Relevant experience: Alternatives to the assistant psychologist post?

THE road to becoming a qualified clinical psychologist is a long and precarious one. The psychology graduate must obtain ‘relevant experience’ before applying for clinical training. As competition is intense, what is considered to be sufficient relevant experience by courses has become more stringent. Many psychology graduates see NHS assistant psychologist posts as compulsory for entry into clinical training. Clare (1995) found that 69 per cent of successful applicants to a clinical training course had worked as assistant psychologists and 34 per cent had worked as research assistants or assistant psychologists conducting research. The Alternative Handbook (produced by the Affiliates Group of the Division of Clinical Psychology), which details successful applicants’ experiences, also confirms this view of the assistant psychologist post.

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