September 2013

Transitions: a trainee view

by Jo Jury, trainee

Having recently returned to clinical training after an amazing year out looking after my little girl, I thought I would write a short piece about transitioning back into training.

The thing about taking any prolonged absence from training is when you come back, everything has changed. New cohort, new placement, and for me a new university building too! I felt like I was starting a new job, which actually has helped the transition as it has allowed me to box off neatly the first year and a half (this might explain the reluctance to submit my SRP for publication). Training now feels like a manageable year and a half, rather than the three year slog it must be for some people, and I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Jo Jury

The transition has also had an impact on my identity as a trainee. I identified strongly with the 2010 cohort but as they finish off their training it's obvious I'm no longer part of them. I'm now a 2011 member, but not quite. My trainee number still starts with 10, I have a PIE to work on (the 2011 cohort have the PIA) and I won't finish in time to graduate with my new cohort. So I feel slightly at odds, floating somewhere in my own little cohort of 1, but I'm comforted by the large minority of us that are working to our own individualised timetables. And the process has been helped by course staff and an outstanding placement supervisor, who all still tell me it is early days despite it now being three months since I returned!

I'm pleased to hear that the issue of transitioning between cohorts is a hot topic for the course staff, and it needs to be as many people are doing it at the moment! My experience has been very positive and I feel as though taking some time away has helped refuel my passion for training. Despite the negativity and grumpiness I clearly expressed whilst pregnant, I would recommend it to everyone. I'm sure Anna will be thrilled to read that!

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Narrative Approaches to Neurological Conditions

by Sarah Heard, research co-ordinator

The Lancaster Doctorate in Clinical Psychology will be co-hosting a CPD event in collaboration with the Neuropsychology Special Interest Group. It will be held on 11th November 2013 and be considering the application of narrative approaches within neurological settings. Keynote speakers for the event include Ava Easton, CEO of The Encephalitis Society; Rozanne Barrow, Head of the Speech and Language Therapy Department at Beaumont Hospital; and Narrative Therapist, Sarah Walther.

Ava Easton, keynote speaker

This promises to be a fascinating event with a great exploration of clinical practice and research within a narrative frame. For more information please see our online flyer. If you have any queries, or would like to register on the event, please contact Sarah Heard either by email,, or by phone, 01524 592754.

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A farewell to our 2010 cohort

by Ste Weatherhead, clinical and research tutor

Everyone navigates training in different ways, and at different paces. For many of the 2010 cohort, this summer marks the end of their travels as trainee clinical psychologists, and the start of their journey into qualified life. Some are still on the training journey, and we will continue to accompany them. We are proud of all of you whatever stage you are at. The last few years have been times of change within the Lancaster DClinPsy programme, and the 2010 cohort have lived through those changes with us. We would like to acknowledge the challenge that this has been for them at times, and publicly share how much we have valued them as a set of individuals, and wish them all the best as they enter the next phase of their careers. Learning and training are shared experiences, we will miss sharing this with the 2010 cohort, but hope we remain part of their thinking as they will remain part of ours. It is quite an achievement passing DClinPsy training. Well done to each and every one of you. Congratulations!

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Growing International Relationships: Lancaster and Uganda

by Jen Davies, clinical tutor

On Friday 19th July the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) at Lancaster University was delighted to welcome some visitors from Uganda. These visitors were JJ Paul, William and Canaan. They had travelled from Gulu in the north of Uganda where war has inflicted a lot of trauma. They were visiting the UK as part of a commonwealth fellowship scheme and they came to share their stories with us. We gathered together: clinical psychology trainees, members of LUPIN (Lancaster University Public Involvement Network) and staff from the DClinPsy programme and other parts of the university.

We heard about JJ Paul's struggle with emotional well-being, how this was experienced within his community and the response from mental health services in Uganda. We heard about how he had recovered and trained to become a mental assistant on the ward that he had once attended. He described how he had developed a vision for a peer support network and how he now heads up Mental Health Uganda North. He outlined the fantastic projects he has been involved in, e.g. developing outreach groups to offer peer support, creating income-generating schemes such as 'pass the goat' breeding programmes, having a community credit loan agreement to allow people to establish their own businesses and generating a 'medication bank' to avoid sudden shortfalls.

