Profiling assistant psychologist experiences in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/550449
Title:
Profiling assistant psychologist experiences in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Authors:
Hughes, Anya; Campbell, Meadhbh; Byrne, M ( 0000-0002-1675-9850 )
Affiliation:
Anya Hughes and Meadhbh Campbell work as primary care adult mental health practitioners with Roscommon PCCC, HSE West. Michael Byrne is Principal Psychologist Manager with HSE Laois/Offaly. Correspondence regarding this article can be sent to michaelj.byrne@hse.ie.
Citation:
Hughes, A., Campbell, M., & Byrne, M. (2015). Profiling Assistant Psychologist experiences in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Irish Psychologist, 41(5), 107-112.
Publisher:
The Irish Psychologist
Journal:
The Irish Psychologist
Issue Date:
Apr-2015
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/550449
Item Type:
Article
Language:
en
Description:
The value of assistant psychologist (AP) posts is twofold. For services, APs can support qualified staff and enhance work activities (British Psychological Society [BPS], 2006). However, for graduates, the opportunity to secure relevant experience can significantly enhance the chance of entry to doctoral training. Over a 10-year period, 71% of successful applicants in Ireland were previously employed as APs (O’Shea & Byrne, 2011). Given this statistic, it is no surprise that competition for AP experience is pronounced. Vacancies are heavily over-subscribed and the added proliferation of honorary posts has led to discussions of exploitation and elitism (Twomey & Byrne, 2011). Although there is a dearth of recent research, the extant literature has highlighted the difficulties for APs. In one of the few large scales studies, Rezin and Tucker (1998) found that 80% of APs in the United Kingdom (UK) reported feeling over-worked and isolated in their roles. Smith’s (2006) investigation of the relationship between APs and their supervisors highlighted problems with structure, access and power imbalances. In addition, the duties of an AP are vaguely defined within the literature and previous research has reported significant disparity in the nature and quality of AP posts (Nicholson, 1992; Rezin & Tucker, 1998; Taylor, 1999). In seeking to provide clarity to the role, the BPS produced the Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists (2007). This document provides guidance for best-practice along several domains (e.g., responsibilities and balance of work; induction and introduction to work; supervision, training and development). While the Heads of Psychology Services Ireland (HPSI; 2013) produced a working document regarding the employment of APs, and the Psychological Society of Ireland Early Graduate Group (PSI EGG) launched their policy document entitled Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists in Ireland in November 2014, it remains unknown to what extent either the Irish or British guidelines have succeeded in standardising the AP role in Ireland. In addition to reported variances in posts, research investigating the AP experience is limited in other ways. First, studies have evolved mostly from anecdotal reports of personal experiences and few large scales studies exist (Taylor, 1999). Second, previous studies are primarily UK-based and little research has investigated AP posts in Ireland. It is therefore difficult to establish a comprehensive picture. Sampling APs in both Ireland and the UK, this paper profiles AP experiences, including quality of experience and job satisfaction. It aims to provide a summary of the typical AP duties and highlight the difficulties involved.
Keywords:
PSYCHOLOGY; PSYCHOLOGIST; EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorHughes, Anyaen
dc.contributor.authorCampbell, Meadhbhen
dc.contributor.authorByrne, Men
dc.date.accessioned2015-04-22T13:27:12Zen
dc.date.available2015-04-22T13:27:12Zen
dc.date.issued2015-04en
dc.identifier.citationHughes, A., Campbell, M., & Byrne, M. (2015). Profiling Assistant Psychologist experiences in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Irish Psychologist, 41(5), 107-112.en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/550449en
dc.descriptionThe value of assistant psychologist (AP) posts is twofold. For services, APs can support qualified staff and enhance work activities (British Psychological Society [BPS], 2006). However, for graduates, the opportunity to secure relevant experience can significantly enhance the chance of entry to doctoral training. Over a 10-year period, 71% of successful applicants in Ireland were previously employed as APs (O’Shea & Byrne, 2011). Given this statistic, it is no surprise that competition for AP experience is pronounced. Vacancies are heavily over-subscribed and the added proliferation of honorary posts has led to discussions of exploitation and elitism (Twomey & Byrne, 2011). Although there is a dearth of recent research, the extant literature has highlighted the difficulties for APs. In one of the few large scales studies, Rezin and Tucker (1998) found that 80% of APs in the United Kingdom (UK) reported feeling over-worked and isolated in their roles. Smith’s (2006) investigation of the relationship between APs and their supervisors highlighted problems with structure, access and power imbalances. In addition, the duties of an AP are vaguely defined within the literature and previous research has reported significant disparity in the nature and quality of AP posts (Nicholson, 1992; Rezin & Tucker, 1998; Taylor, 1999). In seeking to provide clarity to the role, the BPS produced the Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists (2007). This document provides guidance for best-practice along several domains (e.g., responsibilities and balance of work; induction and introduction to work; supervision, training and development). While the Heads of Psychology Services Ireland (HPSI; 2013) produced a working document regarding the employment of APs, and the Psychological Society of Ireland Early Graduate Group (PSI EGG) launched their policy document entitled Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists in Ireland in November 2014, it remains unknown to what extent either the Irish or British guidelines have succeeded in standardising the AP role in Ireland. In addition to reported variances in posts, research investigating the AP experience is limited in other ways. First, studies have evolved mostly from anecdotal reports of personal experiences and few large scales studies exist (Taylor, 1999). Second, previous studies are primarily UK-based and little research has investigated AP posts in Ireland. It is therefore difficult to establish a comprehensive picture. Sampling APs in both Ireland and the UK, this paper profiles AP experiences, including quality of experience and job satisfaction. It aims to provide a summary of the typical AP duties and highlight the difficulties involved.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe Irish Psychologisten
dc.subjectPSYCHOLOGYen
dc.subjectPSYCHOLOGISTen
dc.subjectEMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND SKILLSen
dc.titleProfiling assistant psychologist experiences in Ireland and the United Kingdom.en
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentAnya Hughes and Meadhbh Campbell work as primary care adult mental health practitioners with Roscommon PCCC, HSE West. Michael Byrne is Principal Psychologist Manager with HSE Laois/Offaly. Correspondence regarding this article can be sent to michaelj.byrne@hse.ie.en
dc.identifier.journalThe Irish Psychologisten
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