Assistant Psychologist



Assistant Psychologist

My name is Kelsey and I work as an assistant psychologist within the older adult psychology service in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. 

I have always had an interest in understanding human behaviour and the ways in which people think, feel and behave. Furthermore, I have always loved to continuously learn new things and wanted to pursue a career that would fulfil this passion. As someone who has a passion for helping others, I have a desire to make a positive impact within another person’s life. All of these factors encouraged my interest in psychology and pursuing education and work within this area. 

About My Role

Assistant psychologist roles vary by the needs of the service. In my role, I work closely with older adults with mental health difficulties and/or cognitive impairment in a variety of ways: 

 Delivering low-intensity therapeutic interventions 

 Administering neuropsychological assessments to assess for dementia

 Cofacilitate therapeutic skills group on a ward

 Work directly under the supervision of a clinical psychologist, and support them with more complex assessments with individuals, families and groups. 

Working as an assistant psychologist provides learning experiences for further qualifications. For myself, my next steps are to pursue training to become a clinical psychologist. Whilst you can work permanently as an assistant psychologist, most people will move around roles to work with different population groups and have the main aim to become qualified in an area of psychology i.e., clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist etc. 

What is the route to this role and what route did you take?

1. Undergraduate degree in psychology, or psychology combined with another subject. This is usually completed over 3 years. This course NEEDS to be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for ‘eligibility to Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the society’. This is applied for through UCAS and requirements vary per university. 

I completed a BSc in Psychology and Criminology at Swansea University. This course required three A-levels subjects (minimum grades of BBB). 

2. Postgraduate qualification in any area of psychology i.e., clinical psychology, research methods, neuroscience (optional)

A postgraduate qualification is not necessary for this role, however, due to the competitiveness of this role, it can be helpful to acquire this. 

I completed a MSc in Clinical Psychology and Mental Health at Swansea University. The course required an undergraduate degree (minimum grade of 2:2) and a personal statement. 

3. Relevant Experience 

Assistant Psychologist roles are highly competitive, but not unachievable! Therefore, it is helpful to build up your experience within areas that relate to psychology, specifically working with vulnerable populations, a support role and/or research. A role within a department that employs clinical psychologists may also be a bonus!

Undergraduate: I worked as a support worker for the National Autistic Society alongside my studies. This was helpful to learn to work with vulnerable populations and in a supportive role. I also volunteered as a peer mentor as a student. 

Postgraduate: I was fortunate to access a scheme called ‘GO Wales’, that secured a work experience post as an assistant information officer within a disability charity. This was valuable in gaining research experience. I then volunteered as a research assistant in the older adult psychology service in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. I assisted with psychological research and this provided first-hand experience of the day-to-day of an assistant psychologist and clinical psychologist. 

Why would you recommend the role?

The role of an assistant psychologist is varied and rewarding, the possibilities are endless. It is super rewarding to work directly with people and make, even the smallest, difference within their lives. The role offers a lot of opportunities to develop and progression into further qualification.