Sharing Stories

We heard from William and Canaan as they spoke about their roles as psychiatric clinical officers and from Jen Hall, a UK-trained clinical psychologist, who spent a year working in Uganda, a country where there are currently only four government-employed clinical psychologists. We shared thoughts about differences and similarities, about the importance of community and connection and about how much we could learn from each other.

We had all brought food and we shared a meal (and more thoughts) together and then we exchanged gifts. It was a touching moment as we received the flag of Uganda which now stands proudly in our admin office, the hub of our training community. We then gave our visitors books to record their travel experiences and Lancaster University badges which they put on with pride. We talked about the importance of two-way meaningful relationships and how much we had already gained from connecting in this way. We then watched a film together about emotional well-being which again illustrated the importance of community and really being with and listening to each other. And then we said our goodbyes.

JJ Paul and Attendees

But this was not where it ended. Since that day I have been incredibly touched and moved by how this experience has lived on. Trainees have shared beautiful moments about how new insights have affected their clinical practice for the better; LUPIN members have said the day will never leave them because of the powerfulness of the stories told and the strength and capacity for love that they recognised in both themselves and others; and staff described this as an invaluable opportunity to be really alongside others and recognise the strength of the community we have here in Lancaster too.

JJ Paul and Bill

And that is why as a programme we are delighted to be growing relationships in this way with various people, organisations and communities in Uganda: relationships that enrich our training community in numerous ways and where we can offer something meaningful back. We look forward to ongoing projects including collaborative research, training, clinical work and story sharing and we look forward to nurturing these projects together. You can see more pictures from the day on the DClinPsy website.

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Developing the Lancaster-Uganda International Link

by Amy Singleton, third year trainee

We (third year trainees - Amy D'Sa and Amy Singleton) have recently been offered an incredibly exciting opportunity to join clinical tutor, Jen Davies, in developing a Lancaster-Uganda international link. Jen, who has a relatively long-term relationship and an infectious passion for Uganda, visited earlier this year on a 'scoping' visit to determine the possibilities for developing links between the DClin Psy at Lancaster and service users, peer support workers, professionals and the Clinical Psychology Training course in Uganda. Following this, it was agreed that two trainees from the second year would be chosen to accompany Jen to Uganda on a two week visit in their third year. Trainees were interviewed by Jen and Anna, and despite them wanting to send all eight, the two 'Amys' were selected to go on the trip, with several other interested trainees forming an invaluable 'reference group', whose creativity, enthusiasm and innovative ideas will help develop the link on a long-term basis.

This initial trip, a two week visit, will build on Jen's existing relationships with 'peer support workers' in the country, people who have experienced mental health difficulties who support others with mental health difficulties. Amongst other activities, working with these service users will be a central part of the trip. Through our teaching on the doctorate, we have been fortunate to have ongoing involvement from members of 'LUPIN' (Lancaster University Public Involvement Network). LUPIN add so much to our teaching, research and placement activities by sharing their personal stories, offering their perspectives and, crucially, ensuring that we work 'with' our clients rather than 'doing to' as is often the case in diagnostic services where a person can have little choice in what happens to them. In Uganda, there is very little service user involvement in the planning of mental health services. For example, the clinical psychology training course is almost entirely theoretical, until recently having no placement opportunities. As a result, psychologists have previously qualified with no experience of actually being with clients and forming the relationships that are so vital for helping those in distress. Peer support workers have recognised the centrality of human relationships and being with others in helping those with mental health difficulties, moving away from 'therapies' or 'techniques' that we value so highly in the UK.

Our hope is to build a meaningful link between Lancaster and Uganda to promote sustainable ways to develop capacity in this low income country. Additionally, the link will provide opportunities for trainee clinical psychologists in the UK to learn from the innovative approaches of the peer support workers and share skills from a western clinical psychology perspective. There is a danger in 'importing' ready-made strategies from the UK as often these are culturally specific and local community processes can be disrupted. For this reason, we seek first to amplify the voices of those in Uganda who have experienced mental health difficulties and learn from them what they value and seek in terms of support. We hope that any needs, ideas for service development, or learning opportunities that result from our trip can be fostered between the two parties, building a meaningful and ongoing link between Lancaster and those in Uganda in which those in Uganda are empowered to identify their own needs.

Our task currently is to determine sources of funding, whether through official grants, or through fundraising activities and we would welcome any ideas or feedback from any interested parties. Similarly, any ideas about how to make this link as meaningful as possible are welcomed.

