Why you Shouldn’t Apply for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate

It’s that time of year again. Clinical Psychology Doctorate application season is officially open and this comes with a lot of questions from Psychology Graduates. The main question we hear is an age old question “AM I READY TO APPLY?” The only issue is many other psychology websites give generic answers to this question. One example being, “ONLY APPLY WHEN YOU FEEL READY”. As you can see this can be quite frustrating to some hopefuls who feel that they will never “feel ready”. Luckily, PsychAssist is here to try to help guide Psychology Graduates in finding out if they are “ready” for Clinical Training.. Within this post we will explore 3 reasons why you SHOULDN’T apply for the Clinical Psychology Doctorate programme.


Just Graduated? Check out 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university?


Don’t know what the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Interview looks like? Check out What to Expect in A Clinical Doctorate Interview


Don’t know what Assistant Psychologists do? Check out So What do Assistant Psychologists Actually Do?


Want an Honest Review of Being an Assistant Psychologist? Check out The Worst things about being an Assistant Psychologist







In It for the Money

I remember when I first heard about the clinical doctorate programme back when I was a support worker. Many Clinical Psychologists would tell me how I needed to get onto the course and how much better life would be on the other side. What they didn’t know however, was that I was only thinking about the financial gains of training. I remember thinking about all the expensive things I could buy with a £26,000 salary increasing every year. On reflection, I look at the work Psychologists do and believe me, they don’t get paid enough. I finally understood what they meant by life was better on the other side and it had nothing to do with the salary. The skills you develop whilst training gives you the ability to truly make an impact into someone’s life.

PsychAssist Tip: Don’t apply for the doctorate if all you see is the salary, as you simply will not survive training. Now this is different to acknowledging that without the course fees being paid for you wouldn’t be able to afford a doctorate; as this is an opinion well received by courses. Remember the salary is a bonus so your brain can make sense of the hardships that lie ahead.


Your Career = Your Self-Worth

I have seen this too often amongst Psychology Graduates. Majority of people who ask for our advice on Twitter (@Psych_Assist) always start with the sentence “I need to get onto the doctorate”. This is something I have never understood as your career is only a small part of what makes you. As soon as I see those words, I immediately say the doctorate is not for you at this point; simply because the more pressure you put on yourself, the less likely you are to blossom in interviews and therefore not get onto the course. This rejection is then interpreted as the person not being good enough and the anxiety cycle starts all over again. I have to admit, I have been a slave to this also. Thinking there’s no career if I don’t get onto a course and how society will view me as a failure. Sound familiar?

PsychAssist Tip: I guarantee you will never get onto the Clinical Psychology Doctorate course with this mentality. In fact the ones that tend to stroll onto the course are the ones who accept what will be, will be. The biggest advice I received was to be as organic and transparent through the process as possible. Courses are more impressed with calmness and openness rather than desperate and anxious.


Putting your Life on Hold

This is something that really irritates us. Some Graduates actually put their lives on hold for the doctorate. I once spoke to a Psychology Graduate who would refuse some really amazing opportunities, just in case it was her year of getting onto the course. I have spoken to many Clinical Psychologists who actively encourage Psychology Graduates to gain as much life experiences before embarking on their doctorate. The reason for this is because many Clinical Doctorate Interviews have a Personal Suitability element to their selection process and having some life experiences really does come in handy.

PsychAssist Tip: Never let the doctorate process stop you from living your life. Why don’t you try this? Write down all the things you would like to do before you get onto clinical training. This could be to travel a little bit or maybe you’d like to learn a new skill? Whatever it is, GO DO IT; as your time will be very limited once on the Clinical Doctorate.


Thanks for reading this week’s article by PsychAssist. The advice given in this week’s post has been collated from a number of Clinical Psychologists both within the NHS and Private Practice. All Clinical Psychologists were asked the question “How would you know if someone wasn’t ready for Clinical Training?”


Tune in NEXT MONDAY for another PsychAssist Article


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