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The DCP Mentorship Programme

All full members of the DCP are eligible to access our mentorship programme which offers clinical psychologists mentorship to support the development of the full range of skills that psychologists can offer beyond direct therapy roles.

The programme allows clinical psychologists to engage in a formal relationship over an agreed timescale with a colleague outside of their immediate management/supervisory structures to discuss their professional development including leadership and service development issues, as well as career, personal development and learning.

The independence of the mentor, outside of the mentee’s organisation, specifically addresses the need for a space to discuss management of work politics and career aspirations with colleagues not directly involved in managing and appraising them.

Mentorship can support the development of the clinical leadership and organisational development skills which can have big impacts on teams and services, and there are resources available on the BPS website to support those particularly interested in developing leadership skills which can be used to complement the mentorship programme.

Please note: you must be fully-qualified and a full member of the DCP to take part in this programme.

Get in touch if you're interested in becoming a mentor or mentee


Outcomes of previous mentorship schemes

This current programme follows on from previous successful mentoring schemes for junior and senior psychologists.

The Clinical Psychologists as Leaders programme (CPL) was set up in 2018 and built on two previous mentoring schemes to develop a mentoring infrastructure across the career span.

CPL Project Leads Dr Jenny Taylor and Professor Helen Pote, and Research Assistant Ms Melissa Stock, found that over a thousand “unique visitors” visited the programme’s webpages, which have been viewed over 3,000 times since it’s launch, and more than two hundred people signed up as mentors or mentees.

Impact and satisfaction reported by those who engaged with the evaluation of the project was high. Satisfaction was rated as ‘extremely helpful’ or ‘very helpful’ by both mentees and mentors.

Mentees leadership skills improved significantly after mentoring (pre-post score comparison, p= .022).

Qualitative feedback provided specific examples of how mentoring improved mentees’ skills and contributed to personal and professional development for mentees and mentors in many areas, including leadership.

These outcomes built on the findings from two earlier schemes, one of which also focussed on leadership and identified and started to address barriers to leadership activity for junior psychologists in Central & East London.

The other, lead by Dr Sarajane Aris and Dr Amra Rao, focussed on psychologists in Senior positions and found impact on measures of authority and resilience, wellbeing, stress management and goal attainment as well as leadership.

The CPL project came to a close as planned at the end of 2020, and the DCP Mentorship programme will now be streamlined and updated to continue to be accessible to our members.

Programme administration and oversight

The DCP Leadership and Management (L&M) Faculty Committee will continue to oversee the programme, via a restructured Mentorship Programme Steering Group.

Previous project leads noted above, along with the project Steering Group members Dr Adrian Neal (Chair) Mr Robert Bathie (Expert by Experience Lead), and Research Assistant Melissa Stock will bring their valuable experience to the new DCP Mentorship Programme Steering Group.

Our thanks to Dr Rana Rashad who acted as Diversity Lead and is helping recruit to this position, and we welcome Dr Patrick Roycroft who is taking over as Lead for the group from Dr Aris, and Ms Melissa McRae who is taking up the position of Lead for mentoring for Pre- Qualified members.

The immediate priorities for the new Steering Group include refreshing the website, continuing to publicise the availability of this valuable programme across the career span of clinical psychologists, and evaluating and learning from the impacts and outcomes.

A survey of DCP members who self-identified as being from a minority group identified particular challenges faced by them as clinical psychologists in taking up leadership roles.

Key themes centred on the lack of senior posts, discrimination faced as member of a minority group, and political climate.We therefore plan to continue to explore ways of expanding access for BAME colleagues, as well as for Pre Qualified colleagues.

We are also looking forward to exploring ways of developing more resources to support the programme , and we are becoming a key stakeholders in the BPS initiative to expand Mentorship across the society as a key feature of membership which was a main theme from the recent review of what members want from the BPS.

Please contact Tim Cate or Kathy Nairn with any questions about the ongoing programme, particularly if you’re interested in how to become a mentor or mentee.

How to manage the mentoring relationship

It is important to use your time efficiently to get the most out of this process.

The following are key to making a mentoring relationship work:
  1. Initial Introductory ‘Getting to know you session’. This is an initial half hour phone contact to:
    - Learn more about each other
    - Set some clear overall goals for the 6 months of mentoring
    - Agree parameters and kind of contract you want to set together, eg, timings, ground rules, etc
    - Schedule your 6 monthly hour sessions into your diaries.

