Psychological skills for aspiring clinical psychologists


In this course, we aim to provide an excellent foundation in clinical psychology principles and skills, for graduates aiming to pursue this career path. We cover core elements of psychological work, relevant to people starting out or with some experience.

In Day One, we will start by considering the nature of ‘psychological approaches’ in clinical work and how they differ from other conceptualisations of distress. We will talk about the therapeutic relationship as the core of successful psychological work, and undertake some practical training around developing excellent skills in listening and relating. We will consider the typical processes of psychological work, starting with psychological assessment. We’ll discuss its purpose, what is included, and then work with practical exercises around questioning techniques.

In Day Two, we will focus at first upon formulation, with a presentation around good practice and the range of formulation possibilities, moving to small group work to develop participants’ formulation skills using case material and a demonstration by facilitators. We will then consider principles of psychological intervention across the breadth of contexts in which clinical psychologists work, and how these are evaluated.

During the training, we combine large group presentation with discussion and smaller group or pairs work. We work hard to create a safe and interactive atmosphere, in which all feel included. We are committed to maintain our ethos of good quality, practical training which will be useful and applicable going forward- in work experience, employment, and applications for further training.


The course would suit any psychology undergraduate or graduate with an interest in pursuing a career in clinical psychology, looking to develop confidence, understanding and skills relevant to the profession. It aims to provide a broad and practical foundation for ongoing training and experience, not relating to any specific therapeutic model or clinical presentation/setting.

While the concepts form the foundations of the profession, and are accessible to people with limited experience, we have found that they do remain relevant and challenging even after qualification. Hence, we feel that the course is suitable for a really broad range of people – but we also want participants (parting with hard earned money) to be clear about what we aim to offer, and what we don’t.  

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss this further or gain more information.


The course aims for participants to:-

  • consolidate their understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist, and what characterises ‘psychological approaches’ to distress in clinical work
  • consider the process of clinical work, particularly their knowledge and practice around assessment and formulation, and including core principles of intervention
  • develop practical skills in listening and questioning, and build self-awareness of one’s own communication style


These courses are similar to a ‘Core psychological Skills for Assistant Psychologists’ course run by Lancaster University Psychological Training Academy in spring 2016, which received excellent feedback. We are now able to welcome participants from a broader range of job roles and settings, who wish to learn more about clinical psychology principles and skills. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, we are no longer able to offer this as a fully funded course.

"I found it such a helpful two days, and it formed a basis for preparation for my DClinPsy interviews. I found out last week that I have been offered a place at Manchester (3rd time trying in total) and I genuinely think a huge part of my confidence in myself and answers came from the great training you and Jen provided"

"I enjoyed the training as it was really interactive, and gave me the opportunity to practically learn and develop – I will definitely be practising what I have learnt in my workplace"

"The content was really useful and informative, and directly applicable to my work"

"I wanted to thank you so much for the last two days which really helped me get a more realistic perspective of the 'real life' of mental health working in the NHS. Speaking with attendees, and hearing [the facilitators] helped consolidate some of my past learning, and gave a good indication of the personal skills, knowledge and philosophy needed"


This course is delivered over 2 days (each day running from 09:30 until 16:30) by clinical tutors from the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University who have worked extensively as clinical psychologists across a range of settings, and work hard to create a friendly and informal training environment in which to share discussion around practical application of psychological ideas.

The 2 day course costs just £150

A discount is available for bookings by Lancaster University students - to take up a discounted place please book using your university email address. Unfortunately due to budget limitations, lunch is not provided.

After participating, you will receive a certificate of attendance from the Lancaster University Psychological Training Academy.


To register you place please visit our online shop and book your dates. As places are limited we suggest booking early.