Clinical Psychology Training Programme
Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
University of Leeds
0113 343 2732
The Leeds Programme was established in 1965 and is one of the longest running clinical psychology courses in the UK. It is based in the Division of Psychological and Social Medicine which forms part of the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. It has close links with colleagues in the faculty, particularly the School of Psychology. The programme also has close links with the clinical psychologists in local NHS Trusts.
This is a three-year full-time Programme, successful completion of which leads to the award of the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsychol) which confers eligibility to apply for registration as a practitioner psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Attendance at all course components is mandatory, including the induction period. Applicants should note that the University does not accredit prior learning or award an aegrotat degree for this scheme of study (DClinPsychol). All trainees are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.
The Programme aims to foster the scientist-practitioner approach to clinical problems in clinicians who are also reflective-practitioners. Above all we wish to engender curiosity and enthusiasm in trainees and to provide them with the clinical skills, and the intellectual and professional frameworks which will enable them to continue learning on completion of the Programme. The Programme aims to train curious clinicians, clinical psychologists who can practise with a high level of therapeutic and research competence in the context of the changing NHS. The Programme strongly promotes the application of psychological theory in all aspects of the clinical psychologist's role, and its teaching covers a broad range of approaches including cognitive-behavioural (including "third wave" models), family systems and psychodynamic theory. The Programme encourages trainees to evaluate critically all forms of psychotherapy and other clinical activities. The academic teaching is organised around a framework of clinical competencies.
There are three major strands to the programme: clinical competence, research competence, and personal and professional development. Throughout the three years the academic base provides research supervision, provides opportunities for personal and professional development, organises and monitors trainee performance in clinical settings, and offers teaching to support learning in these domains. Teaching is provided by a combination of blocks and weekly day release. Periods for private study are scheduled in the formal teaching programme. Most placements are located in West Yorkshire. Decisions about clinical placements are made by the Clinical Tutors and trainees may expect to be placed in any of the services traditionally linked with the programme. It is often an advantage if trainees have their own transport as the use of public transport can be difficult and time consuming. Personal circumstances, such as health conditions and carer responsibilities, are taken into account as much as possible when allocating placements.
Trainees are expected to live within the geographical boundaries of West Yorkshire. Leeds is the pre-eminent city in West Yorkshire and with its neighbour Bradford is the centre of lively cultural, commercial and sporting activities. These centres of habitation are surrounded by easily accessible, beautiful countryside in the Dales, North York Moors and Pennines.
Acceptance into the University of Leeds scheme requires that a person should have a degree in Psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as meeting Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) standards at 2:1 or 1st class level, or have a recognised "conversion" degree. Those with "conversion qualifications" must have a 2:1 or 1st class level degree. Applicants must upload to the Clearing House system the transcript from the degree/award that conferred GBC. Please also see notes on contextual admissions below.
All trainees accepted onto the Programme will have had a minimum of 12 months full-time (or equivalent) recent experience in two or more distinct fields relevant to clinical psychology. Please also see notes on contextual admissions below. For the purpose of the application "recent" means in the last five years. We use the "full-time equivalent months" calculations in the relevant experience section of the application. This may be clinically-related research, work as a therapist, assistant psychologist, healthcare/support worker, in health, social services, private or voluntary settings. For research experience to be considered relevant, applicants must make clear the nature of interactions with participants, and how this has contributed to their appreciation of clinical psychology practice. This experience must have been gained after attaining the qualification that confers eligibility for GBC as mentioned above. This is in order that candidates can learn from and reflect on the application of psychology in practice. Evidence must be provided on the applicant's commitment to clinical psychology as a profession, and their ability to reflect on their relevant experiences. All applicants must be able to demonstrate: their knowledge of psychological principles and ability to apply these; their ability to be critical and analytical; their personal, professional and socio-political awareness. All applicants must also be eligible for NHS training as a clinical psychologist including satisfactory references. References include those submitted via the Clearing House and, following NHS requirements, references that cover the last three years of employment and include a current/most recent line manager. Applicants who have not yet graduated will not be considered.
