November 2012

We have moved!

Our programme has now completed the move to Furness College on the University campus! This means we are no longer based in the Whewell Building or Bowland Tower East.

Furness College is less than a two minute walk away from both of our previous locations. All of our staff are located on C Floor of this building; we're pleased to all be together in one place. We are excited to be in the newly refurbished build, working alongside our Faculty of Health and Medicine colleagues.

Please see some useful information below:

  • Our new programme office is located in C12 Furness.
  • Our new teaching room is located in C34 Furness
  • Furness college is number 42 on the campus map here.

Inagural Stakeholders Annual General Meeting

The Lancaster Clinical Psychology Training Course sees its inaugural annual general meeting (AGM) take place on 29th November 10 – 2, at the Lancaster University Conference Centre. The AGM replaces our quarterly meetings which had been poorly attended for quite a while – very understandable in the context of increasing demands on everyone’s time.

We are keen to make the AGM a vibrant partnership process where the different stakeholders involved in delivering the course at Lancaster have meaningful input into the future development of training.

There will be briefings on key areas of development such as widening participation, quality assurance and clinical assessment will be introduced alongside continued discussion of core areas of enhancement including selections, public involvement and curriculum.

These briefings will hopefully spark debate and development of specific action points for the year ahead. The action points may involve further stakeholder gatherings but are also likely to involve ways of contributing to the course that are not overly demanding of people's time and resources.

Says Clinical Director, Anna Daiches: "As we mentioned in the August newsletter we are trying to increase, and make more meaningful, stakeholder involvement in the both the strategic vision and everyday operation of the Lancaster DClinPsy. We are holding the AGM on 29th November as a key part of this process and hoping as many people as possible will be able to join us to not only shape the future of the programme but also share in a delicious lunch".

Please let us know if you are able to come along, if you have any dietary requirements and/or whether you would like any specific items added to the agenda. To confirm your attendance, please email

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Parkinson's Disease Seminar

The programme was pleased to invite local people affected by Parkinson's disease (PD) to a recent seminar held jointly with staff from biological sciences.

The seminar, which took place on the one sunny day Lancaster seemed to have in August, attracted local people with PD, people also affected by PD (such as spouses, other relatives and friends) and local professionals.

Dr Jane Simpson, the programme's Research Director who is now on sabbatical, presented a summary of some of the clinical psychology research which has been conducted by trainees and supervised by Jane and acting Research Director Dr Craig Murray. Dr Penny Foulds, from Biological Sciences, presented on the potential of alpha-synuclein as a marker for the presence of the disease.

Seminar attendees

Says Jane: "It was great to have the opportunity to feed back the results of our research over these last few years. Around 60 people attended and the feedback that we have had is positive and we certainly want to hold a similar event again in the near future."

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New Teaching Sessions on Communication Skills

We thought it may be interesting to share a new curriculum development with you all – any comments, suggestions and feedback welcome! The arrival of the new cohort of trainees has seen the start of our new ‘Communication’ sessions, which we have begun to deliver and which will run through their first year of training. These are based on our belief in the centrality of good interpersonal communication in the role of a clinical psychologist, and our desire to place this at the core of the skills that we teach.

In the sessions so far, we have focussed on skills such as listening, asking questions, exploring ‘difference’, managing personal boundaries, and managing the ‘process’ of sessions such as hearing multiple voices and managing time and structure. The sessions are very interactive – lots of role play, use of video, facilitator demonstration and consideration of different options for communication – with discussion about the impact of different choices and recognition of a range of personal styles. At the same time, we’ve had periods of quiet reflective time, to think about one’s own stance in relation to an issue, and areas of comfort and challenge.

We’ve divided the cohort into 3 groups of 8, and will stick with these groups (with the same facilitator) for the year, to promote safety. We want these to be ‘active’ agents of change, where learning can take place through giving each other genuine, developmental feedback. We’ve developed a list of ‘Indicators’ of good communication, which some of you who are supervising 1st year trainees this time round will have seen. We’ve asked the first year trainees to go out on placement and rate aspects of their work against this list, to think about their own communication skills and needs. We would really welcome supervisors getting involved with this – do contact for more info if you would like to see the list or comment in any way on this work.

It has been really exciting for us to develop, and has so far been well received – in our evaluation, one trainee commented “It was challenging, encouraging and supportive. I like that facilitators are willing to put their own practice in the spotlight”. Another wrote – “I LOVE the communication sessions. I feel like although they really challenge me, in terms of pushing myself to do role plays and things in front of others, I learn so much and really develop my practical skills.”

Future plans include the involvement of service users in the sessions, bringing in placement examples, and continued focus on giving constructive feedback.

Colourful Strands

Hello again, and welcome our regular update on the DClinPsy teaching. Our new ‘stranded’ teaching is now underway for all three year groups, with the most noticeable  change so far being our new look  colourful timetables and explanations. If you want to see one of new timetables and  our colourful key and strand descriptions, you can find them here and here.  The feedback from the first block to have been completely delivered using the strand system has been very positive,  and second and third year trainees that I’ve talked to have said that they like the new timetable layouts, and that it has been helpful to have been introduced to some of the strand sessions as  a continuation of on-going learning  experiences  rather than as  stand-alone teaching  days.

Having tackled the induction, child, an older adult health and neuropsychology, and third-year teaching blocks, over the next few weeks the strand teams will be turning their attention to booking in the adult mental health and learning disability teaching sessions which will take place between next April and September. We are also making some moves to organise a CPD event for teachers contributing to the ‘From Theory to Practice’ strand to take place in the spring. So if you are a teacher for the programme, you may well be hearing from one of us soon!

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Keeling, M., Bambrough, J., & Simpson, J. (in press). Depression, anxiety and positive affect in people diagnosed with low grade tumours: The role of illness perceptions. Psycho-Oncology.

Toner, J., Daiches, A., & Larkin, W. (in press). Asking about trauma: The experiences of psychological therapists in early intervention services. Psychosis.

Coming Up...


PIA Examiner Workshop - Brockholes Nature Reserve
Date: 28th November, 2012
Time: 10am-3pm

SRP Examiner Workshop - Lancaster House Hotel
Date: 16th January, 2013
Time: 9.30am-4.30pm

If you would like further details, please contact Jen Whitfield at or on 01524 592972.

LUPIN (Public Involvement Group) Meetings

LUPIN Steering Group meeting
Date: 20th December, 2012
Time: 1pm-3pm Location: Lancaster University

For further details, contact Jen Whitfield at or on 01524 592972.

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