Postgraduate study
Health & Social Care

Doctorate Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)

This training programme offers you the opportunity to develop your knowledge of the psychological models relevant to the practice of clinical psychology and your clinical skills in this area. Experienced clinical psychologists provide much of your academic teaching and act as placement supervisors for your clinical practice development.

Course information

Full-time

  • 3 years

More full-time details

  • Enrolment date: September
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants (from Sept 2017 entry): £9,875 per year
    More details about our fees
  • Contact the School 01642 384491

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

  • Facilities

    School of Health & Social care postgraduate study

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You complete training across the lifespan of children and adolescents, working-age adults and older adults, as well as working with special needs and specialist services. The programme provides training across a range of psychological models, including cognitive behavioural, cognitive analytic, psychodynamic and systemic approaches. Indirect interventions are encouraged and opportunities to undertake our innovative organisational placements can be provided. The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology leads to the award of Doctor of Clinical Psychology.

You can find out more about our undergraduate psychology courses here.

Professional accreditation

The British Psychological Society (BPS) The training programme is regularly reviewed and approved through both University procedures and those linked to their professional body, The British Psychological Society (BPS) as well as the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

You are introduced to a range of subjects, including working in the NHS, lifespan psychology, approaches to therapy, research methods, learning disability and special needs. Specialist areas include forensic psychology, neuropsychology, health psychology and substance misuse. Assessment procedures are enacted throughout the course, with a final thesis plus oral examination.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Advanced Psychological Research Methods

This module aims to refresh and develop your previous knowledge, skills and critical understanding of advanced research methodology, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches, as used in psychological research. The module is also designed to explicitly prepare you for the two doctorate-level research modules which occur in Years 2 and 3 of the programme, ensuring that you have the requisite knowledge and skills to successfully engage with those modules. The key foci for this module include critical review of established literature, project design, project management, data analysis and the dissemination of research findings.

Clinical Practice: Two Lifespan Placements

These modules enable you to develop the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively with clients across the lifespan. The modules involve clinical practice placements in two of the following: adult mental health, older adult, and child and family services. Placements run consecutively. Work patterns and client needs vary depending on your placement setting.

Throughout the modules you relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your clinical work. Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment.

Developing Clinical Skills: Working with Individuals

This is a first-year module that introduces you to the fundamental principles necessary to work with clients across the lifespan. A range of therapeutic approaches are introduced, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic therapy and cognitive analytic therapy. The module introduces the cycle of assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation, and includes an analysis of the application of this process in work with children, adults of working age and older adults. A combination of lectures and seminars is used to introduce the main concepts and issues and the current evidence base.

Personal Professional Development: Reflective Practice

This module introduces you to personal and professional development. It aims to develop your professional competence relating to personal and professional development, as well as developing your awareness of the clinical, professional and social context within which your work is undertaken. During the module emphasis is on the development of self awareness, and the ability to think and work critically and reflectively. Theoretical input introduces models of reflection, self care and working within an ethical framework. You gain a critical awareness of difference and diversity, and are enabled to work with clients with different ethnic and cultural beliefs and values. Consideration is given to the impact of socio-cultural factors on health.

Psychological Theory and Evidence: The Life Continuum

This is the first of the Psychological Theory and Evidence modules that span the three years of training. These modules are where you are taught about psychological concepts, theory and models that you can use to inform practice. In this module the areas of child and family, adult mental health and older adults are covered. Module content includes development and change across the life span from infancy to old age; concepts of health and mental-health problems; psychosocial impacts on mental health such as personality, early experiences, stress and coping; attachment and loss; assessing risk across the lifespan; and critical analysis and writing at master's level.

 

Year 2 core modules

Advanced Design for Clinical Psychological Research Projects

This module aims to develop and progress knowledge and skills in psychological research methods already acquired from your previous undergraduate or master's-level study and the first-year research module of this programme. This module brings together theories and strategies by a practical examination of advanced design and analysis of concepts in psychology. You gain knowledge and experience, and develop an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice of both quantitative and qualitative (interpretive) approaches to psychological research. You explore the different modes of investigation and analyses employed within these approaches, and learn to identify appropriate contexts to utilise both quantitative and interpretive methods and understand the strengths and limitations of their application. This fully prepares you for the advanced independent work required in the research module for the third year of the programme.

Clinical Practice: Lifespan Placement

This module enables you to develop the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively with clients across the lifespan. The modules involve clinical practice placements in two of the following: adult mental health, older adult, and child and family services. Placements run consecutively. Work patterns and client needs vary depending on your placement setting.

