November 2013

Lancaster hosts conference for clinical psychology trainers

by Anna Daiches, Clinical Director

From the 4th to the 6th of November the Lancaster DClinPsy programme had the pleasure of hosting the annual conference of the group of trainers in clinical psychology (GTiCP). The Low Wood Hotel in Ambleside had been chosen as the location for the conference in order to lure as many people from the world of clinical psychology training to seek professional inspiration and restoration in the spectacular surroundings of the Brathay Valley. And lure it did, with the conference selling out weeks before the event and delegates gathering on a crisp, bright autumn morning to begin asking themselves as shapers of the future of the clinical psychology profession "Who do we think we are?"

Delegates catching their breath between workshops

The conference had been organised to offer the profession an opportunity to consider the purpose and potential of clinical psychology in an NHS context reeling from amongst other things, the £20 billion Nicholson Challenge and the details of catastrophic service failings outlined in the Francis report. Themes included the influence of the profession, co-production of services with those who use them, organisational culture and effectiveness and compassion.

The event saw practitioners, service users and many who fall into both camps co-facilitate and contribute to a wide range of workshops. The importance of the service user voice in shaping how we take the profession forward was perfectly articulated by Peter Oakes, Programme Director of the DClinPsy at the University of Hull:

"There were occasional moments when we got a little carried away with our own publicity and the conference needed someone to point out the obvious absurdity or dismantle our hubris. There were other moments when we needed wisdom beyond the professional wisdom in the room. There was a man called Joseph who joined us from Uganda with experience of providing services, helping others to provide services and receiving services for himself. Those moments were made for Joseph and he inspired us all. I will not forget struggling for a poignant summary to conclude my session - he stood up and did it for me!"

A huge amount of work went into organising the conference and its seamless operation was due to the committed efforts of a number of the Lancaster programme team over the past year.

Evening entertainment courtesy of MC Ian Smith

The conference also allowed for more informal moments of connection particularly during some shared social activities - many of which showcased the variety of wonders to be found in our beautiful Cumbrian setting. We also had the pleasure of Jon Ronson's fascinating insight into the nature of the 'psychopath' in his wonderful after dinner speech on the Tuesday evening.

Staff, trainees and LUPIN members have worked for well over 12 months to put together this conference and to showcase the Lancaster DClinPsy as a leading voice in the profession's future. The feedback, including many comments in the twittersphere has been extremely positive and more will follow on that in the next newsletter. However, as a taster, the words of Liza Monaghan - Joint Director of Clinical Practice at the Sheffield Programme offer a concise summary "Thank you to all at Lancaster for a fantastic conference - great content, a beautiful setting, and so well organised".

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LUPIN members' inclusion in first year trainees' teaching

by Keith Holt, Julia Pilling and Barry Wilson

Three members of LUPIN, Keith Holt, Julia Pilling and Barry Wilson, recently participated in the first year trainees' teaching session on 'Boundaries'. The session was led by Jen Davies and Emma Hickey.

The participation of LUPIN members in this session modelled how effective service user involvement can be in contributing to teaching.

Raising awareness of the many complex issues of boundaries in therapy was enhanced by the input from the LUPIN members. They brought their personal experiences of therapy to illustrate the theory being discussed, for example, how self disclosure by the therapist had been utilised appropriately or inappropriately in their experience of therapy.

LUPIN members being included in teaching enables them to increase their knowledge and understanding of psychological therapy theory which furthers their understanding of their own therapy. This can then increase their contribution to the programme.

The motivation for many LUPIN members to contribute to the programme is to 'give something back' in appreciation for the therapy which they have received from the NHS. Taking part in a teaching session such as this is an important resource for trainees and is also a stimulating and positive experience for LUPIN members. This was an extremely positive and stimulating experience for Keith, Julia and Barry due to the welcoming and appreciative manner of their inclusion in the session by both staff and trainees.

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Ste lands Editor job!

Ste Weatherhead, a clinical tutor and lecturer in research methods on the programme, has been appointed as the new Editor of Clinical Psychology Forum, the most widely read journal among UK clinical psychologists.

The publication, which appears monthly and is the official newsletter from the Division of Clinical Psychology, provides a platform for a range of views on the profession and publishes empirical research with an emphasis on clinical applicability.

Ste Weatherhead

Says Ste, who will be taking on the Editorship for the next three years: "It's great to be leading a publication that goes out to all DCP members, one of my main hopes for this tenure is to develop CPF into a publication which feels relevant to people outside as well as inside our profession. Clinical psychology has such a broad range of application, and CPF is a place to reflect that. Doing so will boost the standing of our profession as well as the quality of CPF."

