Assistant psychologist

Assistant psychologists undertake a variety of roles in supporting people with mental health problems.

This page has information on the role of an assistant psychologist. There is also information on the entry requirements and training. 

Working life 

The exact role will depend on the needs of the local population. Typically, you’ll provide clinical support under the direct supervision of a qualified psychologist who would usually retain clinical responsibility for patients and service users.

Two psychologists talking

You’ll work as part of a multidisciplinary team and may be involved with:

In addition, they would be expected to maintain clear written records, draft reports, letters and summaries of assessments and observations of treatments. Assistant psychologists also work with professionals from the NHS, social services and other agencies.

Entry requirements 

Applicants for these posts usually need a degree in psychology, ideally one recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

Universities are usually flexible about the A-levels, A/S, GNVQ or Scottish Higher subjects needed for entry onto psychology degrees. Undergraduates will need to be able to handle scientific concepts, be numerate and have excellent writing skills. Biology, mathematics, English, history, economics or similar arts or social science subjects are all useful preparation for a psychology degree.

At level 2, maths GCSE at grades 4-9 (C or above) or the Scottish Standard Grade are usually required.

Skills needed 

You'll need a range of skills, including a knowledge of psychological theory, an interest in how people think and behave and the ability to relate to a wide range of people including patients and colleagues.You'll need to be a patient and sympathetic. 

You'll also need to be able to demonstrate the values of the NHS Constitution.

Who will I work with?

You will usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, which will typically include psychologists (clinical, counselling, forensic or health), social workers, occupational therapists, mental health nurses and psychiatrists.

Where will I work?

In the UK, assistant psychologists typically work in healthcare - often for the NHS. You could also work in education, human resources, forensic settings or the third/not-for-profit sector.

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