  2. Mentees should have a clear focus to your mentoring and plan ahead of your session. Think about the key topics that you want input on, the outcomes you’d like, and be ready with these at the start of each session. Its up to mentees to drive the topics. Examples may include; managing time and competing priorities, launching a new project, raising profile/visibility, communication issues and skills, leading a team, managing challenging work relationships and team conflict, managing skilfully in the mental health services climate, managing upwards, managing constant organisational change/cuts to services, confidence and career planning.

  3. Mentors should have all the successful facilitative listening and inquiry skills in their repertoire of therapeutic skills to enable their mentee(s) to explore the issues they bring and find their own solutions, as well as their own work experiences to draw on and share in terms of what has worked for and how they have successfully managed to overcome some of the challenges they have faced workwise. Other mentoring programmes find mentors sharing their experiences with mentees is very facilitative in enabling and helping to develop effective leadership skills.

  4. When you have your sessions, create an empowering environment – be somewhere that is quiet comfortable and conducive to your session.

It is also particularly important to use your time efficiently to get the most out of this process.

For example, you should always try to:

  • Start and end on time.

  • Use the first 5-10 minutes to check in, and recognise achievements however small, set the focus for the session.

  • Dedicate 40 minutes (approximately) to the main topics, 05 minutes to confirm, and close by agreeing actions over the next month.

  • Use the last 5-10 minutes for feedback on what has worked well/ what would be even more helpful/what they would like more of.

Ethics and conduct

As DCP members all mentors and mentees are bound by the society's Code of Ethics and Conduct, and Member Conduct Rules.

HCPC standards for practitioner psychologists also apply.

In the event of any issues or concerns regarding the programme, in the first instance please contact the Programme Core Team who can advise you further.

Data handling and privacy

The mentor data provided here is shared only with DCP members.

For more information on how we handle your data, please consult our Privacy Policy.

About the RISE programme

The NHS long term plan aims to create a sustainable workforce and leadership that is representative of the diversity of communities it serves.

In addition to taking action to address equality and inclusion in psychological professions training, one of its goals is to develop leadership coaching and mentoring opportunities to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic psychological professionals to reach their full potential.

It has allocated funds to deliver leadership coaching and mentoring opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic psychological professionals who aspire to leadership positions, as these are currently disadvantaged in progression to NHS leadership positions.

The RISE Mentoring Project is set up for diverse leadership is set up to deliver on the above ambition. NHS Trusts and other providers of NHS commissioned healthcare were invited to identify suitably qualified staff members (bands 5 to 8a).

The scheme was advertised to all professional bodies representing Psychological Professionals, and to NHS Trusts for expressions of interest to develop a cohort of experienced professionals to offer mentoring and set out training and peer support. The mentoring project started in March 2021 with a framework for evaluation to monitor impact.

Project Partners:
  • ACP - Association of Child Psychotherapist,
  • ACP-UK - Assocoation of Clinical Psychologists
  • BPS - The British Psychological Society
  • BABCP - British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies
  • BACP - The British Association For Counselling And Psychotherapy
  • BPC - British Psychoanalytic Council
Aim of the programme

The aim of this programme is to have one portal for mentoring, across their career span, across professional groups and across the UK, through which they can access mentoring resources.

Here you'll find a variety of links with other resources collated by other professional bodies alongside feedback from mentors and resources developed by the RISE progarmme.

What’s available to me through RISE right now?
  • Mentoring from RISE Mentors
  • Self-directed learning activities that can be completed in an hour or less
  • List of upcoming RISE events
  • Reading materials and webpages related to leadership
  • Links to NHS-specific leadership resources, including courses on leadership and development relevant to clinical psychologists

All mentees are asked to complete a mentee information form to be used with potential mentors to discuss their specific needs.

Mentees contact potential mentors from the national list directly and select one who they would like to work with.

The mentor and mentee agree together on the total number of mentoring hours to be provided and the dates and times of the mentoring sessions.

Mentors available through the national list are expecting to provide up to 12 hours of mentoring.

Providers and mentees can seek to negotiate fewer mentoring hours with a mentor on the national list, but should be aware that some mentors may be unable to offer this.

The following criteria is place for psychological professionals seeking mentoring:

  • of a Minority Ethnicity
  • a qualified psychological professional
  • employed on a minimum of one year’s contract with the employing Trust
  • work within a psychological professions role

Reading and resources


We have been sent the following principles around psychological services, deployment of psychologists and maintaining training programmes that NHSE are currently using.

