February 2012

Feedback from the 'Diversity Matters' Conference

by Helen Casey, Ian Gill and Cara Pouchly, third-year trainee clinical psychologists

Following from the success of the 2010 'Diversity Matters' conference, as the third year trainee members of the Lancaster DClinPsy Diversity Working Party, we took hold of the baton and organised an afternoon for current trainees to showcase some of their research and experiences relating to issues of inclusivity and diversity. So with the with invaluable assistance from Jen Whitfield, Christina Pedder and Ruby Allamby, all the three trainee cohorts, course staff and LUPIN members came together on 15th December 2011 at Barker House Farm on campus.

The afternoon aimed to inspire further academic work in this area, along with self reflection and informal discussion about diversity and inclusivity as individuals, as a course and within clinical practice. During the afternoon, five presentations were shared, which each highlighted the great work trainees have embarked on in their quests to explore, understand and embrace diversity and inclusivity within the profession. Pieces of academic work (e.g. service related projects, critical reviews and professional issue assignments) along with shining examples of personal experiences of diversity and inclusivity in action on the course were presented.

Diversity Matters Conference 2011

Above: Trainees at the Diversity Matters conference.

Topics including arguments for collaborating with traditional healers (Cara Pouchly); experiences of psychological therapy for psychosis by service users from South Asian backgrounds (Emma Chorlton); clients' experience of cultural issues entering into the therapeutic relationship (Peter Lydon); experiences of being a parent-trainee and the 'parent survival group'(Sam Fitzpatrick, Karen Quinn and Jo Jury); and the impact of therapist identity characteristics on the therapeutic relationship and the boundaries between therapists and clients (Sharon Carr).

The presentation topics were deemed to encapsulate just how broad the spectrum of diversity issues is within the course and the profession. Cathy Amor kindly provided an update on the projects ongoing within the Diversity Working Party, highlighting the ways in which issues of diversity and inclusivity are being embraced here at the Lancaster course.

Feedback from the day (good old survey monkey!) showed the day was well received and the range of the presentations was a particular strength.

"The presentations were all over a very high quality and were all very interesting topics."

"It was great to see the high standard of work that everyone is achieving and to show how seriously these issues are taken by everyone."

"Think this was an absolutely fantastic showcase of our work as trainees and very enjoyable to attend."

One suggestion was that handouts should have been provided beforehand for points of reference and this is something that may be useful for the next 'Diversity Matters' conference. However, the slides will be available on LUVLE, rest assured, but until then feel free to contact each of the presenters.

Finally, we would once again like to thank everybody for their attendance, input and comments from the day, and look forward to hearing about more research on diversity and inclusivity at next year's conference!

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DClinPsy Christmas party

by Claire Anderson, third-year trainee clinical psychologist

The spreading of festive cheer through the course Christmas party has really developed over the last few years. When the '09 cohort began training, we were made aware of this event, and advised that relatively few people attended due to the distance many trainees travel to Lancaster. Over the last three years, though, the party seems to be going from strength to strength - the provision of transport really helps everyone access the celebrations, and I think is much appreciated by everyone from the further outreaches of the North West! We were treated this year to a Festive party at Barker House Farm. It was great to be able to mix as a whole course - including the three cohorts and staff members.

Below: DClinPsy Staff at the Christmas Party. From the left: Jane Simpson, Cathy Amor, Fiona Eccles, Jennifer Whitfield, Jo Black and Jenny Davies.

DClinPsy Staff at the Christmas Party

Moving away from the usual buffet approach, the sit down Christmas dinner created a family atmosphere, of joy and goodwill, with us all pulling crackers and wearing paper hats.

Below: Some of the 2011 intake enjoy their sit down Christmas dinner! From the left: Diarmaid 0'Lonargain, Lucy Morris, Amy D'Sa, Olivia Wadham, Kate Houlihan, Fehmida Patel, Caroline Wyatt, Roxanna Mohtashemi, Reed Cappleman.

Some of the 2011 intake enjoy their Christmas dinner

The evening provided a combination of education and entertainment - who knew there is an Irish dancer and a Smash Hits hoarder in our midst! After the quiz, of course, came the obligatory karaoke. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the third years' effort at a Mariah Carey classic but, in our defence, we were forced to ad-lib. Other notable performances came in the form of the staff rendition of Tainted Love, and a marvellous cross-cohort duet with Sam C and Peter L. In all, the evening provided a great opportunity for everyone to move away from the usual stresses of the course, and to focus on eating, drinking and being merry. Thanks to all those involved in organising the party!