Comments Research Director Jane Simpson: "We are incredibly proud of Ste for being offered this role and believe it is yet another demonstration of our commitment here on the Lancaster DClinPsy to contribute vigorously to the evidence base."

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Lancaster DClinPsy trainees and staff contribute to university research profile

Lancaster DClinPsy staff are being included in the university's submission to the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Government's way of assessing the quality of research which takes place in UK universities.

The programme's high publication rate is referred to in the Faculty of Health and Medicine's 'environment' statement which demonstrates the research-active context in which all students - including the DClinPsy trainees - benefit.

Tony Gatrell on the DClinPsy REF inclusion

Over 90 peer-reviewed articles co-authored by trainees and staff have been published since the last REF in 2008 and these include systematic reviews, empirical research, clinical case reports, opinion pieces and methodological treatises. Many of these publications are based on work done as part of the programme's assessment process and this 'conversion' rate into publications is one of the highest in the country among DClinPsy programmes.

Says Faculty Dean Professor Tony Gatrell: "I am delighted to hear that some high-quality research from staff and trainees is finding its way into print and, more importantly, helping to contribute to an evidence base that will inform and improve practice. Many congratulations to those colleagues and trainees who are engaged in this activity."

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2013 Lake District trip

by Hayley Williams, trainee clinical psychologist

On a glorious September afternoon, 21 of the new 2013 cohort of trainees arrived at Ambleside ready to enjoy a team-building opportunity and tackle one of three outdoor activities: rock climbing, hill walking or kayaking. It was undoubtedly a stunning location and many looked on in disbelief as the accommodation looked more like a quaint five star hotel than a youth hostel.

The rock climbing group

As the group awaited the instructors, many absorbed the picturesque surroundings, while others succumbed to silent panic, laden with thoughts of capsizing kayaks or suspending off cliff faces. For some those very fears became reality, but it did not dampen the day (excuse the pun) as everyone took it within their stride. While the kayaking group played games on the lake and the climbers donned somewhat unflattering harnesses, the walkers headed off into the fells to bask in some magnificent views.

Following a lovely evening meal the trainees took advantage of the good weather and retired with a few drinks to the outdoor area overlooking the lake. Later everyone retreated to the 'party dorm' for a game of 'Who am I?' Afterwards they decided to sample the nightlife Ambleside had to offer. While some of the group returned to get some well deserved sleep, others ventured further afield to the nightclub, where the presence of a pole and an empty dance floor was just too much to resist for some.

The view down the valley

The following morning they counted their blessings as the weather took a turn for the worse. After polishing off breakfast they ventured home to get some rest before another week of teaching. I think it is safe to say that a great time was had by all. Thank you to Ruby and the rest of the team for organising an immense weekend.

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Narrative Approaches to Neurological Conditions: event review

by Ste Weatherhead, Clinical Tutor & Lecturer in Research Methods

Are narrative approaches and neuroscience incompatible given their largely different epistemological foundations? Certainly not! This was beautifully demonstrated at the recent CPD event jointly organised by Lancaster DClinPsy programme and the North West Neuropsychology Special Interest Group. The event was attended by over 70 delegates, from a range of backgrounds. There were of course neuropsychologists and narrative therapists present, but there were also researchers, people who access services, and others with an interest in the area. The day sparked some interesting debate, and presented a lot of learning points for all involved.

We had people speaking about narrative approaches to caring responsibilities, working narratively with people who have communication difficulties, as well as presentations on research exploring the narratives of people who have a neurological condition. The day was a mix of formal presentations, workshop tasks, and discussions. Lancaster House hotel looked after us well, and we all went away feeling a little more connected with each other and the issues discussed on the day.

The newly released Narrative Approaches to Brain Injury

We hope that there will be many more CPD opportunities soon, and we'll be sure to let you know about them. You may also be interested to hear of this newly released book, Narrative Approaches to Brain Injury.

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Third Year Placement Roadshow

by Ste Weatherhead, Clinical Tutor & Lecturer in Research Methods

Sometimes it feels as though we place trainees on a 3 year path of assignments, learning, pressure, demands... and then we say to them "Enjoy it, it's great, you can make a real difference". Well I guess both are true, we do ask a lot, but then this is a career which has the potential to give a lot too.

We recently (gently) introduced the new second years to the planning needed for their third year placement. As well as the essentials of what process to follow and who is around to help, we also had some new placement providers come in to discuss ways in which a trainee clinical psychologist could work in innovative settings. These ranged from an NHS leadership placement, to third sector organisations who had never had clinical psychology input before.