We know that these issues are causing great concern around the country so wanted to share the information as soon as we can.

Keeping psychological services and psychological therapies services open through the immediate crisis

  1. Psychological and psychological therapy services are essential services that save lives

  2. Although difficult prioritisation decisions may be necessary, there should be no premature moves to redeploy of staff from these services or to shut them down

  3. Where redeployment becomes unavoidable in order to staff other parts of the system, this should be managed to minimise disruption to psychological therapy and intervention already underway

  4. Where there is a drop off in immediate demand for some services, thought should be given to the best use of the practitioners' skills if temporarily redeployed, for example psychological professionals may be asked to switch focus to staffing help lines or supporting NHS staff

  5. Leaders may be tempted to redeploy psychological professionals into roles seen as more 'front line'. This temptation should be weighed against the immediate and later lack of capacity to support and treat vulnerable patients, including those at risk of suicide, self-harm, neglect and abuse. These patients are seen in all parts of the mental health system including IAPT. It is also important to remember that senior leaders will be needed to be maintained in role to help plan and deliver the right psychological response now and into the future

  6. Psychological professionals are NHS key workers for the purposes of receiving special services such as access to schooling for their children

Maintaining psychological professions training programmes

  1. It is very important that psychological professions training programmes keep going through the pandemic period, so that trainees graduate and enter the workforce as soon as feasible. They will be needed to ensure capacity to support a likely surge in need into next year

  2. Psychological professional trainings can be delivered through remote means with the same level of live interaction with trainers. We are working with course accrediting bodies to enable flexibility in the mode of recruitment, delivery and assessment, whilst ensuring trainees become competent practitioners

  3. Planned expansion of training programmes programmes should continue in order to maximise workforce capacity into next year and beyond. Where prioritisation decisions are needed, training programmes that expand the workforce should be prioritised.

Visit the BPS resource hub for more information and support regarding Covid-19.

NHS Leadership resources

  • The NHS Explained

    The NHS is a source of British national pride placed above the BBC, the British Olympic team, and the Royal Family. It affects the lives of millions of people.

    But have you ever wondered how many people it takes to keep a nation healthy? Or how much money it costs to run the NHS? Or why hospital waiting times are always in the headlines?

    This course will help you understand what keeps the fifth largest employer in the world running. You’ll explore the challenges facing the system, and how to ensure the NHS is fit for the future.

  • The NHS Leadership Academy

    The NHS Leadership Academy is an online resource for all NHS employees, with a range of information, assessment tools and online courses, aimed at all levels of seniority and across professions.

    The Academy also runs a range of online leadership courses. The entry level course is called the Edward Jenner programme and is free to carry out and can be carried out in your own time.

  • NHS Improvement: Create a culture and leadership programme

    A healthcare organisation’s culture – ‘the way we do things around here’ – shapes the behaviour of everyone in the organisation and so affects the quality of care that together they provide.

    Phase 1 will help you diagnose your current culture using existing data, board, staff and stakeholder perceptions and knowledge, and workforce analysis.

    You will then be ready to target the right areas for your compassionate and inclusive leadership strategy.

  • The NHS Healthcare Leadership Model

    The Leadership uses a nine-dimensional Healthcare Leadership Model as the basis for understanding leadership behaviour.

    Carry out a free self-assessment of your leadership strengths and development areas and receive a written report.

Self-directed learning

The below are links to self-directed learning sessions, designed to be accessed in anything between 10 minutes and an hour during the working day.

The sessions were originally designed to support the development of pre-Consultant band clinical psychologists, but may be useful for others at any stage of career development.

To use these sessions as part of a self-directed learning programme we recommend that you schedule a time in your diary once a month to complete each of the below, and also make time to than discuss what you’ve learned and it's implications with a colleague, supervisor, or mentor.

Self-directed learning sessions

Understanding the NHS and commissioning structures

Getting your head round how the NHS is managed and commissioned, and how all the bodies around it fit together, is not something you are expected to find easy.

It's incredibly complex, and continually changing, and many people in senior positions struggle to navigate the various structures.

So don't feel foolish asking questions if people use terms you don't understand - it shows you're interested. And you should be interested, as it's your money (in taxes), your health (you are a consumer too), as well as for the majority of us, our employer.

