British Psychological Society
Replies to the questionnaire on psychologists and clinical psychologists
This Document is a courtesy of the Commission of the European Communities, DGXV.
Its reference number is XV/E/58459/95-EN - Orig.: EN
A. Structure of the Profession
Psychology and the specialism of clinical psychology is a well established science based profession within the United Kingdom. Over 2,000 clinical psychologists are employed within the National Health Service. All clinical psychologist are given at least some training in the use of psychotherapy, which consists of a loosely defined set of therapeutic techniques and skills which all involve talking with people with problems, rather than the use of drugs. Clinical psychology training covers a far wider range of skills and techniques than those which would be defined as psychotherapy, but some clinical psychologists will specialise in psychotherapy as a post qualification specialism (others will develop specialism in other areas, e.g. clinical neuropsychology). Medical practitioners, especially psychiatrists, will also often use psychotherapy in their practice.
It can be argued that psychotherapy is not really a separate profession in its own right, but a collection of diverse, therapeutic techniques and skills. However, unlike the situation in some continental European countries in which only members of a core profession, such as psychology or medicine, are permitted to offer psychotherapy, in the United Kingdom, psychotherapy is also offered by lay practitioners (i.e. people who are not first trained in either psychology or medicine). In this sense, psychotherapy may be defined as a profession in its own right within the United Kingdom.
It is important to stress that in the United Kingdom the routine work of clinical psychologists does not focus on psychotherapy which members of other professions practice as well. Instead it involves delivering other specialist clinical psychology services which only clinical psychologist are trained and competent to provide. When offering such services clinical psychologists have full clinical responsibility for their actions with patients (or clients) who are referred to them directly. This autonomous role of clinical psychologist as fully responsible, independent professional practitioners is often difficult for some clinical psychologist from abroad to appreciate. In certain other European countries clinical psychology does not have this independent professional status, clinical psychologist assist some other profession such as medicine. Therefore, in our judgement as the "Competent Authority", we are trying to assess the extent to which the migrant bas been trained to practice independently and indee
In terms of Directive 89/48/EEC, psychology is defined as a regulated profession in the United Kingdom.
Psychology and the specialism of clinical psychology are regulated on the same basis as many professions within the United Kingdom that is by a professional body with a Royal Charter, The British Psychological Society. Membership of The British Psychological Society is not required by law, but only appropriated qualified psychologist who are admitted to the Register maintained by The British Psychological Society, are permitted to describe themselves as 'Chartered Psychologists' or to use specialist variants the title, such as 'Chartered Clinical Psychologist' or Chartered Educational Psychologist'. It is thus, the title of the profession that is regulated, not the activities of psychologists. Many public sector employers have adopted regulations for registration base as a Chartered psychologist. Therefore, it is difficult (but not impossible) to obtain a post as a clinical psychologist within the National Health Service without being registered as a Chartered Psychologist. Similarly, most prison psycho
The British Psychological Society is an examining body. It now offers a Doctorate degree in clinical psychology which is validated under The Royal Charter of The Open University. A copy of the syllabus and regulations of this qualification in clinical psychology is attached, as it defines the content of clinical psychology in the United Kingdom. The Society also offers postgraduate examinations in occupational psychology, educational psychology, counselling psychology and the psychology of teaching. It also accredits comparable university-based training courses in all these fields and in the area of forensic Psychology that is, criminological and legal psychology. The attached article on Criteria for Registration as a Chartered Psychologist sets out in full the various routes to registration as a Chartered Psychologist, including the academic route based on possession of a Doctorate degree by research (the PhD or D.Phil). Many Chartered Psychologists, especially Chartered Clinical Psychologists and Chartered Counselling Psychologists practice psychotherapy, but training in psychology is typically broader covering psychotherapy in addition to other clinical and counselling psychology skills.
Psychology and the specialism of clinical psychology is an independent science-based profession with direct referrals of clients (patients) to psychologists either by the clients themselves or by other Professionals which often include medical practitioners and psychiatrists. Within the National Health Service, clinical psychologists work alongside psychiatrists as equal partners in multi-disciplinary teams. When referrals are made by a medical practitioner, this is as one professional to another. The clinical psychologist becomes responsible for the case, the doctor does not retain responsibility. This differs from the practice in several other European countries where apparently the medical practitioner will continue to oversee the treatment. UK standards for training and practice of the profession have to ensure that psychologists understand and can take this greater level of responsibility than is expected of clinical psychologists trained in other European countries.
As explained above, The British Psychological Society is the body which represents the profession of psychology in the United Kingdom.
The British Psychological Society is the competent authority for the profession (Directive 89/48/EEC)
B. Structure of Education and Training
The formal requirement for registration in the Statutes accompanying The Royal Charter of The British Psychological Society is as follows (Statute 12 (3):
'To be included in the Register of Chartered Psychologists an applicant shall be a member of the Society and shall both:
(a) (i) have passed a Qualifying Examination set by the Society, or (ii) have obtained a first degree conferred by a University or the Council for National Academy Awards for which psychology has been taken as a main subject and which is regarded by the Council as covering the general areas of psychology al least as broadly as required by the Qualifying Examination referred to in (i) above, and to the same standard; or (iii) for graduates not covered under (i) and (ii) above, have such further experience or postgraduate qualifications in psychology has shall assure the Council that the applicant has at least as broad a grasp of the general areas of psychology as that required by the Qualifying Examination referred to in (i) above and to the same standard; and
(b) since the date of passing the Qualifying Examination or from the first date of becoming eligible for exemption from it under (a) (ii) or (a) (iii) above shall have successfully completed a period of study of, or practice in, psychology, or a combination of both, acceptable to the Council and shall be judged by the Council to have reached a standard sufficient for professional practice in psychology withouth supervision, the relevant period being of three years duration if full time or such greater period as the Council may stipulate.
Candidates for registration who have the qualifications referred to in (a) (i), (a) (ii) or (a) (iii) above may be referred to as having the "Graduate Basis for Registration." In practice, the Society recognises first degrees only if they are at Honours level. The enclosed document on Criteria for Registration as Chartered Psychologists sets out in full how this general requirement for registration as a Chartered Psychologist can be met in the various specialist fields of psychology.
Registration as a Chartered Psychologist requires at least three years of postgraduate training and experience (see Statute 12 (3)), which must follow a first qualification in psychology which gives The Graduate Basis for Registration. This initial qualification is usually a Bachelors degree of three or four years in length. Therefore, registration as a Chartered Psychologist normally takes a minimum of six years of post-school study and may take as long as nine years for some people.
Copies of the examination regulations are enclosed for the Postgraduate Diplomas and Degree Qualifications available from The British Psychological Society. Also enclosed is a copy of the Regulations and Syllabus for the Qualifying Examinations. As an alternative to undertaking in-service, postgraduate training and sitting one of the Society's postgraduate qualifications, it is also possible to obtain an equivalent qualification by undertaking an approved postgraduate degree course at a university. These courses are approved as recognised training in, for instance, educational psychology, clinical psychology, etc. by The British Psychological Society, following review and accreditation by one of several BPS specialist training committees. The article on Registration as Chartered Psychologist explains in detail how it is possible to qualify as a Chartered Psychologist in each of the specialist areas of the profession of psychology.