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Clinical psychology

Job Summary

As a Clinical Psychologist you will help individuals who live with a variety of mental, emotional and behavioural problems. Your input would help to minimise distress and promote psychological wellbeing. Clients may present with a wide range of mental health problems, but training, and your eventual work, would revolve around 4 main areas: Childhood and adolescent problems; adult mental health; older adults, and special populations. Experience with one or more of these populations would be of benefit.

You could work in a team with social workers, medics or other health professions. Most work for the NHS in hospitals, clinical or health centres. Clinical Psychologists carry out:

As a Clinical Psychologist, your salary can vary considerably, dependant on your level of experience, and whether you work in a public or private setting. Salaries for qualified clinical psychologists range between £25k-£80k+.

To find out more about life as a Clinical Psychologist, take a look at the BPS video:

What qualifications do I need to become a clinical psychologist?

1) You will need a 3 year degree in Psychology that meets the standards of accreditation by the British Psychological Society. It is advantageous to also demonstrate further academic study at a postgraduate level; an example would be the MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology offered by the University of Southampton.

2) You will need a 3 year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to be able to apply for registration with the HPC (Health Professions Council) and to enable application for status as a Chartered Psychologist. The Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology provides useful information about course centres, entry requirements and funding for the doctorate. Further useful information can be found from the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) Pre-Qualification Group , which is a support group for trainee practitioners and others working towards a career in clinical psychology.

What relevant work experience would I need?

It is often very competitive to obtain a place on a postgraduate course in Clinical Psychology; 16 percent of applicants were successful in obtaining a place on a course in 2013. Work experience and supervision from a Clinical Psychologist may be just as important to a postgraduate selector as your degree. It proves that you are committed to the particular area and it helps you to stand out from the crowd.

The following points include examples of relevant work experience:

1. Assistant Psychologist role - this is easier to obtain after graduation and relevant voluntary work experience has been undertaken. These roles can be found in the 'Psychologist Appointments' which is part of 'The Psychologist' (the BPS monthly magazine), in newspapers or in specialist publications.

2. Train as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) in CBT - see the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) website.

3. The University of Southampton runs a programme for a Voluntary Research Assistant (VRA). This is unpaid and usually runs over the summer or a few hours a week during term time. It is a great opportunity to increase your chances of achieving a place on a postgraduate course. In addition, the researchers could write a letter of reference for you.

4. Voluntary work on a helpline.

5. Voluntary work with people with disabilities / mental health issues / learning difficulties.

6. Working with the NHS

7. Solent Mind work all around the Southampton area, supporting people in their local communities or in hospital settings. They work with people with a range of mental health issues, with a view to making a difference to individual's lives. Solent Mind greatly appreciates the work of their volunteers.

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