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Trainee-led mindfulness lunchtime groups

by Katy Flynn and Carla Innes, third-year trainee clinical psychologists

"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally."
- Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994)

Mindfulness based approaches have received increased attention in relation to a range of difficulties over the past 10 years. Informal discussions with trainees revealed that many people use mindfulness based approaches in their clinical work. It is recommended that therapists using mindfulness based approaches should undertake a regular mindfulness practice themselves (Williams & Teasdale, 2002). However, we identified that meeting such a recommendation in the context of a busy and demanding clinical training environment could represent a significant challenge. This led to the idea of a lunchtime group which could be attended by trainees who were interested in regular and structured mindfulness practice.

Benefits to trainees: It soon became apparent that organising such a group could also benefit trainees themselves:

  • Mindfulness (particularly MBSR: mindfulness based stress reduction) is shown to have considerable stress relief benefits for non-clinical populations. Specific advantages include decreased rumination, greater present moment awareness, de-centring from negative thoughts and increased self-compassion. Such benefits could result in increased personal wellbeing and clinical training being experienced as less stressful and challenging.
  • Informal discussions revealed that trainees often felt that mindfulness involved a special 'skill' or ability. We considered that practising in a group could allow trainees to begin to experience mindfulness in a safe and supportive environment.

The sessions: Sessions were held every two weeks for three months, and they were specifically targeted at second and third year trainees as they were both in university on the same day. The sessions were held in the chaplaincy centre as this space had less of a classroom 'feel'. The aim was for sessions to have an experiential focus to allow trainees to take part in the practices rather than consider them in an abstract way. Sessions began with the main practice (e.g. a mindfulness of breath exercise or a body scan). Trainees were free to lead a mindfulness practice but a recorded practice was also available so that trainees were not under any pressure to lead. There were 10-15 minutes at the end for open reflection.

Informal feedback: Trainees found that the sessions helped them to gain some perspective over their current workload and their work-life balance. It seemed to lead to a 'clearer head' and feeling less bogged down in the midst of what was a very busy time. A real positive feature of the sessions was that they were trainee-led.

We are hopeful that in the future trainees will continue to pursue shared mindfulness sessions. Future sessions could run for longer and could also be evaluated. Due to factors beyond our control (deadlines and teaching being cancelled) the two cohorts often attended alternate sessions, so future groups may be able to better facilitate both year groups attending. This may lead to greater peer support across year groups.

Reading: For a completely non-academic, non-clinical introduction to mindfulness this book is excellent (and also fairly short): Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go, there you are: Mediation in everyday life. Piatkus Books

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The DClinPsy welcomes Ian Fletcher

A new senior lecturer in research methods will be joining the programme in June. Ian

Ian Fletcher, currently a research tutor on the Liverpool DClinPsy, will be joining the programme's research team and bringing additional expertise in quantitative methods. He is also keen to continue his research interests, which might also be of interest to trainees looking for interesting thesis ideas. These interests include the role of attachment and emotional intelligence in communication, trust, and well-being; models of mental illness; and BME health beliefs.   

Says Ian: "I'm delighted to be joining the Lancaster programme, looking forward to meeting the team and trainees and  contributing to the programme and the University."

2008 intake graduates

Programme staff were delighted to welcome back graduates from the 2008 cohort for the graduation day event in December.

The 2008 cohort attended the graduation event - and were officially presented with their graduation certificates - and then were invited to a drinks reception with programme staff at the chaplaincy building on the Lancaster campus.   

Says Research Director Jane Simpson: "It was great to see the 2008 cohort and we were pleased to meet their friends and family. Graduation day is one of the nicest days for the programme team as we get to celebrate the successful culmination of the three years of training with our graduates."

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Further preparation for the HPC visit

Final preparations are being made for the combined approval/accreditation visit to the programme in May.

Among the documentation the programme is providing are CVs for all supervisors and teachers. A draft schedule is also being prepared for the visit and the programme team are liaising with supervisors about this.