The University of Leeds will not usually allow you to enrol onto a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology if at that time you are enrolled on any other degree, e.g. a PhD or Masters programme. If you have any outstanding requirements from another programme when the clinical course starts, you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to take up a place or to continue your studies on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme. Please contact us if you wish to discuss how this might affect your application.
The University and all the NHS Trusts associated with the Programme are dedicated to the implementation of the Equality Act (2010) with regards to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender and sexual orientation, religion or belief. Applications from people who have had direct experience of mental health difficulties are also welcome.
The DClinPsychol programme, in conjunction with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, operates its selection procedures in line with the Disability Confident process, a positive action scheme which is in compliance with the Equality Act (2010). We therefore intend to interview all applicants with a disability who choose to self-declare a disability to the programme and who meet our minimum standards for interview.
A detailed information sheet is available from our website regarding this. It explains our selection procedure and should allow everyone to make a considered choice about what personal information they might elect to disclose in their application and what the consequences of that disclosure will be. Applicants who wish to discuss this policy are welcome to contact Fiona Thorne (Clinical Tutor).
The Leeds programme has been working for many years to make sure that it is inclusive and has undertaken a range of initiatives to increase diversity in each training group. This has included working with the other programmes in our region (at the University of Sheffield and University of Hull) to hold a series of targeted open days and a mentoring scheme for applicants from BAME communities. We have also focused on increasing the diversity of people conducting short-listing and in interview panels. We retain our commitment to the Disability Confident scheme (see notes on the Disability Confident scheme above). We reserve the right to take Positive Action within the scope of s159 of the Equality Act 2010, where appropriate, to ensure that we continue to respond to the requirements of our commissioners to ensure inclusivity and diversity through our selection processes.
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.
It should be noted that due to the funding arrangements for places on the Programme (see funding section below for details) we cannot consider applications from international candidates. The programme is currently only able to offer places to candidates who are eligible for home fees status.
If English is not your first language and your university qualifications were not taught and examined in English, you will need to provide evidence that you have an adequate level of English language ability. Please see the University of Leeds - International Applicants pages on English language ability for details of the required test scores (Postgraduate Taught criteria apply due to the nature of the course structure and associated assessments). If you have any queries regarding specifics please contact us.
The selection process consists of two separate interviews. One interview is with a panel of psychologists from academic and clinical settings. Candidates will be given one question 20 minutes prior to the psychologist panel in order to have time to prepare a more detailed response for this panel. The second interviewing panel consists of up to three people who have had experience of clinical psychology/mental health services either as service users or carers. Candidates are asked to prepare and make a brief informal spoken presentation on a topic supplied in advance to this panel, who subsequently engage them in a conversation on the points raised. The aim is to allow the panel to form a judgment on the communication and interpersonal skills of each candidate. In line with Trust policy we do not use references prior to the candidate being offered a place on the Programme. Our standard arrangement is to interview three people per place, plus all those who declare a disability and who meet our minimum criteria (see the Disability Confident section above for more information).
Selection is by application and interview only; we have no plans to introduce any extra tests at screening, short-listing, or interview stages.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide detailed feedback to those candidates whose application does not progress beyond short-listing. Feedback is routinely offered to all interviewees who do not get offered a place on the Programme. However, full and up-to-date details of all stages of our selection procedures are available on our website.
Current 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 current trainees commence on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales and are therefore exempt from the Trust's local Starting Salary Guidance and no previous service at Band 6 or above is therefore credited. Currently, travelling expenses are paid for travel to and within placement, and University fees are paid directly by the NHS.
During clinical placements trainees are normally released two or three days a week in term-time for teaching, academic study, research and private study. Owing to limitations in the availability of certain clinical placements it is not possible for all trainees to do the same type of clinical placement simultaneously. All trainees begin their clinical training with a placement in either a clinical psychology service for adults or a service for children and adolescents.
