October 2011

A day in the lakes

By first year trainee Amy Singleton

A few weeks before starting the programme, the 2011 cohort were excited to receive an email from the programme offering them a trainee away day in the Lake District. So on September 17th, after two weeks of induction teaching, 17 of the new trainees headed up to the Lakes for some al fresco fun. With some trainees' sat nav's preferring more 'scenic routes' to the traditional 'up the M6' we all arrived at Ambleside to find a pretty stone hostel overlooking the beautiful Lake Windermere.

Below: The beautiful view

The beautiful view

Having already decided on our activity for the day, we split into three groups and met our outdoor pursuit leaders. One group donned their marigolds for kayaking around the lake and enjoyed beautiful scenery, some adventurous routes and a ball game that showed our true (competitive) colours. Another group headed out by bus for rock climbing. They met the 'rock of certain death' which thankfully didn't live up to its name and was successfully conquered by the climbers. The third group braved the misty hills for what they thought would be a gentle stroll...A few hours later they returned tired, a little hysterical and with some vivid memories of the sights of Ambleside.

Below: The rock climbing group

The rock climbing group

Below: The kayaking group

The kayaking group


After the activities, we all returned to the hostel for a welcome shower and a three course meal. With recommendations from the rock climbing instructor we headed out to Ambleside to try out the local bars and to find the elusive Ambleside 'club' where we were surprised to find a DJ who played all of our (questionable) requests!

After a brief sleep on surprisingly comfy beds we met for a full cooked breakfast in the hostel restaurant overlooking the lake. The trainees bid farewell to the lakes feeling, perhaps not refreshed, but ready for another week of teaching with a cohort to whom they had begun to feel a little bit closer.

Plans for a 2012 away day are already underway...

PS : The trainees would like to thank Ruby and the course staff for organising such an enjoyable weekend.

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New pack for supervisors

The new 2011 cohort have just started their first placement. And they will be bringing with them to their placements a new 'supervisor pack'  to hand over to their supervisor.

The pack is comprised of several sections, with information for supervisors about the trainee, the teaching programmes, safeguarding procedures, assignment information and various other useful policies. Each supervisor is asked to keep the pack for as long as the trainee is on placement and then return the pack to the trainee as it will then go to the next supervisor. Supervisors are welcome to take out the more generic information to keep but are asked to tell the trainee what has been removed so it can be replaced for the next supervisor.

Below: 2011 intake trainee, Diarmaid O'Lonargain with his new supervisor support pack

DiarmaidThe aim of the pack is for supervisors to have a quick and easy route to the documents which will help them with their supervision. Having, for example, all previous SAT forms and placement contracts will enable supervisors to discuss what aspects of  the competencies yet to be met can be best targeted on a specific placement. Comments and suggestions on the pack or its contents are welcome; please contact Anna Daiches, acting Clinical Director, at a.daiches@lancaster.ac.uk.

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After six months

by Dr Ste Weatherhead, Clinical Tutor and Lecturer in Research Methods

After six months, in post/s here at Lancaster you would think I'd have learned by now that if a conversation starts with the words "How's your workload at the moment?", I should never reply with "not too bad, space for something else if you like?". On this occasion, it was Anna asking the question, and the task was to write a piece for the newsletter about my first six months. I warned Anna that if I wrote something, she would have to accept that I oscillate between attempting to mix humour and genuine warmth (but coming across as mawkish), with being a tad dull. So blame her not me, this piece was a brainchild of the (no longer acting) clinical director.

In Sir Alex Ferguson's first six months, he only managed to get United to 11th in the league. So if I put myself in that company (which of course I do), then a mid-table performance as a Research Lecturer and Clinical Tutor would probably look something like this:

Teaching - Played 8, Won 5, Drawn 2, Lost 1 (Note to self: If you do facilitate a teaching session as a quiz, make sure you actually teach something in the process)

Tutoring - Allocated 9, Lost 0 (yet)

Learning Curve - Steep

Enjoyment Rating - 95%

Okay so I'm no Alex Ferguson and I may not be here for 25+ years, winning countless trophies along the way. However I do feel I made the right decision, and as you can see from my stats above, I've really enjoyed the job (so far).

I mention the steep learning curve because there are even more systems, regulations, processes, support networks, meetings, camaraderie, laughs... than I ever imagined. Some other specific things I've learned along the way so far are:

  • The team here is definitely greater than the sum of its parts
  • 60-80 emails a day is nothing
  • Everyone here genuinely wants to support each other (trainees and course staff) in an individualised, and dare I say it, holistic way
  • It's okay not to be perfect
  • Never ever be on campus after dark, there are most definitely ghouls around this place
  • If you have an attachment disorder with a place (as I do here) coming back will only intensify it
  • The walls are not sound-proofed (and Ian's singing ain't that great)
  • Away days can be both fun and useful
  • The trainees and course staff I have met here in my first six months are among the most reflective, intuitive, skilled people I have met anywhere
  • If there's lunch provided, it's likely that the meeting is going to be a toughie

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Employer satisfaction survey on its way

Current managers of Lancaster clinical psychology graduates are about to be asked how satisfied they are with the training the programme provides.

