The Future Professional Representation of Clinical Psychology
Last night (19th October), a panel discussion took place in Manchester with representatives from different organisations and viewpoints. The areas represented included:
- The British Psychological Society (BPS)
- The BPS Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP) executive committee
- The Association of Clinical Psychology
- The North West Psychological Professions Network
- The BPS Minorities in Clinical Training Group
- Psychologists for Social Change (formerly Psychologists Against Austerity)
- People who have accessed clinical psychology services
- Clinical psychologists who are not members of the BPS
- Independent practice
The event was chaired by Neil McLauchlan who is a senior manager from Health Education England but there in a private capacity as an experienced commissioner of clinical psychology training.
Many of you will be aware of current debates and concerns about how well the BPS can represent the professional needs of the clinical psychologists. The purpose of last night’s debate was to look forwards and gain a diverse range of viewpoints on what is important for clinical psychology representation.
While there were differences in views, there was also agreement about what was important. This included our primary purpose in working with service users, patients, carers and the wider community to improve psychological wellbeing (obviously this is not unique to clinical psychologists). We heard from a service user voice articulating the need for access and also flexibility and choice in psychological interventions. We also heard of the need to increase diversity within the profession and the difficulties experienced by those who wish to train as clinical psychologists. These included difficulties in gaining experience and how this can reduce opportunities for those without the financial support to gain unpaid experience or additional qualifications as well as those who have caring or other personal responsibilities. We also heard from organisations on how they are keen to listen and engage with members and also respond. There were reservations expressed by panel members as well the audience about the ability of organisations to change, become inclusive and ‘fleet of foot’.
In my view, one of the most important points made was the need for clinical psychology to have a collective voice and have it quickly in view of the challenges within health and social care service provision as well as the potential changes to education commissioning for clinical psychologists.
The PPN was privileged to host this event and support the discussion around representation for clinical psychology. The event provided a neutral space to enable a wider range of voices to be heard in the debate.
The PPN recognises the importance of having a strong voice for all psychological professions. The network has promoted and supported voices for groups such as psychological wellbeing practitioners who have developed an effective network across the North of England.
The event was live-streamed last night and there was a very active Twitter feed that also contributed to the discussion. Over 100 people watched it live. The recording is available via the PPN YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7f082HUaI0 - the link works best with newer browsers) for anyone who wants to hear and see more and contribute to the debate. I hope this leads to wider conversations and greater action in achieving an effective voice for clinical psychology.