychologist involves working with children and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is therefore taken very seriously and the highest standards of behaviour are expected from clinical psychology trainees. Throughout the selection process and the training programme we will take stringent measures to ensure that the clients that trainees work with are kept safe.

Funding

Home Fees Applicants

Current Home fees status trainees are full-time employees of the health service and have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements. On entry to the programme all trainees commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales (including inner London High Cost Area Supplement).  Excess travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placement, and University fees are currently paid directly by Health Education England.

The Programme interviews at least three candidates per place on offer and expects to interview at least 120 candidates for 2022 entry. 37 places were available for 2021 entry and 26 for 2020.

Please also see the generic Trainee Job Description and Person Specification available on this website.

Overseas Fees Applicants (Self-funded Places)

Those who do not qualify for Home fees status can apply for a self-funded place as an international candidate via the King's College London admissions portal. Please see our online prospectus for further information on how to apply.

Structure and Content

The Programme is intensive. In each year, trainees spend three days a week on supervised clinical practice placements (Tuesdays to Thursdays) with Mondays and Fridays dedicated for teaching and research. Attendance at all course components is mandatory. Trainees are also expected to undertake their own independent learning.

Academic teaching, research supervision and clinical supervision are mainly carried out by members of the Department of Psychology or other departments within the Institute of Psychiatry, or by clinical psychologists working within King's Health Partners, giving the programme an overall cohesion and sense of community. The Programme also receives specialist contributions to its academic teaching from invited outside speakers and experts.

The length of the Programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience. All trainees are required to complete the full Programme of training in order to qualify and while on the Programme, all trainees take annual holiday entitlement within set time periods to fit in with teaching and placement attendance requirements. Of their 27 day annual leave entitlement, trainees are currently allowed up to five days flexible leave per academic year in line with the Programme annual leave policy. Please note that the annual leave policy is regularly reviewed.

Curriculum

The overall structure and curriculum of the programme are closely aligned with the requirements set out by the Health & Care Professions Council's (HCPC) Standards of Education and Training (HCPC, 2017), the criteria of the British Psychological Society and the expectations of Health Education England who commission the programme.

The programme delivers teaching based on research, theoretical literature, practice-based experience and lived experience (service user and carer input). Teaching is provided in lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. Methods of delivery include, discussions, polls, case example, role-plays, video displays, and didactic teaching. This is designed according to the material to be covered and the stage of training. Trainees are encouraged to contribute to the process, it is made clear to them that significant aspects of learning and development will come from each other.

Lectures present theories and research findings, with some focus on practice. Workshops and clinical skills workshops have a more experiential and practical focus and include the use of role-play and video recordings. Reflective practice is supported through facilitated experiential groups. Placements are conceptualised as key teaching and learning opportunities. This range of approaches is intended to fulfil the different learner needs and offer the trainees opportunities to reflect critically on theoretical issues and their application to their clinical practice with diverse communities and research. Partnership and trainee leadership in curriculum design and delivery are encouraged throughout the programme. For example, small group seminars and tutorials require the trainees to read specific research papers and present critical appraisals to other trainees and staff. Trainee-led conferences take place in all three years: in Years 1 and 2 trainees present themed talks on clinical practice, and in Year 3 findings from their research thesis.

The Curriculum comprises of teaching streams that are led by academic clinicians and NHS service-based specialist clinicians. This curriculum is revised through consultation processes with NHS specialists, trainees, service users and NHS commissioners. The teaching streams fall under the following headings:

  • Adult General
  • Adult Addictions
  • Adult Anxiety
  • Adult Forensic
  • Adult Mood
  • Adult Psychosis
  • Ageing
  • Child
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Diversity
  • Family Therapy
  • Intellectual Disability and Neuro-developmental Disorders
  • Leadership
  • Other Therapy Approaches
  • Professional Issues
  • Reflective Practice and Reflective Case Discussions
  • Research, Assessment and Methodology
  • Supervision

The teaching on the programme aims to train clinical psychologists who:

  1. Uphold the NHS values of;
    • Working together for patients
    • Respect and dignity
    • Commitment to quality of care
    • Compassion
    • Improving lives
  2. Are committed to evidence based practice
  3. Are aware of the role of clinical psychology, while respectful of the contribution of other disciplines
  4. Are capable of utilising knowledge and a variety of methodologies to inform decisions and provide leadership
  5. Are thoughtful and sensitive to diverse client needs and those of their carers
  6. Are committed to continued professional development

Clinical Placements

Trainees undertake six 6-month placements. The four "core" areas of the Programme are Adult and Child mental health (Year 1) and Older adults and Intellectual disability (Year 2); the third year comprises two elective or specialist placements. The majority of placements are located within South London and are accessible via public transport links. Trainees' prior experience and future career preferences are taken into consideration in placement allocation.

