In focus
BPS updates

DCP In Focus: April 2024

Welcome to the March/April edition, with your round-up of news relevant to the DCP and clinical psychology.

01 May 2024

We welcome Kalpita Kunde as our new chair - she took over from Roman Raczka in March. We are pleased that Roman is able to stay on as vice-chair, even though his term as BPS President begins in July.

- Julia Faulconbridge, DCP communications and publications lead


Conference update

You may already have seen our very sad message that the DCP Conference 2024 has had to be cancelled, and we wanted to let you know a bit more about that and think with you about what might be a successful DCP conference offer for the future.

The conference committee had designed a conference in line with what we understood to be the asks and current interests of yourselves, our members, but with only two months to go we simply did not have sufficient sign up from members to make the conference viable for attendees, since networking was a core aim and we also had concerns about its financial viability. While we may have had a flurry of applications in the remaining two months, the financial risk of waiting to see was judged too great by the DCP executive.

We want to acknowledge the passion, creativity and hard work the conference committee, our BPS colleagues and our speakers put into developing this innovative offer, but we also appreciate that the cancellation requires us to pause, take stock, and explore with you what you need and want from a  DCP conference. 

We would hope to do that in an appreciative way and to use this reset to look at what we can learn from the past and what you need and want from us for the future and this will form the first task of the new conference subcommittee.

We very much want the conference committee to be inclusive and representative of members so please consider joining the committee and influencing the direction of travel by watching out for our communications that will be coming out soon.

Upcoming events

A webinar on 'Understanding Depression: The bigger picture' is taking place on 9 May.

Our Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities is holding its advancing practice conference from 13-14 May.

A Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families event on working in CAMHS is being held on 13 May.

DCP London is hosting an early career event on 17 May.

Join Kino Bino at Phoenix in Leicester for its Hoarding Awareness Week event and crowdfund launch for 'Of all the things' on 16 May. If you're interested in attending this event, please contact the BPS communications team.

You can watch recordings of the University of Santo Tomas Environment Psychology International Conference, held in March, through its website.

Looking back at 2023

Earlier this year we published our Review of the Year, looking back at all of the DCP's achievements from 2023.

You can read the full version on our website, but we've picked out some highlights below.

Workforce and training sub-committee

This group has lobbied for an increase in training commissions - there has been a steady increase over the last few years, and for 2023-2024 numbers in Scotland have increased to 85 (a 49 per cent increase since 2016-2017), in England to 1,080 (a 105 per cent increase since 2016-2017), in Wales to 42 (a six per cent increase since 2016-2017), and in Northern Ireland have remained at 21 (a 52 per cent increase since 2016–2017). The DCP, with the wider BPS, has led in the lobbying for the development of national psychological professions advisors in each of the home nations.

Public health and prevention sub-committee

This group has been working with Professor Jim McManus, the director of Public Health Wales and a BPS member, to explore the contribution of psychology across public health.

Power, Threat Meaning Framework sub-committee

The PTMF sub-committee has been involved in numerous national and international events to discuss PTMF. It is the most downloaded work in the history of BPS and translated into many languages.

DCP Scotland

Has contributed to numerous Scottish government consultations, as well as holding quarterly meetings on Scottish policy issues with colleagues from the BPS Scotland Branch and the other Scottish divisions.

DCP Wales

Has been working with Royal College Mental Health Expert Advisory Group for Wales, has responded to consultations on Welsh government policy, and will be involved in the review of the Welsh five-year strategy for mental health.

DCP Northern Ireland

Has focused on lobbying for a chief psychological officer, and there is now agreement  for the post to proceed. DCP NI continues to actively raise the needs and benefits of such a post, including the need for focused workforce planning for psychological practitioners.

Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families

The faculty has continued to impact on policy and strategy through many different forums, including attendance at APPGs (All-Party Parliamentary Groups), inputting into the 0-5s programme of work for NHSE, and to the 'Children's social care: stable homes, built on love' consultation.

Faculty for Clinical Health Psychology

The faculty continues to represent the BPS on the Community Rehabilitation Alliance, an alliance of 24 charities and organisations focused on resourcing and transforming community rehabilitation provision. This partnership has, over the last 12 months, led to wide stakeholder group endorsement of new BPS stroke workforce planning and clinical guidance, facilitated through CRA membership.

Faculty for Eating Disorders

The faculty continues to have representation on a variety of national forums and workstreams, including the Quality in Eating Disorders Group, the British Eating Disorders Society, and the National All-Age Clinical Reference Group for Eating Disorders.

Faculty for HIV and Sexual Health

Has co-facilitated a project with the England Infected Blood Support Scheme, with an information document for psychology and wellbeing teams in primary care developed.

Faculty for Oncology and Palliative Care

Has been supporting Macmillan with its investment in pump-priming new psycho-oncology services around the UK, and has collaborated with the NHS England Cancer Programme and the ACCEND programme to promote new standards for level two training in psychological skills for cancer healthcare professionals.

