Featured job: Senior Clinical and Clinical Psychologists

Employer: Central and North-West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL)

Dr Celia Sadie, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Secure Stairs, tells us that ‘The Secure Stairs project enables us to increase the number of psychologists we employ at Cookham Wood Youth Offenders Institution (YOI) from two, in our original CAMHS team, to eight. One of CNWL’s specialisms is providing health care services to people at all points along the criminal justice pathway. Cookham Wood houses up to 188 boys, aged between 15 and 18, on remand and serving sentences.’

What is Secure Stairs?
‘It’s a framework for integrated, psychologically-informed care for young people in secure settings. Uplifted funding allows us to meet their needs far better than before. It’s an opportunity to transform the culture of youth custody into something far more therapeutic – addressing the needs of staff as well as those of the young people.’

These sound like varied jobs.
‘They are. Each psychologist will be responsible for creating a therapeutic environment on one of Cookham Wood’s landings: that landing will be their project, in partnership with the boys and the officers.  They will have responsibility for the boys on that landing and 15 prison staff who work there.

The psychologist will train staff, facilitate groups, work individually with the boys and be involved in the supervision of prison officers. They’ll have a key role in formulation and in working with families. Our involvement with clients can be both long and short term.’

Is the approach very prescriptive?
‘No, it’s a framework allowing autonomy and freedom to follow individual approaches. There is potential for a wide range of therapeutic work.’

Do these roles require experience?
‘The senior role does, and some forensic and CAMHS type experience would be a bonus. But we want a range of people to apply – experienced and newly qualified. Keys to success are personality and approach. We’re looking for people who are truly reflective, keen to learn, and who can focus on what they want to achieve despite custodial setting rigidities. They must be very clear about their professional ethics and their values as psychologists, but must understand pressures in the system, and build strong relationships with people from different professions and backgrounds who may have different values.’

What makes these jobs really attractive?
‘Physically, the environment is not Harley Street! And the client group – teenage boys in prison - might sound challenging.  But, believe me, they’re a real joy to work with, tremendously rewarding and keen to engage. There’s never a dull day. And you’ll be in a friendly team with huge amounts of support and training.’

- Find more about the job at Jobs in Psychology.

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