The third year comprises two elective or specialist placements of a trainees choosing. There is a wide, exciting range of elective placement opportunities within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH), Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and in other organisations.  SLaM provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK.

Placements are offered in a variety of specialisms and settings, including primary care, secondary care, inpatient, secure settings and non-statutory organisations. We are fortunate to have many national services across the Trusts, meaning that trainees have access to a number of specialist placements. Placements may be based in the community or hospital settings.

In addition to the direct clinical work, a key emphasis is placed on trainees developing leadership competencies on placements and getting experience of working collaboratively with service users and carers, as well as learning skills in working alongside allied health and social care workers in multidisciplinary settings.

Clinical supervisors are predominantly clinical psychologists but may also include clinical health psychologists, counselling psychologists, CBT therapists, forensic psychologists and psychotherapists. A lead supervisor, who is a clinical psychologist, is identified for the placements.

The Programme's minimum expectations in relation to the amount, frequency and nature of supervision that should be in place are guided by the BPS Guidance on Clinical Supervision. The total contact between the trainee and the supervisor is expected to be at least three hours a week.

Research

By May of the final year, trainees are required to submit a research thesis of between 25,000 to 55,000 words.

The thesis is comprised of:

  • Service-Related Project (conducted in the first year)
  • Empirical Project and Systematic Review (conducted in the second and third years)

The Service-Related Project will have a clinical supervisor.

The Empirical Project and Systematic Literature Review will have a main and second supervisor. Projects are written up in a format ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Many trainees go on to publish their research in academic journals. Staff within the Department of Psychology and wider Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience offer research expertise and supervision in a wide range of topics. Please see the Psychology Department website for details of staff research interests. Further information is available on our website about research at the IoPPN.

The research topic can be tailored around trainees’ bespoke needs and interests, providing an individualised and personal learning experience. Trainees have the opportunity to co-create a research topic with academic staff having expertise in that particular field.

Assessment

A developmental, competency-based approach is taken to assessment, combining formative and summative assessment methods.

Summative Assessment
  • Qualifying examinations are held in June of the first year. The pass mark is 50% and trainees who fail are allowed to re-sit on one occasion in July.
  • Case Conferences: In the first year of training, trainees are asked to present a case study that demonstrates their CBT knowledge and skills. In the second year of training, trainees are asked to present a case where they have worked with more than one person in the room, and to offer a systemic formulation and treatment plan to assess their knowledge and skills in systemic practice.
  • All six practice placements are Graded Pass/Fail by placement supervisors.
  • Trainees are also required to pass three assessments of clinical competence to qualify from the Programme - these are based on in vivo assessment of clinical work assessing generic therapy skills, cognitive therapy and cognitive assessment competencies.
  • The research thesis is assessed at a viva by two external examiners.
  • The failure of two placements, or of an examination resit, or resubmitted assessments of clinical competence or the viva examination, will constitute a Programme failure. No lesser exit award is available under the Programme.
Formative Assessment

In addition to summative assessment, the Programme provides formative feedback and assessment in a variety of ways, including:

  • Annual appraisals
  • Statistics tests in the first year of training
  • Leadership project proposal in third year of training
  • Trainee-led research showcase in third year of training (presenting findings from their research thesis)

Trainees receive presentation skills training in the third year of study from an external specialist.

Support

Personal and Professional Development

Throughout the training programme, trainees are encouraged to synthesise and reflect on different aspects of their learning and work as part of their professional development and integration of their personal and professional aspects. Key contributors to this process are the use of clinical supervision, discussions in teaching workshops, meetings with personal tutors and appraisers, and reflections in their log book and clinical assessments.

Clinical placement supervisors provide support by monitoring and guiding the trainee's clinical work and fostering the development of professional awareness and practice.

The teaching programme over the three years is designed to promote reflection on personal development and clinical practice by covering professional issues, ethics and diversity. The importance of self-directed learning through critical reading of relevant literature is fostered through small group tutorials and seminars.

All trainees are given broad-based training reflecting the Programme's key concepts of the scientist-practitioner and evidence-based practice. However the Programme recognises the value of trainees developing their own interests within clinical psychology, and to this end third year placements are elective and trainees can carry out their Main Research Projects in an area that particularly appeals to them.

Monitoring of trainees' personal and professional development is carried out primarily through the Competency assessment process completed at mid and end of placement by placement supervisors which is monitored by the trainees' Clinical Tutor. Personal and professional development is also reviewed in the annual appraisals.

The leadership stream of the curriculum supports trainees in developing leadership knowledge and skills across the three years of training. The leadership workshops provide understanding of leadership, opportunities for exploration of themselves as leaders and opportunities to apply leadership knowledge and skills to develop NHS services in project-based learning.

