Programme Philosophy

The programme recognises that clinical psychology is a caring profession with a number of distinctive features.  Chief among these are the close interdependence between practice and research, and the systematic application of psychological models, theories and evidence to the needs of service users and carers, and the development of services.  The main aim of the programme is to meet the needs of the NHS for HCPC registered clinical psychologists who have:

  • a wide range of clinical, organisational, leadership and research skills;

  • developed high standards of professional integrity;

  • an internalised model of reflective practice flexible enough to accommodate change and sensitivity to the needs of service users and carers..

We therefore train clinical psychologists who promote psychological thinking in health care settings, by integrating their clinical, academic and research skills, and through critical, reflective and independent thinking.  From a strong value base, they act with integrity to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives.

The programme selects trainees for their commitment to clinical psychology and their potential to develop a high level of clinical, academic and research competence.  We aim to foster this potential by encouraging the development of skills, knowledge and values that underpin these competencies.  This development takes place within a supportive structure that facilitates personal and professional growth and uses the close links that exist in North Wales between the clinical and academic services.

The programme has a positive attitude towards diversity and social inclusion, which is reflected in selection, teaching, value based practice ideas and the programme’s overall ethos.

We continually review the training programme and we are active in making adjustments, where these are indicated, in keeping with the programme’s aims and objectives and to meet the needs of the public and the profession.

In terms of therapeutic approaches, we focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Third Wave Therapies: particularly Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy . The programme is linked to the DBT clinician-scientist training programme based at Marsha Linehan’s Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington, Seattle (, allowing trainees on our programme to benefit from the latest developments within DBT and from teaching videos by Professor Linehan.  With the Centre for Mindfulness, the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Training Team, as well as an ACT peer reviewed trainer, and a range of local clinicians using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we are optimising learning in these exciting clinical areas.We are developing our Companion Focused Therapy curriculum and trainees also receive teaching in psychodynamic theory, systemic working and Applied Behavioural Analysis as one of the leading centres for training and research in Behaviour Analysis is based within the School of Psychology.

The People Panel: Our Service User/Carer Advisory Group.

The programme’s Service User and Carer Involvement Group was named by its members 'the People Panel'.  The panel was established in 2008 with one of its aims the enhancment of trainees' learning from a service user /carer perspective.  The panel currently comprises individuals who have had involvement with clinical psychology services in a range of settings such as adult mental health, clinical health, older adult, child and adolescence and child intellectual disability services. The representation on the People Pane fluctuates like an organic process and has the potential to change regularly with new members joining and others feeling that their involvement being a member of the panel reached its natural end.  The panel is involved in a number of different aspects of the training programme, from the development of client consent guidelines for trainees on placement, to the development of forms for service user feedback to be completed at the end of the trainee’s involvement. Service user and carer representatives sit on all programme committees.   Service users also play a key role in our selection procedures and are actively involved with a number of teaching sessions on the programme.  Trainee feedback on these sessions is always extremely positive and highly valued.  Trainees are encouraged to consult with service users  and carers for advice regarding potential research topics, use of questionnaires and outcome measures.  

We have trainee representation from all cohort years on the People Panel and they are encouraged to chair the meetings. The panel publish a People Panel’s newsletter Edrychiad/Insight.  A member of the panel takes the lead role in editing this resource, thus ensuring that all service user and carer activities are shared both within our programme team and the wider clinical psychology community.

At the last BPS and HCPC accreditation visit in 2012 the programme’s People Panel was commended as follows: ‘The programme enjoys the support and contribution of a committed and engaged group of service users who feel valued in their role and spoke of a positive and well- supported experience.  This aspect of the programme’s provision has developed well since the previous BPS visit (2007) and continues to go from strength to strength, having now become a tangible and embedded part of the programme with a direct impact on the training experience’.