Hello and WELCOME to PsychAssist. Lately we’ve received a lot of questions from recent Psych Grads who are new to the field asking about the difference between NHS experience and Private Experience (we did write an article about this which was called NHS Experience VS Private Experience). They appear to have this pre-conceived misconception that working for private companies is bad and the only way to progress is through solely working in the NHS. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE which gave us the inspiration for this article. Within this post, we will discuss the benefits of working within the private sector and how Psych Grads can flourish in these types of environments.
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More Money Equals More Training
It’s no secret that private psychology companies spend a lot of money in developing their staff. I remember having a supervisor that spent some time pre-qualified within a private psychology company and she spoke about how much training she was provided with as they were happy to pay for it. This is one of the major benefits of working within a private company as THEY HAVE MONEY to invest in your future. Within the NHS, there are certain standard trainings that you have to attend but for the most part, if there is some training that you would like to attend; it’s more than likely that it will be a battle for it to go ahead. This is completely eradicated in private companies because as long as you can evidence why this is needed for the company, you’re good to go.
PsychAssist Tip: Milk the system for all they’ve got! I know countless people who have worked for private companies and they’ve left with training in all sorts of models and psychological tools (I even knew an AP that was fully qualified in delivering a very prestigious psychological tool which looked amazing on her CV). Bottom line is, this would be near impossible within the NHS as most psychology training is reserved for higher paid clinicians.
“…and puts you in a better position for when you commence further training”.
Ok, to some this may seem a little scary and one of the reasons why the private sector gets such a bad reputation. There are some companies who will give Psych Grads way too much responsibility which understandably, they feel unqualified to do. This can be quite scary, however with the right balance; this can be equally as rewarding. Within the NHS, there are times where you are stopped from offering/doing certain things as you aren’t perceived as “qualified enough to do so”. However, most private companies will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone (with support) and to do things you previously wouldn’t have. This is ultimately great for your development and puts you in a better position for when you commence further training.
PsychAssist Tip: Always seek out regular supervision as this is essential to your development. Don’t fall into the trap of coming out of your comfort zone without the proper support which is where good supervision comes in. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help! It can be quite scary having more responsibility thrust upon you so we’d always recommend vocalising your concerns if it’s getting too much. Remember, you’re still developing and if they wanted the finished product they would have hired a qualified Dr.
Developing Business Skills
Now everyone knows that private psychology companies charge a fortune for their expertise. This is partly due to the highly skilled clinicians available within the service but it’s mostly giving the public the opportunity to bypass those long NHS waiting times. Have you ever dreamed about starting your own psychological service? Well so have many others but only a handful ever venture out and pursue this dream. This is where working within a private company can give you not only valuable clinical experience but mentoring on how to build and run a successful business. So many Psych Grads that we speak to; have dreams and aspirations of owning their own psychology company, however none have even stepped foot in private services so have no idea how they are run. This is why we’d encourage Psych Grads to start looking within the private sector for experience.
PsychAssist Tip: Have a look at places like St Andrews and the Priory group for experience as they often offer positions for Psychology Graduates. Now this doesn’t mean that you’ll walk in and they’ll show you how to run a company as that’s not what you’re there for. We’d recommend settling in first and then gradually start asking questions in regards to business and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn.
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