The programme offers all second-year trainees the opportunity to attend an externally led eight-week mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) course. Establishing greater awareness through mindfulness can be a key underpinning of self-reflective practice.

Support Systems

The Programme has a number of support systems in place to ensure that trainees are well supported and to create a stimulating and rewarding environment for trainees to develop personally and professionally during their training.

  • Before joining the Programme, each new trainee is contacted by their "buddy" (one of the current first year trainees) to facilitate their transition onto the Programme.
  • Each trainee is allocated a personal support tutor - a qualified clinical psychologist available for confidential advice and support who is available to meet at least once per term throughout training. The personal support tutor, where possible, is matched to trainee career interests to allow for mentoring alongside pastoral support.
  • Each trainee is also allocated a clinical tutor who will visit them on placement throughout the three years to maximise continuity, support and development.
  • Each trainee is allocated an appraisal tutor from within the Programme team to support progression across all aspects of the Programme.
  • Reflective practice groups and themed reflective case discussions run throughout training, which provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect on training and the impact of clinical work.
  • A support group is available for trainees with childcare responsibilities, which includes drop-in meetings with clinical tutors.
  • Orientation meetings are scheduled in the timetable to facilitate transition into the following year of study. At the end of the final year there is an exit meeting to allow trainees to reflect with the Programme Team about their experiences of the training programme.
  • Trainees with disability support needs can book a confidential appointment with a Disability Adviser at King's College London Disability Support. This will help develop an Inclusion Plan which summaries aspects of your disability and provides recommendations of support strategies to ensure we can best support you throughout your training experience.

Wellbeing and Student Services

As a course, we care about the psychological wellbeing of our trainees and aim to ensure we can best support trainees who may be experiencing difficulties or have additional support needs. We recognise that whilst training you are likely to experience periods of increased stress given the various pressures that need to be managed across different components of the course, as well as any additional stressors including physical and mental health concerns, or other personal factors that may impact on wellbeing.

We have a number of sources of support available to our trainees as well as resources and signposting of services.

  • The Student Services Department of King's College London is the College's single point of access for all enquiries related to King's services that cover: Information, Advice, Health, Wellbeing and Sport. This includes offering counselling, welfare and medical services.
  • Counselling and Occupational Health support is also available through the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
  • All students at King's College London have access to the King's Careers & Employability Service.

We value diversity and working closely with those who have lived experience of mental health difficulties. We want to promote an atmosphere of openness, acceptance and compassion.

Feedback and Involvement

The Programme philosophy is based on the reflective scientist-practitioner model and trainees are expected to engage actively in all aspects of the training programme, whether in lectures, on placements or conducting their own research. The feedback process is ongoing and reciprocal: lecturers and supervisors report on trainees' progress and professionalism, but it is equally important for the Programme to hear trainees' comments on their experiences.

As key stakeholders on the Programme, trainees help to shape the Programme's development and evolution through representation and participation in the majority of the Programme committees – these are the: Training Programme Committee, Practice Placement Sub-Committee, Curriculum Sub-Committee, and Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee. The cohort representative roles for each committee provide valuable professional development experiences in relating to a wide range of stakeholders and contributing to quality assurance processes.

There are also a number of opportunities for trainees to begin working as partners and leaders whilst training via involvement in working parties and groups focused on priorities within clinical psychology training. This includes a Service User and Carer Involvement Working Party which looks at ways to improve service user involvement within course activities and an Increasing Access work stream, which started with the aim to support aspiring psychologist groups looking to access clinical psychology training to advance to the next stages in their development (e.g. from support worker to assistant psychologist) and now includes outreach activities including presentations to schools.

Trainees provide feedback on practice placements in three ways:

  • Trainees currently provide seen feedback to their supervisors at the mid and end points of their practice placements.  The feedback consists of completing ratings of all applicable aspects of their practice placements and supervision on a three-point scale. Trainees provide additional information on any categories that have been identified as not meeting expectations and give general overall comments on the practice placement.  These feedback forms are scrutinised by the clinical tutor(s) for each cohort during the mid-placement review process and at the conclusion of each practice placement. The end of placement ratings are also scrutinised and analysed to provide an overview of all of the placement feedback for audit and reporting purposes.  Trainees also meet individually with their clinical tutor during the mid-placement review. 
  • Each cohort provides collective feedback on their experiences of supervision at the end of the academic year. They are asked to highlight helpful practices in the context of clinical supervision and to generate recommendations for the enhancement of supervision.  This feedback is incorporated into the annual supervisor training and disseminated to supervisors and Trust psychology staff through a range of mechanisms.
  • Two representatives from each trainee cohort attend the Practice Placement Sub-Committee in order to contribute to the overall delivery of clinical placements and to provide additional feedback.