The visit, which will take place on May 9th and 10th,  will be the programme’s first approval visit by the Health Professions Council (HPC) and its criteria are different from those previously used by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Some of the main differences of the focus on evidence on feedback loops and the need for the programme to provide documentary evidence for the effectiveness of its teaching and supervisory processes.

Says Research Director Jane Simpson: "We are grateful to everyone who has supplied information for us so far. If anyone has any queries about the visit or their role within it then please contact me."

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Getting Stranded

By Ian Smith, senior clinical tutor

Over the three years of the DClinPsy, trainees attend around 230 teaching sessions, taught by around 170 different teachers, most of whom are clinicians working in the region rather than university staff. Coordinating such a large curriculum has always been something of a challenge. For a number of years Lancaster has been proud of the fact that our teaching on working in core specialty areas runs alongside trainees being on placement in that area. This has the advantage of ensuring that during training, trainees are learning the most relevant skills to their placement. However, organising teaching only in this way also runs the risk of not providing trainees with an optimal developmental learning experience, and does not give emphasis to developing transferable skills across placements

Over the last couple of years programme staff have been thinking about how to make the curriculum as manageable as possible, and to maximise the extent to which teaching is joined up, coordinated, and grows with the trainee. The results of this work are now finally coming to fruition. In addition to keeping those teaching 'blocks' that run alongside placement, staff are now also organising all teaching in the programme by nine 'strands'. Each strand is being co-ordinated by a small team of staff who will keep an eye on how specific skills and competencies are taught over the three years. I now have the role of curriculum tutor, which means that it is my job to help coordinate these coordinators.


Strand Rainbow

The strand teams will be able to spend more time talking directly to teachers, helping ensure they can provide sessions that fit as best as possible with the curriculum and the point of training of the cohort being taught. The strand teams will also be providing CPD workshops on a number of learning and teaching issues, with the first of these happening this summer. The full implementation of the strand based curriculum starts at the beginning of the next academic year (September 2012) , and staff are working hard on getting it ready now. So, if you are a teacher for the programme, it is likely that someone from a strand team will be in touch with you at some point soon! If, in the meantime, you want to know more, the description of each strand is laid out in the new curriculum handbook, on our web site. If you have any general queries about the whole process, feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.

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Clinical Psychology issue: Diversity and Training

The February issue of Clinical Psychology Forum, a special edition focusing on diversity issues within training, featured seven articles written by Lancaster graduates, as well as a guest editorial by Anna Daiches (Clinical Director) and Ian Smith (Senior Clinical Tutor).

The genesis of this special issue was the inaugural Lancaster DClinPsy Diversity Conference in September 2010, an event conceived and led by members of the 2008 cohort to showcase some of their thinking and writing concerning issues of accessibility and inclusivity in clinical psychology training and the wider profession.

Feedback from this event reinforced the fact that inclusivity issues need to remain central to professional discourses and the conference speakers put together the proposal for the special issue which has now been published. Tackling a broad range of issues including social class, sexuality, cultural competence and religion, the take home message from these articles is that the profession could and should do better in the way they approach issues of difference and diversity if it is going to make meaningful attempts to increase the accessibility and applicability of clinical psychology practice. A welcome added extra to the special issue was the inclusion of an article by former trainee Katie Splevins who reflected on her time offering a psychological perspective to workers in a Cambodian orphanage and the insight this gave into the dominance of Western understandings of psychological processes.

Says co-editor Anna Daiches: "This special issue must be regarded as a significant achievement for these Lancaster graduates and the Lancaster programme itself. To undertake the task of organising the conference and the publication of the special issue, both of which required significant energy and commitment, during the final year of training underlines trainees' commitment to the ongoing improvement of the profession and their sense of responsibility for making that happen."


Anderson, D. (2012). To what extent are UK clinical psychologists adequately trained to work confidently and effectively with lesbian, gay or bisexual clients? Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 16-19.

Hayward, M., Berry, K., & Ashton, A. (2011). Applying interpersonal theories to the understanding of and therapy for auditory hallucinations: A review of the literature and directions for further research. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1313-1323.

Cooper, C. (2012). The place of religious and spiritual beliefs in therapy. Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 20-24.

Smith, A., & Garforth, K. (2012). Psychodynamic therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 77-100). London: Sage.