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Programme Open Day

by Rob Parker, programme assistant (scheduling)

The Lancaster Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is holding its Open Day on the 21st of November 2013 between 2pm and 4pm. This is an ideal opportunity for potential trainees to find out more about the programme and the University. You will also have the chance to chat to programme staff, current trainees and members of the Lancaster Universtity Public Involvement Network.

Please note that places are limited. Anyone wishing to attend should email Christina Pedder to request a place.

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When professional development gets personal - August's PhysCogBlog

by Lily Lamb, clinical psychologist

Lily Lamb

This month we have Lily Lamb, who works in a busy service for adults with cystic fibrosis, discussing an issue which is part of her current thinking. Since qualifying several years ago, she has worked in learning disability and physical health services. In the Blog, Lily reflects on working with patients over many years and how she negotiates a professional relationship in a role where the overlap between the professional and the personal is often highlighted. Read the full blog by Lily here.

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DClinPsy Administrators Conference - Oxford 2013

by Rob Parker, programme assistant (scheduling)

Four intrepid members of the the Lancaster programme admin team braved searing July heat, combined with a hot curry for lunch, to attend this year's DClinPsy Administrators Conference in Oxford. The yearly conference is run by a volunteer programme and gives delegates the opportunity to share ideas and developments, become more familiar with aspects of the training which is delivered and look into the issues that are raised for trainees on a much broader scale.

DClinPsy Administrators Conference 2013

Mixed between discussions on admissions processes and service user involvement were presentations on topics such as brain anatomy and eating disorders making the conference both varied and a great opportunity to form wider relationships.

This year the conference had added spice for Lancaster as the programme will be hosting the event in 2014 so it was also a great opportunity for us to steal good ideas from the Oxford team!

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Can we come in please? Involving service users and carers in clinical psychology training - conference report

by Fiona Eccles, lecturer in research methods

David Britt and Neil Caton from LUPIN recently attended a conference, along with Fiona Eccles from the course staff. Hosted by the Trent Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programme, the conference, entitled "Can we come in please? Involving service users and carers in clinical psychology training", provided an opportunity for training courses to share good practice, and think together about the benefits and challenges of service user involvement.

David commented "To me the most interesting aspect was the consensus (unplanned, I believe) that has been achieved among Schools of Clinical Psychology on the value of involving service users in programmes, with all represented Schools using service users in essentially similar roles. In all cases, staff seem supportive in encouraging these collaborative efforts and feedback from trainees was also uniformly reported as positive. Lancaster University should take pride in LUPIN for being very much in the vanguard of these developments."

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Simpson, J., Heath, J., & Wall, G. (in press). Living with a pituitary tumour: a narrative analysis. Psychology and Health.

Spence, N., Fox, J. R. E., Golding, L., & Daiches, A. (in press). Supervisee self-disclosure: A clinical psychology perspective. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Wyatt, C., Ashton, A., & Regan, J. (2012). Evaluation of a mindfulness-based group intervention for individuals with chronic pain. Health Psychology Update, 22, 3-9.

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Coming Up...

Introductory Supervisor Training (Days 1 & 2 of 3)
Date: Thursday 10th & Friday 11th October 2013
Time: TBC
Location: Forrest Hills, Hazelrigg Lane, Ellel, Lancashire, LA2 0PL
Contact: Kirsten Smith, or 01524 592972

LUPIN Steering Group
Date: Thursday 24th October 2013
Time: 11:00am - 13:00pm
Location: Lancaster University, LA1 4YW
Contact: Christina Pedder, or 01524 593378

GTiCP Conference 2013: "Who do we think we are?" A three day journey examining the future of the profession and its implications for training
Date: Monday 4th - Wednesday 6th November 2013
Time: 11:00am Mon - 12:15pm Weds
Location: Windermere, Cumbria
Contact: Ruby Allamby, or 01524 592971 - Closing date for bookings 20th September 2013

Narrative Approaches to Neurological Conditions
Date: Monday 11th November 2013
Time: 09:30am - 17:00pm
Location: Lancaster House Hotel Conference Centre, LA1 4YW
Contact: Sarah Heard, or 01524 592754

Programme Open Day
Date: Thursday 21st November 2013
Time: 14:00pm - 16:00pm
Location: Furness Building, Lancaster University, LA1 4YW
Contact: Christina Pedder, or 01524 593378

Diversity 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

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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