Academic teaching occurs in all six semesters (October-February and February-June) of the three years of the Programme but is not constrained by term or semester dates. Clinical Placements are for 5 months (November-April and May-September) in Years 1 and 2 and for 12 months in the final year. The teaching in the first two years is timetabled to enable trainees to become prepared for the clinical populations they are likely to meet on placement. Teaching across the range of required competencies is offered throughout the programme. The programme works with an adult learner approach and, as much as possible, teaching sessions are active and participatory rather than didactic. The general weighting of academic, clinical and research components is that the research component increases in the second and third years of the Programme. The taught academic component is heaviest in the first year and reduced significantly in the third year.
The Leeds programme selection process has, since 2007, included people who have used psychology and mental health services, and carers of people who have used services. Over more recent years this involvement has developed to influence all of the areas of the programme mentioned below, including teaching and research. Everybody's Voice is the group that is at the heart of these developments; more information can be found on the Everybody's Voice page of our website and at our Extranet Site.
The academic syllabus is designed to emphasise the considerable areas of common ground shared by the clinical specialities. It aims to offer a thoroughly generic training, providing trainees with the core skills and knowledge required to approach the range of presenting problems a trained clinical psychologist is likely to encounter. The academic syllabus covers: the assessment of psychological disorders and problems; formulation; basic treatments and interventions; the evaluation of treatments, interventions and services; together with professional issues. The Leeds Programme strives to place special emphasis on an understanding of the social and developmental context in which psychological dysfunction and distress occurs. Teaching is delivered by academic staff, clinical supervisors associated with the Programme and occasional external teachers.
There are five clinical placements to be completed during the three years of the Programme during which trainees are expected to develop a range of core competencies. In the second year of the Programme, some time on clinical placement can be dedicated to clinical work of a research nature, during which trainees are expected to conduct a service evaluation. The elective placement in the third year of training is chosen by the trainee. Third year trainees are normally free to consider placements with a preferred clinical population, type of service or with an emphasis on particular core competencies.
Placements are organised by the Clinical Tutors and placement experience is monitored by the Tutors and members of the academic staff who seek to ensure that trainees integrate their clinical work with theoretical teaching, and that they continue to develop the necessary competencies throughout the period of training. Trainees and supervisors undertake a planning exercise at the beginning of each placement to ensure that a balance between the trainees' needs and the Programme requirements are met.
Trainees are required to demonstrate their competence in research in a number of ways. In the first and second years of the Programme they submit a Systematic Case Study report (5,000 words), a Service Evaluation Project (5,000 words) and a thesis transfer report for the transfer viva (10,000 words). In the final year a substantial piece of empirical work is completed and presented as a thesis (40,000 words). This thesis must make an original, critical contribution to the field of clinical psychology and should be publishable. The Programme has major research interests in aspects of health psychology (e.g. eating and eating disorders, pain, cystic fibrosis), adult and child psychopathology (e.g. self-harm and suicide), some aspects of experimental psychopathology, systematic reviewing and meta-analysis, and the process and effectiveness of psychological treatments (to get a more complete overview of current research projects visit our website). Supervision is provided by members of the programme team and colleagues from the faculty, who have expertise in a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The Programme recognises that it cannot provide expert supervision in every sub-speciality of clinical psychology and applicants should note that the Programme expects that all trainees will conduct their research with an academic supervisor able to supervise in the chosen field. Applicants with research ambitions outside of the core areas of expertise should note that supervision in their chosen topic may not be available. The University has excellent, widely accessible computing, library and research facilities.
To complete the Programme successfully the student must satisfy the examiners in all components of the Programme (Academic, Clinical and Research).
During Year 1 of the Programme trainees produce a 5,000 word essay, concerned with current issues in Clinical Psychology and its practice, and complete a clinical problem-solving examination (Problem-Based Learning, with group presentation and individual reflective report) at the end of the year. One essay is required in the third year (therapeutic work), also 5,000 words.