So your first development opportunity is to watch this excellent short animation from the Kings Fund from 2017, and try to work out anything that wasn’t clear with a colleagues, line manager, supervisor, or mentor.

Getting to know your NHS Trust

If you had a go at the previous development opportunity, Understanding the NHS, you'll have a better idea by now of how NHS Trusts fit into the broader context.

The next bit of context it's worth getting to grips with, if you are working in an NHS service, is your Trust itself.

For example, do you know who the Chief Executive of your Trust is, or who the other members of the Board are? Do you know what their backgrounds or interests are? How about your Trust's overall budget or total number of staff, or how it fared in it's last inspection?

Much of this information will be available on your own Trust's website, so give yourself some time to have a look around in your lunch break - it's a legitimate use of Trust resources and will help you get a sense of what might be motivating those at the top, what they are having to consider, and therefore what opportunities they might be interested in for service development.

We can't link to that information for you from here, as each Trust website is different, but most have a section along the lines of 'Who are we', or 'The Board' that is fairly easy to find and which will usually have photos and blogs of the Board members.

You should also be able to find the date of your next Trust Board meeting held in public, which you might want to consider attending at least as a one-off, both to get a better sense of what's on the agenda where you are, but also to see how these processes work in action.

If you can't easily see when that is on your internal website, and you can also externally google the name of your Trust and 'Board Meeting' and that will usually get you there as well.  If you're interested in attending this, it would be a good idea  to have a look at the papers of the previous meeting (which should also be publicly available online), and maybe discuss them with your supervisor or line manager, to try to get a grip on what's going on before you go along.. 

Finally, in terms of inspections, you can go directly to the Care Quality Commission's website and look up your Trust's facilities to see if there have been recent reviews.

Understanding the quality improvement agenda

This next Development Opportunity is ‘Learning More about QI’ – QI being the acronym for Quality Improvement, a hot topic in healthcare over recent years, and an area to which your organisation is likely to have given considerable thought.

The good news is that the skills used to think about creating change in systems, creating plans to try to do so, monitoring those plans to see whether those changes work or not, and if they do working out how to sustain them, overlap hugely with your highly developed skills as applied human scientists, so this should be a breeze.. 

A good start would be to have a look at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s website and watch their 8 minute video about QI so that you can understand the terminology used better, and get a sense of what's meant when talking about QI in healthcare systems.

Although the video focusses on healthcare generally rather than mental healthcare, the same principles of systems change are being discussed and applied in mental healthcare settings, and many Trusts and other organisations have a current 'Quality Improvement Strategy', and/or actively provide support for individuals within the organisation to embark on their own small-scale 'Quality Improvement Projects'.  

Examples from real mental health Trust strategies and projects have included aims such as:

  • Reduction in the number of violent incidents on an inpatient ward

  • Reduction in DNAs

  • Carers reporting that they felt appropriate involved in the care or treatment planning for their loved one.

The NHS Improvement website is a central information hub around improvement.

After you've got an idea of what's meant by QI, have a think about whether there is something you would be interested in trying to improve in your area/organisation, or if you work in the NHS you may want to put together a proposal to take to your manager or the QI lead for your Trust (check your Trust's website to see if there is one).

If you have a mentor, discuss the idea with them and think about whether to/how to put it into practice over the year ahead. Be part of showing that clinical psychologists bring more than therapy delivery to the organisations they work in.

Taking a lead in thinking about the well-being of the psychological work-force

Over the last few years there has been increasing interest in leadership and psychology in the issue of looking after the psychological workforce, including looking after ourselves, in order to have sustainable services that are actually able to provide effective help to others.

The 2016 "New Savoy Conference on Psychological Therapies in the NHS" launched a Charter for Psychological Staff Wellbeing and Resilience, to which NHS Trusts were invited to sign up, and this year's conference again has many work streams focussing on this issue.

Reading materials:

So after that light reading, here are some ideas for a development opportunity:

Find out whether your organisation is aware of the charter and has signed up already, and if not whether it would be interested in doing so, or if you already lead an organisation think about whether you should be signed up. 

Most large organisations collect and publish staff survey data – how is yours doing in relation to staff well-being, and what is its action plan to do better?

Could you propose/lead on an initiative around staff well-being using the evidence from your reading to back up your proposal?

What could you do more of (or less of!) in order to look after your psychological well-being and that of any staff for whom you are responsible? Discuss with a colleague, supervisor or mentor.