Faculty for Perinatal Psychology

The faculty has supported the development of two key primary care documents for NHS Talking Therapies (formerly IAPT) – the Perinatal Mental Health Competency Framework and an update to the Perinatal Positive Practice Guidance.

Faculty for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Has developed a response to the TW v. Middlesbrough judgement, which has now been published on the BPS website.

Faculty for Addictions

Has been working with OHID and NHSE to map addictions placement availability in DClinPsy courses, and is working to engage each course in developing further placements where there are gaps.

Faculty for the Psychology of Older People

The faculty attends the NHSEI Expert Advisory Group for Older People Mental Health and Dementia, and works with NHS England colleagues to raise awareness e.g. working with NHS England Autism team on an OA and autism webinar.

Examples of cross-BPS work carried out by the DCP in 2023

We helped to produced 'Guidance for employing psychology practitioners in physical healthcare settings', which will be published by the BPS this year.

The DCP also led a BPS Practice Board group to produce job planning guidance for practitioner psychologists in the NHS and social care.

The DCP convened a symposium on careers in clinical psychology at the BPS Careers Festival in November, which provided a great platform for sharing information about careers with a focus on the varied journeys into clinical psychology and that the people who follow these paths enrich the workforce and contribute to our inclusiveness and diversity.

We support the BPS's EDI work via our EDI lead and sub-committee, and support the BPS Climate and Environment Action Coordinating Group through the DCP Climate and Environment Action Group.


Media and campaigns

The DCP works closely with the BPS media team both to support them in responding to requests for interviews and comments, and in suggesting topics to generate media interest.

Clinical psychologists have been involved in local and national radio, TV and newspaper interviews to a greater extent than ever before, discussing topics including poverty, universal credit, the confidentiality of therapy notes in rape and serious sexual assault cases, and the health impacts of loneliness.

Work with the media team goes hand-in- hand with our work with the public affairs team. Again, this has been a two-way process, with the DCP supporting BPS-led initiatives and the team supporting us with issues we are concerned about.

The BPS campaign to protect the future of the NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs has been the central campaigning activity for the year.

The DCP, particularly our workforce and training lead Tony Lavender, and chair Roman Raczka, have been working with the BPS communications and public affairs team, alongside our colleagues at ACP-UK, to fight for the future of the hubs after their government funding ended on 31 March 2023


Establishing an Environmental Psychology Section

Ryan Kemp, the DCP sustainability lead, asks all DCP members to support the establishment of an Environmental Psychology Section in the BPS. Recently the BPS Board of Trustees voted to lift the suspension on establishing new member networks and accepted a proposal to form an Environmental Psychology Section.

You won't need to join (although you can if you want), but just support the vote on creating this section. This will allow the climate change work in the BPS to go to the next level. DCP members, particularly Tony Wainwright and Roger Paxton have been instrumental in championing this development.

There needs at least one percent of all BPS members confirm their desire to become members of the Environmental Psychology Section. Voting yes doesn't commit you, it is just an intention. You can make your final decision later. 

Members can do this via the society's election voting process, where they will also vote for the new BPS President-Elect and Elected Trustee, which is open now. You should have received an email from the society's elections partner Mi-Voice with details on how to vote

New documents on physical healthcare

Two new documents on physical healthcare have now been published - the first is a guide for those commissioning or employing practitioner psychologists to deliver services to people with acute physical health concerns, injuries, or long-term conditions in healthcare settings.

The guidance is also for practitioner psychologists working within clinical health psychology services, in the above contexts.

The second document is a survey to help identify commissioning, workforce, governance, and training issues.

Clinical psychologists' experiences of therapy vs. coaching

Researchers are looking for participants for a study to further our understanding of boundaries between therapy and coaching.

We are looking for clinical or counselling psychologists exclusively in private practice who provide both therapy and coaching with three or more years' experience in both fields.

We will conduct semi-structured interviews of up to 60 minutes via Zoom. The data will be collected during May and June.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Dr Laura Rees-Davies or Dr Jana Jenkins.

Voting open for President-Elect and Elected Trustee

Voting has now opened for the roles of BPS President-Elect and Elected Trustee, and you have until 28 May to cast your vote.

You can meet the nominees and watch their candidate videos on the BPS website.

We'd encourage you all to use your vote to determine who fills these senior elected roles -voting is open to student, graduate, associate, full, chartered and honorary members.

Voting in BPS elections is via an online system, and you should have received an email from Mi-Voice with instructions on how to vote. If you don't have an email address registered with the BPS, or if you have opted out of online voting, you will receive a postal ballot instead.

Following the nomination period, the five candidates for President-Elect are:

  • Dr Laura Dean
  • Jo Hemmings
  • Dr Natalie Lancer
  • Dr Peter McParlin
  • Jimmy Petruzzi

The two candidates for Elected Trustee are:

  • David Blackmore Carew
  • Stephen Leadbeater

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