UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology


Trainee Development and Support

This section provides information about a range of areas relevant to trainees' personal and professional development during their time on the course.

Trainees' Tutors and Trainee Support Systems

Support systems for trainees

While training is usually an exciting and stimulating experience, it can also be challenging and sometimes stressful. It is not at all unusual for trainees to go through periods when they feel overwhelmed or upset. Making a judgment about when to seek support is not always easy; especially because these periods of stress can be fairly transient, and in some ways learning to manage them is part of the learning process. Equally, even mental health professionals can be reluctant to seek help because they somehow feel that they should be able to cope by themselves, even when they know that they are finding this a challenge.

Course Tutors: Every trainee has an assigned Course Tutor whose role is to provide support and aid with personal professional development. The trainee should always contact their tutor in the first instance if they have any support needs.

Support schemes: In addition to the tutor, who should generally be trainees' first point of call when in need of support, there are support systems for trainees. These include a general personal advisor scheme that all trainees are encouraged to use, plus these more specific support schemes:

· Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Support Scheme

· Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Support Scheme

· Parents and Carers support Scheme

Full information about trainee support can be found in Section 32 of the Handbook: Sources of Personal and Professional Support.

Developmental Reviews

Every trainee at UCL has an annual developmental review with their course tutor. The Review should be seen as the culmination of other tutor meetings throughout the year.

The Developmental Review is an opportunity for trainee and tutor to review the previous 12 months to identify what has gone well and any areas that have been more difficult. The review should aim to identify the opportunities for the forthcoming year and anticipated challenges. The review is also an opportunity to identify any problems for that trainee that might interfere with their clinical training and to see what might be done to relieve these.

Guidance on the Developmental Review

Developmental Review Form

Personal & Professional Development

The course aims in all its activities to create conditions that support personal development, and offer support systems designed to ameliorate stress. This page provides information about the course's policy in relation to trainee's personal and professional development.

Course Support for raising concerns about professional practice

Support for trainees raising concerns about professional practice: Raising concerns about professional practice can be challenging, even where the concerns are serious and substantiated. The programme is committed to supporting trainees who find themselves in this position: Course policy and procedure can be read here.

If you have any queries about support for trainees, please contact your Course Tutor.

Writing Skills

There are two reasons why trainees might seek to improve their writing skills:

(a) because they themselves  have concerns about their writing skills, or

(b) because concerns about the quality of written work have been raised by course staff or placement supervisors, and the trainee has been asked to develop an action plan to remedy these concerns.

Trainees need to ensure that their written communication skills in English are commensurate with Doctoral Level training. While many of us assume that academic writing is something we should simply know how to do, writing for academic purposes is distinct from writing for many other purposes and is a skill that needs to and can be learnt, and continuously improved upon. We advise all trainees to familiarise themselves with some straightforward guidelines on academic/scientific writing for psychology, and to check assignments against these. Useful guidelines are available at this weblink.

Trainees who have been asked to develop an action plan will usually need to access a combination of resources, tailored to their learning needs. The resources below may prove useful in developing writing skills:


There are a number of books that set out the rules of English grammar in a way that is very accessible – a good example is Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage.

We highly recommend Rob Kail's (2015) excellent, concise book "Scientific writing for psychology: Lessons in clarity and style".

Online resources for improving grammar

A very helpful guide to grammar can be accessed at www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar

A more extensive site is Purdue’s ‘online writing lab’: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl

This includes an excellent overview of the basics of grammar, punctuation and spelling, along with more detailed sections on specific topics (for example, a section on the correct use of commas).

Online resources for developing academic writing

A wide range of resources on academic writing is available via Moodle (once logged in these can be accessed via the ‘Personal & Professional Development’ menu).

Individual tutoring

The Graduate School Skills Development Programme website contains details of both one-to-one tutorials and one-day to three-day writing workshops specifically designed for postgraduate students whose first language is not English. You can also look at the full course list at: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/. All courses listed are free to all our trainees as post-graduate students.

UCL Graduate School courses

UCL's graduate school offers a wide range of courses  designed to help graduate students develop their academic, research and vocational skills. Information about courses is emailed to all students on a regular basis. You can also look at the full course list at: http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/. All courses listed are free to all our trainees as post-graduate students.

In view of teaching and placement demands attendance may need to be negotiated- trainees are not permitted to absent themselves from DClinPsy teaching to attend any training courses external to the DClinPsy.