If charity begins at home, then psychological well-being may well begin in your workplace.

Getting involved with your professional body

The British Psychological Society is your professional body, the same way that the Royal Colleges are the professional bodies for medical doctors.

Professional bodies differ from regulatory bodies such as the GMC or HCPC, as the regulatory bodies are not there to support or serve the interests of professionals, the regulatory bodies are there (appropriately) to protect the public from the professionals. So you are not “a member of the HCPC”, the HCPC are the body that is there to police you and your work.

The BPS is the professional body for all psychologists, both those who work in academic psychology and this who practice as applied psychologists. The BPS has Divisions, each of which represents a particular group of applied psychologists, in the same way as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has a number of Colleges (e.g the Royal College of Paediatricians), each of which represents a different group of medical doctors.  The Division of Clinical Psychology is therefore your equivalent of the Royal College of Psychiatry.

Being a member - that is being involved!

Ever felt frustrated that the RCPsych has a higher profile than the DCP?  Both organisations are member organisations - they are not externally funded or externally run, they are formed of the members, and resourced by the members. So if you want your professional body to have more clout, then increase its numbers and funding by the minimal step of making sure you are a member and encouraging colleagues to join (membership fees are what pay for the work the BPS and DCP undertake, including this CPL programme - the BPS is not government funded).

You are eligible to be a Chartered Member by virtue of being a qualified clinical psychologist.

Simply being a member increases what the DCP will be able to do on behalf of your profession, but in addition it gives you access to a range of subsidised CPD events, online journals, policy documents, updates on professional issues etc.  To join the DCP you need to also be a member of the BPS, as the BPS is the parent organisation and many of the shared assets (like the building we have in London, and the staff) are owned communally for all the Divisions by the BPS.

Find out more about the benefits of being a member of the BPS.

Being an elected official of a DCP Faculty Committee

Want to shape how the profession develops, how we are seen externally, and be the voice of your profession? Think the DCP could do better?  Then come and have a go at shaping things by putting yourself forward for a position on a DCP Faculty committee

 The BPS has employed staff, such as administrators and accountants and publicity people, who are employed using the money we all put in by being members, and then it also has elected committee members, people like you or I, who guide the direction of travel (a bit like civil servants vs MPs).

There are committee members, at BPS, DCP, Regional and Faculty level and the DCP has a number of specialist Faculties within it, which are a good starting point for involvement in professional issues.

As a DCP Faculty Committee member you are likely to be the first to hear about policy issues, you get to help plan the subsidised CPD for your speciality, and experience a range of other leadership challenges.

Being a Faculty committee member usually takes 4-6 days per year, and will ideally be agreed by your manager as part of your CPD, as it is something that also allows you to bring back to your service the latest issues from that speciality.

Find out more about the DCP faculties.

Regional Branches

Regional Branches also have committee members to shape and guide psychology in defined regions, this might be ideal if you want an overview of Clinical Psychology in your area and all the specialities and ideas within it.

Branches exist for you to meet up and exchange ideas with others in your local geographical area, and whenever someone joins the DCP they are automatically added  to the Regional Branch based on where they live - this doesn't incur an additional fee.

The Regional Branch might provide training, talks and events (often connected with local universities and services) or more informal meetings to share this knowledge, as well as calls for consultation on local policies and national policies.

Find out more about the DCP regional branches.

Contribute to policy

At any time, the BPS will have various policy documents that it has been sent to comment on, where it is looking for people to read those documents and provide views from the perspective of someone delivering psychological services to that group, or someone who has done research in that area.

Initially you will usually be asked to be a contributing author, which means you read the document and send in your thoughts about it to the person who has been identified as the lead author, and she/he has the tricky task of collating those ideas into a BPS response.

This is a great way to make sure you actually read some policy documents in a thorough and thoughtful way, and can help get you noticed and invited to take part in other policy discussions or to eventually take the lead on policy responses. For more contact the [email protected] or phone 0116 252 9936.

Be one of the public voices of psychology

Working with the media can bring personal benefits for psychologists and benefit the profession as a whole.

Benefits for psychology include promoting the profession, increasing public understanding of psychology and attracting more young people to study the subject.

Personal benefits include:

  • Encouraging public interest in your work
  • Building your reputation as a good researcher or practitioner, and as a good communicator
  • Bringing your work to the notice of other professionals
  • Attracting future funding for your research

If you're a BPS member and would like to be added to our media database, please email us.