In the next few weeks, employers and managers of trainees from the 2007 Lancaster cohort will be sent an electronic link to a survey asking for their views on how the programme has equipped trainees for their work as NHS clinical psychologists.

The survey is partly in response to a request from the local Strategic Health Authority which is keen to know what employers think of the training the programme has provided. The survey also fits in with the Health Professions Council's (HPC) requirement to make sure we receive feedback on the training we provide from all stakeholders. Consequently many of the questions are based on the HPC's Standards of Proficiency (SoPs) for practitioner psychologists.

It is expected that the survey will be re-administered to employers on an annual basis for at least the firstĀ  three years after training and will also include later cohorts of trainees.

Says clinical tutor Jo Black, who is coordinating the survey: "We are really interested in getting feedback from local managers on the training we have provided. We hope that the feedback will demonstrate the high quality of training that we are providing, as well as revealing any areas in which we could develop. We understand that staff working in clinical psychology services are very busy but we would very much appreciate as many completed surveys as possible."

If you have any questions, please contact Jo (j.black@lancaster.ac.uk)

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Examiners' and Teachers' Workshop- November 16th

As you all know, we are very proud of our efforts here on the Lancaster DClinPsy to promote awareness and good practice around diversity and difference. In response to requests from interested parties, much of the content from our recent conference on 'Inclusivity in Teaching' is now available on our website:


Following on from this, we're excited to announce our first workshop for teachers on the programme, which will take place on 16th November 2011 at the Barton Grange Hotel, Preston. The day will involve a morning session open to all of our teachers (and all potential teachers) around 'Inclusivity in Teaching'.

The programme relies heavily on teachers in terms of both delivering content and setting a tone and value base from which trainees learn and develop. Teachers on the course dedicate a great deal of thought and time in preparing really excellent teaching, and we want to support this to be as inclusive (of the widest range possible of learners, perspectives and experiences) as possible. This workshop is designed to be an interactive session which provides guidance and discussion around promoting diversity, inclusivity and service user involvement in teaching.

 In the afternoon, there will be an examiners' workshop giving an update on our new Professional Issues Assignment (PIA), including the opportunity to practise using the new competency-based marking criteria for the PIA.

If you would like to attend for all or part of the day, please email: j.whitfield@lancaster.ac.uk by 1st November at the latest. We look forward to seeing you!

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Publication update

Delaney, M., Simpson, J., & Leroi, I. (in press). Perceptions of cause and control of impulse control behaviours in people with Parkinson's disease. British Journal of Health Psychology.

MacMahon, L., Murray, C.D., & Simpson, J. (in press). The potential benefits of applying a narrative analytic approach in understanding the experience of fibromyalgia: A review. Disability and Rehabilitation.

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Upcoming Events

Research Events

The first of the 2011/12 Research Seminar Series will be given by Dr David Harper, from the University of East London, on 'The social construction of delusions and unusual beliefs'. The seminar will take place from 12-1pm on Thursday 20th October.

Everyone is very welcome to attend. The seminar take place in the Management School, Lecture Theatre 4, at Lancaster University.

If you have any questions, please contact the main programme office on 01524 592970.


Workshops for Teachers and Professional Issues Assignment Examiners

We would like to invite all existing and potential teachers on the programme, and potential Professional Issues Assignment examiners to attend workshops on Wednesday 16th November 2011 from 10:00am-4:30pm at the Barton Grange Hotel, Preston.

The day will include workshops on best practice in teaching trainees, with a particular focus on how to promote diversity, inclusivity and service user involvement in teaching. In the afternoon, there will be a workshop giving an update on our new Professional Issues Assignment (PIA), including the opportunity to practise using the new competency-based marking criteria for the PIA.

From the 2011 intake onwards, trainees will no longer write a 5000 word Professional Issues Essay in their second year. Instead, they will write a 2500 word essay in their first year (Professional Issues Assignment 1) which will be a review of policy, research and practice guidance on a topic of their choice related to professional issues. They will then write another 2500 word assignment in their second year (Professional Issues Assignment 2) which will be a reflective report (based on theory, policy and research) on a professional issue that has arisen to date in their training. Both assignments will be assessed using a new competency-based mark sheet.

The workshop is designed to introduce the two assignments and provide training to examiners who wish to mark them for the course. Attendance at the workshop is necessary if you wish to mark these assignments, although please let us know if you are keen to mark them but cannot make this particular day, as we may be able to make alternative arrangements for the training.

If you would like further details, please contact Jen Whitfield atĀ  j.whitfield@lancaster.ac.uk or on 01524 592972.

LUPIN (Public Involvement Group) Meetings

Meeting: Research Subgroup
Date: Tuesday 22nd November, 2011
Time: 10:30am- 12:30pm

Meeting: Steering Group
Date: Tuesday 22nd November, 2011
Time: 1:30pm- 3:30pm

Meeting: Steering Group
Date: Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Time: 11am- 3pm

Meeting: Steering Group
Date: Wednesday, March 28th 2012
Time: 11am- 3pm

All meetings will take place at the Gujarat Centre in Preston.

For further details, contact Jen Whitfield at j.whitfield@lancaster.ac.uk or on 01524 592972.

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