Clinical psychology is always evolving and we hope to support our trainees and our community to be ready to embrace that evolution, whilst maintaining a sense of being true to their own values. To this end, the Lancaster DClinPsy programme have recently been awarded a grant by the DCP to look at how we can increase placement capacity with third sector organisations. If you would like to speak to us about this, please do get in touch. We'll update more as the project develops.

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November's PhysCogBlog

by Hayley Tonge

My name is Hayley Tonge, I was involved in a road traffic accident when I was a teenager, and was left with physical disabilities and a brain injury. At times, I have had problems with confidence, how I feel about myself, physical pain, and trust. However, I no longer need a psychologist, and have developed a strong sense of who I am and what I want from life.

Hayley Tonge

I am a disabled artist and my work is primarily created from found materials (discarded wood). I am able to find organic beauty in the used materials, bringing them to life. This has become an integral part of my passion for creating art. You can read more about Hayley's work in the PhysCogBlog on the programme website.

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Reflections on the Introductory Supervisor Training

by Jenny Davies

Well it was that time of year again last month when we welcomed a group of enthusiastic individuals to our Introductory Supervisor Training. It was held in Forrest Hills which provided a wonderful setting for a stimulating couple of days. Ben Harper and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as facilitators making the most of the varied experience that people brought. There were active discussions, role-plays, videos and good use was made of the reflective journals! Here is a word or two from a couple of the attendees:

Jen and Ben in action

A couple of Reflections
by Lee Fitzpatrick
I recently attended the first part of the Lancaster supervisors training course on the 10th and 11th October, after intending to complete this course for some years but missing opportunities. As an ex Lancaster trainee I am overall very positive about my trainee experience and am completely clear that the Lancaster course offered me a model of infinite reflection which has helped me to negotiate many clinical psychology issues post qualification, both broad and niche alike. I am glad to say that Jenny Davies and Ben Harper have continued to embody this spirit of astute reflective practice in their teaching, exploring the nature of supervision by engaging course attendees and reviewing an eclectic mix of supervision models. I feel that this worked especially well as the teachers themselves orientate around different models in their clinical practice, specifically attachment and CBT. Every yin needs a yang, a left brain needs a right, a Morecambe a Wise etc.. Through their teaching they were able to communicate the influence of these models upon supervision practice as a synthesis rather than as competing models.

Hopefully now according to BPS standards I will be less likely to traumatise any future trainees from any of the Northwest courses. The overall theme for me was being able to feeling more confident to negotiate the balance between being able to nurture trainees' development whilst acknowledging that it is also essential to provide critical feedback. More specifically using attachment theory I know it is inappropriate to have trainees sat on your knee in supervision and using a CBT approach I know it is inappropriate to laugh out loud when listening to trainees' session tapes.

Supervisory transformation
by Miguel Montenegro
Becoming a Supervisor
to be more than an advisor
an informed source of support
to model therapeutic rapport.

As supervisor I'm not a parent
but can be as clear and transparent,
perhaps more than a tutor
not as cold as a computer.

As supervisor I'm more than a friend
exploring ways out of a dead end,
when therapy seems stuck
and colleagues seem out of luck.

To support the therapist
dissipate the doubting mist,
preventing the seeking reassurance
to ensure professional endurance.

Communication seems of essence
to grow out of clinical adolescence,
showing guidance and empathy
but not for personal therapy.

Supervision is more than a model
not to be rushed but with dawdle,
modelling containment and respect
a place for therapists to reflect.

Not sure if I'll be any good
and my heart is not made of wood,
using approaches warm and kind
I just need a supervisory mind.

Some further thoughts
by a training attendee
I found the supervisor training a valuable, and enjoyable, course to attend. The course provided the opportunity to reflect on the process of providing placements and supervising trainee clinical psychologists. It was interesting to re-visit models of supervision and ways of applying them practically within a supervisory context. The course content was pitched well in terms of material being relevant for new and experienced supervisors. It was also helpful to make new links with other clinical psychologists working locally.

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NHS Fun Tri update

by Laura Cramond, trainee clinical psychologist

Congratulations to the two teams of ardent athletes from the 2011 and 2012 cohorts who completed the NHS Triathlon in July. The event took place in a gloriously sunny Bolton and consisted of a 400 metre swim, 21k bike ride and 5k run. It was a brilliant day and the two teams put in tremendous performances.

The NHS Fun Tri teams

So far they have raised an amazing £227.67 in aid of the mental health charity Mind. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored them so far. Sponsorship is still open so if you would like to donate please visit

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Jane returns from sabbatical

Jane Simpson has returned from sabbatical and is back in post as the programme's Research Director.

