Updated: May 29, 2022
by Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist
So, let's talk about the DClinPsy application process. For those of you in the know, you will be well aware that we are in application and interview season, and that courses are starting to let people know whether they are being invited for interview or whether they are being told:
“Thank you, but no thank you!”
And I think that can be a useful way of thinking about it. There are so many people that apply and of course it was something that you really wanted, but of course, we have to make sure that the right people are becoming trainee clinical psychologists. And as such, because of the volume of people that apply, and also because of the fact that sometimes the skills, qualifications and experience, aren't what they need to be for prerequisites for training. Sometimes you are sent emails saying:
“We can't offer you an interview this year”.
And of course that can feel incredibly disappointing and it's okay if it does. We are these complicated human beasts and we, as a result, have the ability to feel things like disappointment. We have the ability of foresight. So, when you are spending time filling in your form, you were imagining how it might feel to be called to interview. You were imagining how it might feel for the first time to meet your cohort. How it might feel to say, "I am a trainee clinical psychologist." And we practice all of that and we try those roles on for size. And so, if you are getting communications saying no interview this year, or you're even getting one course saying no, and one from one saying yes, or three no and one yes, because you can apply for up to four courses. It's okay to still feel that. It's okay to still lean into the disappointment that you might feel about the course that said no, because it was obviously something that you thought you might want to have in your life for the next three years. And you'd applied to that university for a reason. It might have been because it was closest, or it might have been because actually you really wanted to study at that university. So, you are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to have your feelings be a bit hurt, a bit bruised, but that's not going to be happening for certainly next year at that university. If you have got other interviews, then obviously that's incredible. But you may find that you are in the position of having all of your applications declined this year. I have been there two years in a row. Believe me, it hurts a bit. It does hurt a bit. And of course, it's not a free process either. You might be the thinking of things I could have done with that money that would be better for me.
But I was told when I was applying, that courses like to see perseverance. They like to see if you've applied before, if you've acted upon feedback that was given and that you've come back with a stronger application. And so, all is not lost. I learned a lot from doing my applications both of the times that I wasn't successful. I didn't use my previous versions of my form as the basis for the one that was successful. I started again. But I still read it before I submitted and was then able to realise, I see why they didn't invite me to interview now. I just wasn't ready. But you might be like, I do feel like I'm really ready. This isn't fair. And that's okay too. You're allowed to be sad. You're allowed to be a bit angry. You're allowed to be disappointed. All these difficult feelings that we are capable of as you humans, you can feel them. You can look after yourself, you can stay compassionate.
And of course, maybe not immediately, but we know that September is just around the corner when applications open again. And so, you can think about taking action on any feedback that you might have received with the applications. So, I used to get feedback like:
“Academic skills need strengthening, more clinical experience required, more variety of clinical experience required”.
And I took that on board. I learned from the experts, and I did what was suggested. I built my academic experience. I applied for different jobs in different areas. I found voluntary experience in the Brownies to help bolster my children and child work.
So, I wanted to swoop in to speak to you today, just to say, I've got you. I hear you. I've been there and I know how it feels and you're allowed to be upset. But it can be useful to think that the communication about’, sorry, we can't offer you an interview is actually:
“Thank you, but not yet. We'd love to see you in future, but not yet. Your time is not quite yet, and you've got a little bit more growing to do and you are lovely. And thank you for applying because we're very honoured”.
So, take that, breathe that in, believe that. If you've got any questions or you just want some help commiserating, slip into the comments on this post and I will help commiserate with you. If you are looking ahead for thinking about the future, then why not think about grabbing your copy of The Clinical Psychologist Collective Book. There's loads of useful information there about how you can shape your career and how other people have done it.
And also my Aspiring Psychologist Membership is opening up again on July the 1st. So, you can get in to be just another set of 15 people in my world to be part of the Aspiring Psychologist Membership. I will always create free content, so you don't need to pay anything, but it's out there and people are finding it really useful. More exciting information coming on Monday about a new development. And also don't forget the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast, which gets lovely reviews. And you can find that on Apple, you can find that on Google, Amazon, Spotify, all the good places where you'd look for podcasts. And this week's episode is actually available as a video too, so you can watch that on YouTube. You can always listen on YouTube. All the episodes are on Good Thinking Psychological Services YouTube. But this week there is a little video of me and my guest Ollie.
Please be kind to yourselves. Please know that you are wonderful. Nobody gets into trying to become a clinical psychologist or educational psychologist or whatever just for kicks. You care about people, and you want to help ease distress and suffering and understand yourself in the process. And that's an incredible thing. So, thank you from me to you and from your future clients who you may well meet one day as a trainee psychologist. Thank you in advance for persevering. Have a kind day. Spread a little cheer. Get people to make you cups of tea if you're heading into work. Get them to look after you. Look after yourself, be kind. Know that this is not a personal failure, that we've got to keep on trying. If I'd stopped at two attempts, I would not be here talking to you. So, your future self needs you to keep going and it's okay to feel sad about this not working out at this stage. Take care.
To check out the Clinical Psychologist Collective Book and The Aspiring Psychologist Membership Click Here.