Throughout the module you relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your clinical work. Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment.

Clinical Practice: Special Needs Placement

Through this module you develop the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively with clients with special needs deriving from developmental learning disabilities. It involves clinical practice on a placement within a coherent service. You work in a setting where it is necessary to understand the causes of developmental disabilities, communication issues with individuals with different levels of intellectual ability, and the needs of family, carers and specialist service systems. You relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your clinical work.

Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment.

Developing Clinical Skills: Working with Special Needs

This is a second-year module that builds on material covered in the first-year module DCS: Working with Individuals, but it focuses on the application of these skills in direct and indirect work with clients with a range of special needs. This module also prepares you for the third-year module, DCS: Working with Clients with Complex Needs, in which there is a focus on client groups in which there may be multiple interlocking needs and multi-agency involvement. In this module, you continue to develop clinical skills, but begin to apply them to more specialist client groups and services, including learning disabilities, neurology, health, inpatient and forensic settings. Specialist assessments and therapeutic approaches are considered in relation to these client groups. You learn how to apply the cycle of assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation and critically analyse the application of this process in working with clients who have cognitive or intellectual difficulties, communication difficulties, self harm or challenging behaviour.

Personal and Professional Development: Collaborative Practice

This module introduces you to the knowledge and skills necessary to work collaboratively with other health professionals and with services relevant to clients. Theoretical input includes organisational theories, the structure and function of the NHS, voluntary and other services available for client support, management skills and working with multi-disciplinary groups and teams.

Psychological Theory and Evidence: Special Needs

This module provides you with teaching in further depth of the major psychological models covered in the Year 1 Psychological Theory and Evidence module, that is CBT, systemic, CAT and psychodynamic models. This module also facilitates the transfer of this knowledge to client groups with a range of special needs and covers the common presenting difficulties in clients with special needs. These include clients with learning disabilities, neurological disorders, physical health problems, addiction and clients who are in a forensic setting. Clinical areas covered include epilepsy, brain injury and rehabilitation, risk and abuse, the mental capacity act and young onset dementia. It also spans service and organisational issues related to special needs and considers current national agendas – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. The module also teaches the skills needed to write and present cases at a doctorate level.

 

Year 3 core modules

Clinical Practice: Elective Placement (including the options of an Organisational Placement and a long term case)

Through this module you develop the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively with clients in a service setting chosen collaboratively with your personal tutor to reflect developing clinical interests and to allow consolidation of clinical skills. The placement may involve revisiting an area of work, defined by a client group or a model of intervention, or working in an area not covered by previous placements. You relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your clinical work.

Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment.

In the third year of training there is an option for you to gain experience of long-term case work by spending half a day a week in a specialist service. Where available this is in a model of your choice and allows for deeper theoretical and clinical understanding. In the half day, you see a long-term client or are involved in running a long-term group. You receive one hour of supervision devoted to the case and complete all administration and associated reading. The long-term case spans both of your third-year placements.

Where available, there is also the option to choose an Organisational Placement. Through this module you apply your psychological expertise to organisational issues and systems of care. You also undertake projects aimed at service improvement and audit existing service arrangements. You relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your work.

Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment. You are observed in a range of situations including professional meetings, team briefings, steering groups, dissemination of findings and service user involvement.

Clinical Practice: Special Service Placement

This module provides the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively with clients in a specialist service setting in an area such as physical health, drug and alcohol, neuropsychology, forensic or infant mental health. You relate theory to practice and adopt an evaluative and evidence-based approach to your clinical work. You focus on individual care and on the familial and organisational impact of the system.

Reflection on your learning and development is facilitated through a minimum of one hour of supervision each week, and the use of a reflective log. Clinical tutorials give you an opportunity to reflect on your professional learning and development in the context of the clinical environment.

Developing Clinical Skills: Working with Complexity

The module builds on material covered in the first and second-year Developing Clinical Skills modules Working with Individuals and Working with Clients with Special Needs. The module enables you to consolidate the skills developed in previous years, and apply the cycle of assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation to work with people with complex presentations, such as multiple traumas, severe and enduring mental-health problems, socio-economic deprivation and multiagency involvement. You learn about the nature of complexity and its inter-relating factors, relationships with other services, national directives and models of working as a clinical psychologist at a service/organisational level. An analysis is undertaken of the service setting and wider social network of the client and the implications of this for clinical practice. The working definition of complex needs on this module is ‘multiple interlocking needs that span health and social issues’.