Gill, I., Wall, G., & Simpson, J. (in press). Clients' perspectives of rehabilitation in one acquired brain injury residential rehabilitation unit: A thematic analysis. Brain Injury.

Gurpinar-Morgan, A. (2012). What is cultural competence and how might clinical psychology training equip psychologists to work with ethnic diversity? Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 25-30.

Keen, C. (in press). Reflections on researching sense of presence experiences with a bereaved population. In C. Murray (Ed.), Mental Health and Anomalous Experience. New York: Nova Science.

Morris, C. (2012). How accessible and acceptable is clinical psychology to black and minority ethnic clients? Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 31-35.

Pilkington, A., & Msetfi, R. (2012). Is culturally sensitive research achievable? Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 40-43.

Pilkington, N., Preston, J., & Healey, K. (2011). Evaluating the effectiveness of sending initial appointment reminders via text messaging on attendance rates. Clinical Psychology Forum, 226, 14-17.

Robson, C. (2012). Motivational interviewing. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 11-32). London: Sage.

Rose, H., Cohen, K., & Kinney, C. (in press). Mothers' experiences of mental health services following their children's self harm. Family Science.

Smith, A., & Weatherhead, S. (2012). Systemic therapies. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 101-122). London: Sage.

Spence, N. (2012). Cultural competence: Social class – the forgotten component. Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 36-39.

Splevins, K., & Daiches, A. (2012). 'Health on the road to your heart': Cross-language and cross-cultural challenges in consulting on mental health within a Cambodian orphanage. Clinical Psychology Forum, 230, 44-48.

Splevins, K. (2012). Mindfulness. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 167-189). London: Sage.

Taylor, G., & Murray, C. (in press). The role of understanding, engagement and meaning in anomalous experience: A narrative review of the evidence from cultural research. In C. Murray (Ed.), Mental Health and Anomalous Experience. New York: Nova Science.

Toner, J. (2012). Cognitive behavioural therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 33-56). London: Sage.

Twigg, S. (2012). Cognitive analytic therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 57-76). London: Sage.

Twigg, S. (2012). Person-centred therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 144-166). London: Sage.

Weatherhead, S. & Flaherty-Jones, G. (Eds.). (2012). The pocket guide to therapy. London: Sage.

Weatherhead, S. (2012). Narrative therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 123-143). London: Sage.

Flaherty-Jones, G. & Weatherhead, S. (2012). Principles of therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 1-10). London: Sage.

Weatherhead, S., & Flaherty-Jones, G. (2012). Outcomes in therapy. In S. Weatherhead & G. Flaherty-Jones (Eds.), The pocket guide to therapy (pp. 236-248). London: Sage.

Coming Up...

Research Events

SRP presentation day and Research Seminar - 27th February 2012

The 2010 cohort will be presenting their SRP research on Monday 27th February in the Conference Centre on campus. This promises to be an illuminating day when attendees will hear about the service related research that has been undertaken by this cohort. The programme looks forward to welcoming SRP supervisors, LUPIN members, fellow trainees and staff to celebrate the trainees' achievements.

In addition to the SRP presentations, Prof. Peter Beresford will give a seminar on 'Whose Life Is It Anyway? Research, knowledge and evidence' from 12-1pm in MR2 in the Conference Centre on campus on Monday 27th February. In this presentation Peter will explore some of the complex issues of identity, ownership, knowledge and evidence raised by research and involvement. To do this he will draw upon his experience as a service user and researcher involved in a wide range of research projects and activities which have involved user involvement, collaboration with service users and user controlled research.

If you would like to attend the seminar, or would like to receive more information, please contact Sarah Heard, s.heard@lancaster.ac.uk.


Selections Training - Lancaster House Hotel
Date: Thursday, March 1st, 2012
Time: 9:30am-4:30pm


Introductory Supervisor Training- Lancaster University Conference Centre
Date: Wednesday, October 17th & Thursday, October 18th, 2012 and May 9th, 2013.
Time: 9:30am-4:30pm

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

LUPIN (Public Involvement Group) Meetings

Meeting: Equality and Diversity Training (am) Steering Group (pm)
Date: Wednesday, March 28th 2012
Time: 10:30am-4:30pm Location: 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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