Jane, who was given a year-long sabbatical which ended in September 2013, spent the year progressing her research into the psychological experiences of people with a long term condition, particular those with a neurodegenerative illness such as Parkinson's disease. She also spent two months at the University of Crete where she researched the experiences of UK expatriates living in Crete with a chronic illness and set up more extensive collaborative networks.

She says: "Being on sabbatical was a fantastic experience and I really appreciated being able to have the time to progress my own research interests. I realise that much hard work went on over the last academic year and I am very grateful to everyone who covered for me while I was away."

Jane has been appointed Deputy Head of the Division of Health Research, taking over from Professor Sheila Payne who retires in January.

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Anderson, D., Murray, C.D., Hurrell, R. (2013) Experiences of intimacy among people with bladder exstrophy. Qualitative Health Research, 23(12), 1600-1612.

Cairns, V., & Murray, C. (in press) How do the features of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy contribute to positive therapeutic change? A meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Flynn, K., Daiches, A., Malpus, Z., Sanchez, M., & Yonan, N. (in press) 'A post-transplant': Narratives of heart or lung transplantation and intensive care unit delirium. Health.

Gill, I., Mullin, S., & Simpson, J. (in press) Psychosocial and psychological factors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder following traumatic brain injury in adult civilian populations: A systematic review. Brain Injury.

Large, S. (2013) Vicarious trauma: A covert threat? Clinical Psychology Forum, 251, 44-48.

Maxted, C., Simpson, J., & Weatherhead, S. (in press) An exploration of the experience of Huntington's disease in family dyads: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Genetic Counseling.

McDonald, C., Murray, C., & Atkin, H. (in press) Palliative care professionals' experiences of unusual spiritual phenomena at the end of life. Mental Health, Religion and Culture.

Quinn, K., Murray, C.D., Malone, C. (in press) The experience of couples when one partner has a stroke at a young age: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Disability & Rehabilitation.

Seal, K., Murray, C.D., & Seddon, L. (in press) The experience of being an informal "carer" for a person with cancer: a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. Palliative & Supportive Care.

Seal, K., Murray, C.D., & Seddon, L. (in press) Family stories of end of life cancer care when unable to fulfil a loved one's wish to die at home. Palliative & Supportive Care.

Simpson, J., McMillan, H., & Reeve, D. (2013) Reformulating psychological difficulties in people with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's Disease.

Turner, A., & Weatherhead, S. (2013) "What not to wear": How might the therapist's attire impact on the therapeutic relationship? Clinical Psychology Forum, 249, 43-6.

Wyatt, C., Harper, B., & Weatherhead, S. (in press) The experience of mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with mental health difficulties: a meta-synthesis. Psychotherapy Research.

Staff Publications

Murray, C.D. & Forshaw, M.J. (2013) The experience of amputation and prosthesis use for adults: a metasynthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(14), 1133-1142.

Murray, C.D. & Forshaw, M.J. (in press) "Look and feel your best": representations of artificial limb users in prosthetic company advertisements. Disability and Rehabilitation.

Newby, G., Coetzer, R., Daisley, A., & Weatherhead, S. (2013) Practical Neuropsychological Rehabilitation in Acquired Brain Injury: A Guide for Working Clinicians. UK: Karnac Books.

Weatherhead, S.J. & Todd, D.J. (2013) Narrative Approaches to Brain Injury. UK: Karnac Books.

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Coming Up...

Professional Issues Assignment 1&2 Examiner Training
Date: Thursday 5th December 2013
Time: 09:30am - 16:00pm
Location: The Leyland Hotel, Preston, PR25 4JX
Contact: Kirsten Smith, or 01524 592972

Inclusivity Conference
Date: Thursday 12th December 2013
Time: 13:00pm - 17:30pm
Location: Barker House Farm, Lancaster University, LA1 4YW
Contact: Kirsten Smith, or 01524 592972

LUPIN Steering Group
Date: Thursday 19th December 2013
Time: 10:30am - 14:30pm
Location: Lancaster University, LA1 4YW
Contact: Christina Pedder, or 01524 593378

SRP Examiner Training
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2014
Time: 9:30am - 4:00pm
Location: Lancaster University, LA1 4YW
Contact: Kirsten Smith, or 01524 592972

Introductory Supervisor Training (Day 3 of 3)
Date: Wednesday 7th May 2014
Time: TBC
Location: Forrest Hills, Hazelrigg Lane, Ellel, Lancashire, LA2 0PL
Contact: Kirsten Smith, or 01524 592972

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