Forensic Psychology at the University of Nottingham

July 18, 2018, by Kate

Supervisor training with the Doctorate in Forensic Psychology – DForenPsy

I’m fairly certain that anyone who has worked in forensic services or in mental healthcare will testify that it can be a challenging and yet hugely rewarding field. Working as a junior (or even senior!) clinician in such an area can be a steep learning curve and can take its toll on even the most experienced of us. As such, clinical supervision has an important (many would say critical) role to play in ensuring a clinician’s practice remains up to date and robust, and that we have a support structure to protect against stress and burnout.

The University of Nottingham’s Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (DForenPsy) requires trainees to complete a number of clinical placements in a variety of settings in order to develop a breadth and depth of experience and knowledge in the field. The challenge for trainees, and the university, is to ensure that they receive good quality supervision during their placements. However, we also have a responsibility to ensure that any clinicians acting as placement supervisors are also provided with support to perform their role effectively.

Aiming to support existing and prospective supervisors, we held the now annual Supervisor Training day on 10th July 2018. Chaired by Dr Simon Duff, the day provided a number of sessions from core members of the department including Dr Shihning Chou, Dr Kate Green, Dr Vince Egan and Lydia Bullock. I was also asked to join the team in order to provide my dual perspective as someone with an honorary role at the University, but who has also (with my clinical hat) hosted and supervised a number of placement students in various services.

It was exciting to see such a cross section of attendees on the day, mixing Forensic and Clinical Psychologists from the NHS and independent sector, as well as clinicians from psychotherapy and nursing backgrounds. The day comprised a detailed look at the DForenPsy course structure and overview of trainee needs, as regards clinical placements, as well as break out sessions to outline the expectations and realities of taking the role of the ‘coordinating’ and ‘designated’ supervisor. There were also sessions from past trainees (Lydia Bullock and Dr Kate Green) to reflect on their experience of receiving supervision while juggling the competing demands of the training route, and also from myself to provide a clinician’s view of supervising doctoral students.

The training day left me reflecting on my own experiences of clinical supervision, which have (thankfully) been almost exclusively positive; for most of my career, I have been blessed with immensely talented and knowledgeable supervisors, without whom I would not have had the formative experiences that have led me to where I am today. Given the nature of the DForenPsy – specifically the development of the next generation of Forensic Psychologists – we feel that have a massive responsibility to ensure our trainees receive this same level of nurturance and support, and doing so will continue to be one of the greatest of privileges.

This post was authored by Paul Mooney, Lead Consultant Forensic Psychologist at Elysium Healthcare, Chartered Scientist & Assistant Professor

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