For the curriculum trainees give feedback in two primary ways.

  • First, anonymous feedback surveys are collected following all teaching sessions including tutorials, lectures, seminars and workshops.
  • Second, each year group gives collective feedback on each teaching block. This involves trainee groups meeting and reflecting on each stream of the teaching programme, and completing a feedback form. Two representatives from each cohort attend the Curriculum Sub-Committee meeting to present a summary of this feedback. Additional opportunities for trainees to provide feedback on the curriculum and assessment procedures are also available as part of their mid-placement reviews and annual appraisal meetings.

For research, at regular intervals during the three years trainees are asked to complete and submit a Research Progress Report (RPR) to help them and the Programme team keep track of progress on their research work. This offers trainees the opportunity to raise any queries or concerns in relation to specific areas of their research.

Facilities and Resources

As a student at King's College London, trainees are entitled to use any of the university's campus libraries. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Weston Education Centre (WEC) libraries on the Denmark Hill campus hold the largest psychiatric collection of resources in Western Europe with more than 3,000 print journal titles, over 250 of which are current subscriptions. They also provide access to several thousand electronic journals and over 42,000 books/multimedia items. E-journals can be accessed from a KCL managed computer or offsite using a KCL username and password. Trainees also have access to a wide and comprehensive range of databases to consult literature and conduct literature reviews. KCL library offers access to 27 bibliographic databases including CINAHL, OVID, EMBASE, PsychInfo, Elsevier health and OVID books. Access to these databases allows consulting and downloading full text articles.

Trainees have access to dedicated research rooms and laboratories for conducting face-to-face assessment and therapy sessions. Trainees have also access to the following research equipment and facilities: EEG lab, TMS lab, biological motion equipment including motion capture devices, Virtual reality lab including a variety of headsets and dedicated technical support, software for programming and delivering experimental psychology tasks such as Millisecond, platforms for mobile phone app building and experience sampling (e.g. Metricwire, Expiwell). For more specialist research, trainees are also able to access the wider IoPPN facilities and King's Health Partners for research not specific to psychology.

Alongside access to King's College London student & SLaM staff facilities, including library services, there is a dedicated common room on campus specifically for DClinPsy Trainees which offers access to NHS and student computers, personal lockers, telephone, free printing services and other resources.

The programme has a large number of psychological tests, instruments and forms which can be loaned out to trainees for their clinical or research work.

Trainees are able to access various software packages on and off campus for free to support their learning. Available software includes: Assistive Software, Bibliographic (e.g. Endnote; Zotero); Collaboration, Database & Development Tools, Mathematical and Medical and Statistical packages (e.g. GPower, Maple, Millisecond Inquisit, SPSS, Meta Analysis, NVivo, SigmaPlot).

If trainees research projects require statistical software packages not provided by the College, they are able to purchase these using the agreed funding for their project - alongside any further training required for their use if not provided within the Research Assessment & Methodology teaching stream. Similarly, they can use the budget for access to or development of web-based applications or use digital platforms for the evaluation or delivery of psychological interventions. The programme is fortunate to have dedicated statistician time from the Biostatistics Department to support trainees research, which can be accessed via an online booking system for stats support.

All trainees on the Programme are provided with laptops, mobile phones, Microsoft E3 licenses (for secure cloud storage) and VPNs by the host trust (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) for their clinical work.

Staff

Programme Leadership

Dr Katharine Rimes - Programme Director
Dr Tim Meynen - Joint Clinical Director
Dr Majella Byrne - Joint Clinical Director
Dr Idit Albert - Curriculum Director
Dr Patrick Smith - Research Director
Dr Lucia Valmaggia - Head of Selection & Research Tutor

Programme Tutors

Dr Matteo Cella - Research Tutor
Dr Steven Livingstone - Academic Tutor & Systemic Lead
Dr Simon Riches - Academic Tutor
Dr Barbara Barter - Clinical Tutor
Dr Kate Johnston - Clinical Tutor
Dr Teuta Rexhepi-Johansson - Clinical Tutor
Dr Nicola Reynolds - Clinical Tutor
Dr Kiki Atnas - Clinical Tutor
Dr Claire McGoldrick - Clinical Tutor
Dr Sarah Carr - Clinical Tutor
Dr Juliana Onwumere - Co-chair of DClinPsy Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee
Dr Jasmine Chin - Joint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead
Dr Alison Mulligan - Joint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead

Programme Administration Team

Mark Ballham - Programme Manager
Ciara McDermott - Programme Officer (Curriculum)
Hannah Farrell - Programme Officer (Clinical Placements)
Kayleigh Rawlings - Programme Officer (Research and Admissions)