Department of Psychology


What is clinical psychology?

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has useful information about the general principles of clinical psychology

Continuing Professional Development

Hands holding a family

We also offer a Foundation and Intermediate Course in Systemic Theory and Practice.

About the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Course ethos

The Bath course aims to recruit trainees who are committed both to the core principles of Clinical Psychology and the principle of practising within an NHS setting. Trainees will be academically able and interpersonally sensitive individuals capable of flexibility in the application of their thinking, understanding and experience to the practice of Clinical Psychology.

The Bath course is committed to an evidence based and empirically grounded ethos, whilst at the same time encouraging qualities such as reflection, creativity, innovation, collaboration, and leadership. We also recognise that Clinical Psychology relates in a reciprocal way to wider organisational, social and cultural contexts. Our graduates will develop the ability to form meaningful and productive connections with a wide range of vulnerable people and to always act in their best interests. The willingness and capacity to develop and manage these connections in clinical, research and other roles is crucially dependent, amongst other things, on important personal qualities, values and beliefs that we expect trainees to bring to training and develop further.

The aim of the course is to encourage the development of highly capable ‘scientist practitioners’. It emphasises a clear understanding of how psychological theory can be applied to practice (and vice versa) through paying close attention to the processes, strategies and techniques in the work of Clinical Psychology. An explicit feature of this approach is the recognition that excellent practitioners will be able to skilfully integrate the scientific basis of Clinical Psychology (‘clinical science’) with reflective practice and personally / socially / culturally adapted approaches (‘clinical art’). This type of development requires a thoughtful and collaborative relationship between trainees, course staff and placement supervisors.

Learning, teaching and training is largely ‘research led’. In clinical practice this will mean a primary focus on approaches that draw on cognitive, systemic, behavioural, mentalisation, interpersonal and other models where there is demonstrable or emerging evidence of their clinical effectiveness. Trainees will not only become skilled in the use of evidence-based approaches but will also contribute to the evidence base.

The training provided by the course draws upon a wide range of theory, not only in relation to psychological difficulties and wellbeing, but also, for example, in areas such as social and developmental psychology, to encourage a consideration of both context and lifespan development. Thus the emphasis in assessment and therapy will be person-centred in the broad sense, with an active recognition of these wider factors in the development, maintenance, amelioration and resolution of psychological and psychosocial difficulties.

In addition to, and within, the core areas of training (adults of working age; children and adolescents; older adults; learning disabilities) and research on the course, trainees will be offered the opportunity to develop a range of special interests. The course places a particular focus on Clinical Health Psychology, in which the majority of trainees complete a specialist placement. Trainees will also gain BABCP accreditation (Level 2) on completion of the course and AFT accreditation in Systemic Family Therapy at Foundation and Intermediate level has also been awarded to the programme and is available to trainees.

Finally, the course and this ethos are not fixed, and we invite those who participate (including course staff, trainees, supervisors, teachers and people with personal experience of psychological interventions) to reflect on, collaborate in, and contribute to its ongoing evolution – with the aim of maintaining it at the forefront of training and development opportunities within our field.