Welcome to the UK’s oldest Clinical Psychology training programme. The three year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is based within the Department of Psychology. Trainees spend three days a week on supervised clinical practice placements and two days a week are for teaching, study and research.
To benefit patients, carers and wider society through training clinical psychologists who are skilled in evidence-based psychological assessment and intervention, who produce applied research of the highest quality and impact, and who will become leaders within the NHS.
Programme Philosophy & Aims
The three year training programme values the reflective scientist-practitioner model as a basis for clinical psychology. There is a strong emphasis on integration of theory, research and practice in all aspects of the programme.
The programme is underpinned by a biopsychosocial framework. This framework identifies biology, psychological and social factors that contribute across the lifespan to the development and maintenance of psychological difficulties and mental disorders, or conversely to wellness and resilience. Our understanding of this framework is that it is linked to a continuum view of psychological difficulty. Thus, the programme seeks to understand psychological difficulty from an assumption of commonality of experience and human potential.
The programme takes cognitive-behavioural therapy as its main therapeutic modality, reflecting the world-leading expertise within the department and wider Institute, and its evidence base. It also has particular strengths in family therapy, neuropsychology, mindfulness-based interventions, clinical health psychology, and the opportunities for research across the Institute are excellent. A further strength is the cohesive and comprehensive range of both local and national specialist placement opportunities, across three world-renowned NHS Trusts: South London and Maudsley, King’s College Hospital and Guy’s & St Thomas’ – known collectively as King’s Health Partners. A final strength is the vibrant and diverse communities within South East London, and the programme values and positively promotes diversity.
Extra Programme Information
The programme meets the standards of education and training required by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK. The programme has full accreditation from the British Psychological Society (BPS) and graduates of the programme are able to apply for chartered membership and full membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology.
On successful completion of the programme, trainees are awarded a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a clinical psychologist in the UK.
Trainees are both full-time employees of the National Health Service, and registered students on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at King's College London. Trainees on the programme are key stakeholders, helping to shape its development and evolution through participation in training committees and feedback systems.
To facilitate good communication and focus on trainee issues, trainees are represented on key programme training committees and hold year group meetings with the programme director and other senior programme staff. As well as enhancing the quality of the programme, these experiences provide opportunities to develop skills in leadership and systemic working.
The programme has a number of support systems in place to ensure that trainees are well supported and to create a stimulating and rewarding environment for trainees to develop personally and professionally during their training.
Before joining the programme, each new trainee is contacted by their ‘buddy’ - one of the current first year trainees - to facilitate their transition onto the programme.
Each trainee is allocated a personal support tutor – a qualified clinical psychologist available for confidential advice and support, who is available to meet at least once per term throughout training.
Each trainee is also allocated a clinical tutor who will visit them on placement throughout the three years to maximise continuity, support and development.
Each trainee is allocated an appraiser from within the programme team to support progression across all aspects of the programme.
Reflective practice groups and case discussions run throughout training, which provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect on training and the impact of clinical work.
The Student Services Department of King's College London offers counselling, welfare and medical services. These services can be accessed through the Compass office based at the King’s College Denmark Hill campus.
The programme is intensive, running for 36 months full-time. The programme has academic, clinical and research components, and trainees are required to pass in all areas. Most of the academic teaching, research supervision and clinical supervision are carried out either by members of the Department of Psychology or clinical psychologists working within King's Health Partners (South London and Maudsley, King's College Hospital, Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospitals).
Specialist contributions to academic teaching are also made by experts from several other departments within the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and by invited outside speakers. For research interests of departmental and Institute visit the IoPPN webpages.
In each year, trainees spend three days per week on supervised clinical practice (Tuesdays to Thursdays) with Mondays and Fridays dedicated to teaching and research. Trainees undertake six 6-month placements. The four ‘core’ areas of the programme are Adult and Child Mental Health (year 1) and Older Adults and Intellectual Disability (year 2); the third year comprises two elective or specialist placements.
Attendance at all course components is mandatory, including during the induction period. The length of the programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience. All trainees are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.
While on the programme, all trainees take annual holiday entitlement within set time periods to fit in with teaching and placements.
The content of the academic curriculum covers the broad topics of:
• Adult mental health (including anxiety, depression & psychosis)
• Psychology and psychiatry of childhood and adolescence
• Neuropsychological theory and practice
• Clinical psychology as applied to intellectual disability
• Mental health of older adults
• Clinical health psychology
• Forensic psychology
• Psychological therapy (with strong emphasis on CBT, family therapy and mindfulness-based therapies)
• Research methods
• Professional, legal and ethical issues
• Race, equality and diversity
The curriculum is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, reflective practice meetings and small group tutorials. This range of approaches is intended to fulfil the different learner needs and offer the trainee opportunities to reflect critically on theoretical issues and their application to their clinical practice and research. Curriculum delivery reflects the sequence of practice placements, to enhance theory-practice links, and builds core competencies in theory, practice and research developmentally across the three years.
Trainees undertake six 6-month placements over the three years:
Year 1: Adult Mental Health (one placement) and Chjld & Adolescent Mental Health (one placement).
Year 2: Mental Health of Older Adults (one placement) and Intellectual Disability (one placement). Trainees have the option to enrol on a placement based in Ireland during this year.
Year 3: Elective or specialist placements (two placements) – trainee’s choice with programme approval.
Placements take place predominantly within King’s Health Partners but there are a handful of non-NHS placements in the private and third sectors. Placements are allocated on the basis of core competency needs for each year of study, although there may be some flexibility to take account of trainee preferences and to facilitate Service Evaluation Projects in the second year.
By May of the final year trainees submit a research thesis in two volumes, this is comprised of:
• Literature Review (about 10,000 words in publishable format)
• Empirical Project (about 10,000 words in publishable format)
• Service -Evaluation Project (9,000 words, usually conducted in the first or second year)
• Three Clinical Competency Assessments
Trainees are encouraged to start work on the research elements early on in the programme and progress is assessed twice a year via the submission of Research Progress Reports. These progress reports allow the programme team to provide advice, feedback and support to trainees to ensure they stay on track. The reports also provide an opportunity for trainees to disclose any problems they are having to the programme team.
Supervision and Assessment
Trainees are allocated clinical supervisors while on placement and a clinical tutor who will visit them on placement. The Service Evaluation Project and all Clinical Competences will have a clinical supervisor and trainees choose their own supervisors for the Literature Review and Empirical Project.
Qualifying examinations are held in June of the first year to assess academic curriculum and theory-practice links. Practice placements are assessed by clinical supervisors and the research thesis is assessed at a Viva examination by two external examiners in the summer of the third year.
The failure of two placements, or of an examination resit or the Viva examination will constitute a programme failure. No lesser exit award is available under the programme.