Clinical Experience

Clinical experience starts toward the end of October of year one and extends over the three years of the programme.  Placements will aid you to develop skills in assessment and formulation before moving on to develop skills in therapeutic interventions and specific psychological therapies.  Later placements will focus on developing your skills in systemic and leadership competencies and you will end your training with an elective placement of your choice. With the exception of the final elective placement, you will complete a report of clinical activity (RCA) for each of these placements, including one CBT-RCA.

The academic component of the programme actively engages you in the learning process.  This is helped greatly by the relatively small size of each year group, allowing plenty of scope for discussion and development of ideas and skills.  You are expected to take an active role in teaching by bringing your own clinical material and experiences to discussions, and by taking part in role plays to develop skills. The academic curriculum emphasises a life span perspective. This means that topic areas can be taught by clinicians from a range of specialisms, thus ensuring that you gain a developmental view and appreciates how the same theoretical models and approaches are applied with different client groups. 

Following the programmme’s competence-based model, the majority of our teaching, matches the focus of the core placements, until you begin elective placements in year three. At the start of year one, you are provided with foundation teaching relevant to the general work of clinical psychologists across all settings. This includes core engagement, assessment and therapeutic skills, as well as professional codes of ethics and conduct and relevant legal frameworks. During placement time, one of the aims of the teaching is to equip you with both the theoretical knowledge and skills to complete robust psychological assessments and formulations. Half way through this placement you also engage in an 8-week mindfulness course as part of your teaching, to set the foundations for learning more about third wave approaches and to use yourselves to help manage the demands of training. During the second and third placements, teaching has a greater focus on therapeutic models and skills development, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. Other therapeutic models are also introduced as training progresses including Schema Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. During the final core placement there is a stronger focus on systemic working and leadership theories and practice.

All clinical placements will be undertaken within the large geographical area of North Wales, which extends from Wrexham to Pwllheli, Holyhead to Newtown and Dolgellau and cover post-industrial towns and cities as well as rural communities. Placements currently available include: adult mental health, including enduring mental health problems and working in inpatient settings, older adults including working in inpatient settings and memory clinics, child and adolescent services, neuro-developmental services, adult and child intellectual disabilities, forensic services, adult and child brain injury services, eating disorders, health clinical psychology including renal care, pain management, diabetes, chronic fatigue services, oncology, palliative care, weight management and paediatric services. In addition, you can gain further clinical experience in using particular therapeutic approaches such as CBT for psychosis, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy , Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Schema Therapy and Compassion Focussed Therapy. Each placement is evaluated by the clinical supervisor, assessing a full range of clinical and professional competencies.

Placement agreements are negotiated at the beginning of each placement by the supervisor and you, in conjunction with programme staff.  These agreements are reviewed mid-way through the placement.  You provide feedback on all placements as part of our endeavour to ensure that the high quality of clinical experience is maintained and improved.