Zinny is a 1st year Clinical Psychology Trainee at University of East Anglia. On Wednesday 7th of October 2020, Zinny hosted a Twitter Q&A session via the @BIPPNetwork account as part of the #NewFaceofPsychology campaign.
Check out her helpful tips and answers to aspiring psychologists' questions in the thread:
How do you think you were able to get through the anxiety of the interview process and applications?
Honestly, for me it was my support network. Within the Clinical psychology bubble I had incredible support and people like @kimkay30 who checked in on me and offered listening ears when it got too much. It meant so much to have that. I also kept distracted by doing other things I enjoy and working on my Plan B. This got a lot harder during the lockdown but I gave myself space to stress and looked after myself as much as I could, often using simple tools like worry time to keep perspective and manage anxiety.
I’ll add here that having support outside of the clinical psychology bubble was key too. People that did not even know I was applying and with whom I had other shared interests. That kept me sane too.
How did you convey your interest for both research and clinical work on your application in a balanced way?
I did this by reflecting on the scientist-practitioner role of Clinical Psychologists and how my past experiences had prepared me for this. It can be helpful to hold this in mind, as it also gives an indication of familiarity with the expectations of the role.
I would also suggest thinking about what aspects of both clinical/research work you enjoy; and reflecting on what that mean for training and a future career in clinical psychology.
What factors did you take into consideration when picking the universities?
I have to admit this was really tricky for me due to how challenging it can be to let oneself shine through on the application form while also being aware that different universities had different ethos underpinning them.
So I obsessed over the Alternative Handbook. I looked through the preceding four years, to ensure that I got a good feel of what each course was about. I was not in a position to move for training as I have my family and life where I live and it was important that I considered courses I could easily commute to. I have a huge interest in social justice, diversity and trauma but also neuropsychology. I spoke to people on the courses I was interested in and made sure I was familiar with their general student experiences.
What did you find the hardest thing about the application process?
I think everyone finds different aspects difficult and I have not really thought about the process in terms of what was most difficult. I suppose I found the waiting far more difficult than I had anticipated. It was not just about time passing, it was also about the emotional impact of the waiting. The self doubt, the ‘am I good enough’ type self scrutiny. Going over my entire interview in my head and unpicking every ‘wrong’ response I felt I had given. Realising I did not want to go through the process ever again. That was...a lot.
How can one best demonstrate their reflective skills in DClinPsy applications?
From my own experience, holding a reflective model in mind was helpful (for example the Gibbs model). The application doesn’t allow for many words so a model can help mention the experience, what learning I took from it, what it meant to me and always link it back to how that has prepared me for training. In simple terms, “While working as ... I did ... and so learnt about ... which made me feel ... and taught me the value of ...”
If someone doesn’t have a lot of experience in clinical practice, but rather research roles, what’s the best way to demonstrate experience relevant for the application?
I think to begin with, remember that people with similarly limited clinical experience have got onto training. I would reflect on the learning from your research experience and how that has prepared you for training but at the same time reflect on the limitations of your clinical experience and use that space to show your awareness of this, while at the same time evidencing the relevance of whatever little experience you do have, to readiness for training.
What did you think was the hardest aspect of the DClinPsy application for you?
I found it hard to get to the point where it felt ready for submission. It felt like I had to edit repeatedly within the word count. In terms of the statement, it felt vulnerable waiting about myself in that way but I am becoming more comfortable with that now.
Stay up to date with the campaign activities on social media via the hashtag #NewFaceOfPsychology