Personal and Professional Development: Autonomous Practice

We develop you to work as autonomous health professional. Theoretical input includes dealing with more complex ethical dilemmas that arise in practice, conducting service evaluations, supervising, teaching and consultancy.

Psychological Theory and Evidence: Complex Needs

This year increases in terms of the complexity of client group that is considered and the psychological theory, concepts and models that inform practice. Models that are specific to specialised areas are taught. The module enhances and develops your depth of knowledge and understanding of specialised psychological theories and models in relation to clients with a range of complex needs. These include building on the models taught in Years 1 and 2, as well as teaching in more complex models including dialectical behaviour therapy, mentalisation, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. Areas of complex needs including personality disorders, degenerative disorders, trauma, legal skills and complex health needs are covered. The working definition of complex needs used on this module is ‘multiple, interlocking needs that span health, personality and social issues'. This differs from special needs as all client groups with complex needs have experienced multiple complex traumas which can be psychological, physical or neurological or a mixture of all three. There is multi-agency involvement in this client group across different organisational contexts.

Research Thesis

This module is a piece of independent self-managed original empirical research. You have the opportunity to consolidate your learning experiences both from the first and second-year clinical psychology research training modules and your other academic modules and clinical placements throughout the programme. You acquire a research supervision team during the second-year research module. This team consists of at least one academic supervisor (normally an academic member of the programme team or from within the wider University academic community with relevant research topic and/or methodology expertise) and one field supervisor (normally a practising clinical psychologist with specialist knowledge and experience of the participant group of interest) to support you throughout the present module. You developed the thesis research proposal during the second-year research module and normally have obtained all the necessary ethical approvals and proceeded to data collection by the start of this module. Thus, the focus here is on the completion of data collection, the analysis and interpretation of that data and the production of the thesis that provides a full report of the whole project.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

There is an emphasis upon developing your learning goals and pathways of experiences, and you are encouraged to consider and develop your own learning style. You attend a series of formal academic teaching sessions as well as taking part in individual and group tutorials. Reflective practice is an essential part of the training and the programme provides you with a range of activities and support systems to help promote both your professional and personal learning and development.

How you are assessed

You are continually assessed in various ways, completing both formative and summative work, throughout your training. You complete written pieces of work (ranging from case studies and essays through to a doctoral-level research thesis) as well as oral presentations regarding academic topics and clinical cases. You are expected to acquire a range of clinical competencies within your clinical practice modules which are assessed on placement by your placement supervisors. Progression from one year to another is dependent upon the successful completion of the set modules.

Career opportunities

The programme provides the relevant doctorate qualification for graduates to practise as clinical psychologists in the NHS and wider health and social care system, within both privately and publicly funded positions.

Entry requirements

All UK/EU applicants must apply through the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology. At the time of application you must demonstrate:

  • that you meet the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society
  • a strong academic attainment in your undergraduate degree (a 2.1 degree or higher), applicants with a 2.2 degree may be considered but must also have completed a master's degree (or higher) to demonstrate the capacity for study at this level
  • a minimum of 12 months' relevant clinical experience (not necessarily consecutive)
  • an understanding of the importance and contribution research plays within the profession
  • a clear commitment and motivation to train as a clinical psychologist
  • a good understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist and why you are choosing the profession
  • evidence of personal awareness and a recognition and understanding of the importance of self reflection
  • the ability to communicate and relate well to others.

Those who are still undergraduates at the time of application will not be considered. The local employing Trust ensures that all individuals accepting a place on the course undergo a Disclosure Barring Service check and health screening checks prior to starting the course.

The public places high expectations and levels of trust on clinical psychologists, and the course develops practitioners who can meet these expectations. It is hard work and challenging. To work within the healthcare sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution (DOH, 2013):

  • working together for patients
  • respect and dignity
  • commitment to quality of care
  • compassion
  • improving lives
  • everyone counts.

Trainees who take up NHS-funded places are, at present, funded by Health Education North East on Agenda for Change terms and conditions of service. The next annual intake is expected to be for a cohort of 14. Trainees are currently employed by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust on a fixed term, three-year contract. Trainees are currently appointed at Band 6 on the Agenda for Change pay scale and under Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

We have a clinical psychology page on the Clearing House website.

Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credits for previous study or related work experience which can be credited towards the course you want to study. Find out more about RPL.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

Course information

Full-time

  • 3 years

More full-time details

  • Enrolment date: September
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants (from Sept 2017 entry): £9,875 per year
    More details about our fees
  • Contact the School 01642 384491

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information