Clinical competence is assessed in a number of ways. Clinical Tutors meet with trainees and supervisors at Mid Placement Visits and End of Placement Reviews in order to discuss and assess the development of core competencies by the trainee. Process and outcome data from each trainee's work is actively used in this process. Supervisors and trainees complete a structured assessment form at each of these meetings. The outcomes of these assessments are submitted to the Programme's Examination Board. Trainees also give oral and written presentations of clinical work undertaken on placement. This includes a summative assessment of a placement presentation in Year 2 delivered to Years 1 and 2.
All clinical psychology training programmes are required to develop competence in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and at least one other model. The Leeds Programme does not dictate what the additional model will be for each trainee. Competency frameworks are available for the major models of psychological therapy and trainees work with tutors to evidence their competence. This is done with consideration given to trainees' interests/preferences, but must always fit with the academic support available through teaching and the opportunities for practice within the placements available to the programme.
The assessed components of research are outlined in the Research section above.
The examination of academic and clinical performance is conducted by University staff. An external examiner is appointed to oversee the examinations and can be involved in appeals against the decisions of the internal examiners. The research theses are examined by individual external examiners with specialist knowledge of the subject area.
Personal and professional development is one of the core themes in Leeds, and the staff team is committed to promoting and encouraging personal and professional development throughout training and beyond. The overall aim is to help trainee clinical psychologists to become reflective practitioners. A variety of methods and strategies are utilised: timetabled workshops throughout the three years; reflective groups in all years (including an ACT group in Year 1); a personal development journal; set conversations with a clinical tutor focusing on personal development gains and aims. It is an ever-evolving process, and we continually ask for trainee feedback to inform future developments.
The Personal and Professional Development Sub-committee (part of the overall Programme Management Committee) is both reactive to expressed need, and proactive in terms of promoting awareness and understanding of personal and professional development needs. Trainees from each of the three years are members of this sub-committee.
Each psychologist in clinical training has a named academic tutor, and a named clinical tutor, and regular meetings are timetabled throughout the three years to reflect on the training experience and to receive support. Clinical and academic tutors also conduct annual appraisal meetings. We do not have a named personal tutor, as the feedback from trainees has been that they wish to be able to choose whom to approach depending on their relationship with individual staff members, and the nature of their concerns or difficulties. We also have a mentor scheme where every trainee is allocated a qualified clinical psychologist as their mentor with the aim of developing a confidential and supportive relationship across training.
Overall, there is recognition by the staff team of the need for a supportive climate throughout training, and that seeking support when it is needed is a responsible and professional course of action. We hope and believe that we offer sensitive, responsive and flexible care to those in clinical training; and that we are open to critical comment, and seek to offer training of the highest quality.
As well as the aforementioned sub-committee, trainees from each year are representatives on a range of other sub-committees (e.g. Academic, Selection, Research, Placements) as well as on the Programme Management Committee.
Dr Jan Hughes - Joint Programme Director, Clinical Director, Honorary Associate Professor
Dr Gary Latchford - Joint Programme Director, Research Director, Honorary Associate Professor
Dr Ciara Masterson - Academic Director, Senior Lecturer
Dr Tom Isherwood - Deputy Clinical Director, Admissions Tutor, Principal Teaching Fellow
Dr Fiona Thorne - Clinical Tutor, Lecturer
Dr Tracey Smith - Clinical Tutor, Lecturer
Dr Beckie Yeates - Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Dr David Turgoose - Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Dr Charlotte Baker - Teaching Fellow in Clinical Neuropsychology
Dr Clare Dowzer - Learning Technologist, Research Co-ordinator
Anita Dorsett - Research Co-ordinator
Debby Williams - Senior Programme Co-ordinator
Sarah Snowden - Programme Co-ordinator
Harriet Armour - Programme Assistant
Many members of the Division of Psychological and Social Medicine, other Divisions within the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, and the School of Psychology contribute teaching and research supervision to the programme. We encourage trainees to make professional and academic links within the discipline of psychology and at an interdisciplinary level with psychiatry and other healthcare professions.