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. We are currently developing our placements and academic programme to increasingly reflect the competency-based approach set out in the BPS accreditation standards. This will see you completing placements across a range of clinical areas, focusing on developing skills in assessment and formulation, therapeutic interventions, and systemic working and leadership skills.

In terms of therapeutic approaches, we focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Third Wave Therapies: particularly Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Professor Michaela Swales, Programme Director, is an internationally recognised expert in DBT and she leads the DBT teaching on the programme. Trainees with a specialist interest can gain sufficient expertise on the programme to apply for accreditation as a DBT therapist. With the Centre for Mindfulness, the local network of DBT Teams, 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 Compassion 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 College of Human Sciences.