Trainees on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology undertake clinical placements within clinical services in our partner organizations across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire (see locations of clinical placements in last academic year).
Clinical placements enable trainees to develop a comprehensive portfolio of clinical skills, so that by the end of training they should be well prepared to start working in an NHS clinical service. Trainees will normally complete four mandatory placements over the first two years of the course (in adult mental health; older people’s services; children, young people and families; and people with intellectual disabilities). In the third year, trainees would normally complete a year-long placement; the Programme is currently considering introducing the option of enabling either one or two elective placements in the third year to further increase training opportunities. The Oxford Programme has a wide range of exciting elective options, some of which are in national specialist services. An important aim of third year placements is to equip trainees with additional skills such as leadership, consultancy, supervision and effective team-working to meet the needs of the modern NHS. All placements are approximately 5½ months in duration, with the possible exception of electives in the third year where there is more flexibility. Trainees will normally spend between 60 and 70 days on each placement.
The assignment of placements is primarily based on training needs and aspirations and these are regularly reviewed from pre-training through to completion of the Programme. Over the course of training, trainees may express preferences for the opportunity to develop particular clinical competencies or work in specific service contexts. These preferences are considered by the trainee’s course tutor alongside their individual training needs and the availability of supervision. Trainees may be assigned placements in any of the services within the geographical area covered by the Programme. A valid driving license and access to a car are strongly recommended.
Placements are fully integrated with the academic programme A wide range of support is available within and out with the Programme for each trainee, including a course tutor who oversees all aspects of their experience, including placements, academic learning and research projects. At regular intervals, there are scheduled individual discussions with the trainee’s course tutor about progress and learning needs. To help facilitate the effective development of clinical and professional competence, trainees normally keep the same course tutor throughout their training.
Placements are carefully monitored and supported by course tutors, who visit once at the mid-point of each placement and more often if helpful. Trainees normally receive a minimum of 1 hour formal individual clinical supervision from their placement supervisor(s) each week whilst on placement in addition to less formal supervision and support. A range of learning opportunities are incorporated into placements including opportunities to observe placement supervisors and other accredited psychological therapists conduct clinical work, and also be observed in a structured way including receive feedback through direct assessments of clinical competence.
Wherever possible on placements, trainees are encouraged to work with staff from other professions and with service users and carers. The Programme is committed to co-production i.e. health care professionals and service users working in partnership to develop services and conduct research. Placement feedback is 360 degree and incorporates feedback from other professional staff and service users and carers.
The Programme is currently pursuing secondary accreditation with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and Association of Family Therapy.