Course Values and Ethos

Welcome to OXICPTR: Course Philosophy AND ETHOS

The following values underpin the high quality training provided at OXICPTR

Clinical Psychology is the application of psychological science and understanding to the relief of distress and the promotion of wellbeing. It requires a skilful blend of both clinical art and clinical science to adapt it for the individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organisations with whom we work. It also requires a constant, healthy scepticism informed by the collection, critique and interpretation of data in clinical practice and other activities. It is evidence based, empirically grounded, reflective and both challenged and supported by supervision. At its heart it is person centred.

An awareness of the needs of people who access our services, and the needs of their family and friends, is integral to the Oxford course. An understanding of the needs of the wider community is also emphasised. The Course training and placements are based on an appreciation of the importance of equality, diversity and, above all, empowerment. Towards this end, service user and carer involvement is deployed across a variety of activities in the programme.

Oxford Health LogoThe Oxford Course is commissioned by Health Education England, trainees are employed by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the qualification is currently validated by the University of Oxford while we move towards a closer relationship. The Course values partnership between the Trust, the University, practicing clinical psychologists in the region, service users and other key stakeholders, particularly the trainees themselves.

The Course supports trainees to become highly skilled, flexible and reflective scientist practitioners, who are confident in their own ability to meet a range of needs across a variety of health and social care contexts. It aims to train clinical psychologists to high levels of competence in the academic, clinical and research domains within a reflective and ethical framework which will encourage lifelong learning and development. Graduates will not only possess the range of expected competencies as clinical psychologists but also meta-competencies, meaning that they will be trained to be capable of extending the competencies they develop as part of training into areas not directly dealt with in the Course or where existing knowledge does not provide any specific indications of how to apply psychological principles to a particular clinical domain or where innovation is required. The course emphasises the need to acknowledge the importance of diversity, including the meta-competency of adapting approaches where such diversity was not integral to their development.

Trainees will learn to become resilient, highly capable and reflective “scientist practitioners”. The Course emphasises the importance of a clear understanding of how psychological theory can be applied to clinical problems and health and social care issues by attention to the empirical grounding for processes, strategies and techniques in the work of clinical psychologists. An explicit feature of this approach is the recognition that competent practitioners are able to learn and develop a skilful blend of the scientific basis of clinical psychology (“clinical science”) with reflective practice and personally adapted approaches (“clinical art”), as well as combining it with an awareness of social and cultural context. This type of development requires close co-ordination between trainees, Course staff, teachers/trainers, placement supervisors and service users/carers. As training progresses trainees are supported in the process of developing their own personal styles of working. The Oxford Course also places an emphasis on the importance and value of working and learning with other professional groups linked to a broad definition of leadership.

Learning, teaching and training is “research led”. Given the present state of the field, this means that in terms of psychological treatment training, the main therapeutic approaches used will emphasise the full range of evidence based and empirically grounded approaches to the understanding and treatment of clinical problems. This in practice will mainly include (but not be confined to) cognitive behavioural and systemic approaches in the context of lifespan developmental conceptualisations.

The training provided by the course draws upon the full range of empirically grounded psychological theory, not only in psychopathology but also in other areas of psychology such as social and developmental psychology in order to allow consideration of context and lifespan development. The emphasis in assessment and therapy will be person-centred in the broad sense mostly within the framework provided by Cognitive-behavioural and Systemic theory and the related assessment and therapeutic approaches alongside other empirically grounded approaches. The course follows a core placement strategy, based on BPS recommended placements, viz: Working Age Adults, CAMHS, Older Adults and Intellectual Disabilities. A range of other specialisations can also be developed, based on trainee career aspirations and NHS workforce requirements, availability of appropriate expertise and supervisory capacity. Such specialisation can begin relatively early in the Course. Assuming sufficient development of core professional competencies and expertise, specialisation will become a more specific focus, should the trainee wish, during the third year of the course through elective placement/s. This includes the rapidly developing and evolving areas of Clinical Health Psychology and Neuropsychology. An awareness of contributions of other professions in psychological care is linked to an understanding of how clinical psychologists can contribute to the care provided by our colleagues.

The third year will in general emphasise the development of higher level competencies and meta-competencies. This will include the development of leadership abilities, with a progressive shift from first to third year from supervision towards mentoring and peer supervision and supervising others. We believe that leadership and collegiality is best characterised by placing clinical psychology at the heart of multidisciplinary health care.

The Course emphasises the integration of University and Course based theoretical and skills training with clinical practice by using a range of research led teaching and learning strategies including lecturing, workshop based training, problem based-learning, small group sessions and so on, matching the topics to be taught to the methods of teaching. Some academic work will also be carried out as part of clinical placements, with integrated clinical/academic teaching being delivered by supervisors. Involvement of people with lived or family experience of health problems will be a feature of a wide range of work on the programme.

The clinical/research/academic integration will be enhanced by teaching which will be conducted by a wide range of people. This will include Course staff (all of whom will be clinically and research active), clinical psychologists from across the region, national and international experts in relevant fields and people with personal, lived experience where appropriate. From the beginning of the Course, some teaching days will take place in NHS settings elsewhere in the region as ‘away-days’ hosted in a variety of sites. These sessions will also provide opportunities for trainees to familiarise themselves with the range of NHS and social care services across the region.

The Course will ensure that trainees develop professional roles characterised by being collegial and supportive of others, incorporating an understanding of the roles and approaches of professional colleagues in order to enable good working relationships to promote the psychological well-being of people accessing our services and to contribute to the development of services.

The Course regards trainees as adult learners and will match the requirements of local, regional and national organisations for competent qualified professionals with those of a learner-led model of teaching, training, and learning. Such an enterprise requires attention and responsiveness to feedback both from the trainees and from placements and regional representatives. An important part of this is the substantial representation of both trainees and regional stakeholders, particularly supervisors, on the committees which direct Course functions.

The Course seeks to help trainees develop enthusiasm for learning, development and research in the field. Reflection, questioning and in depth investigation will be encouraged; trainees will be helped to develop personal areas of interest in terms of clinical, academic and research focus over the entire period of their training in ways which are intended to allow and equip them to continue to develop professionally, clinically, academically and in research once they have qualified.

The Course continues to keep pace with emerging trends and values within health and social care in general. Our overall aim is to translate the findings from evidence based research to clinical practice and make a difference across a range of healthcare domains. We aim to flexibly apply our scientific competencies to provide services in a range of settings and communities. We appreciate the need for economic efficiency and value for money and recognise the importance of being outcome orientated. We need to explore the solutions to present and future challenges in healthcare in terms of quality of responsiveness and compassion. We strive to promote and develop diversity and resilience in the profession. Through our relationships with people with personal experience of health problems, trainees, clinical practitioners, commissioners and the broader academic community we aim to keep abreast of health developments, interventions and research. The Course particularly emphasises the role of clinical psychologists as reflective practitioners involved in the development, application and dissemination of translational research in health and social care, communities and beyond. It is designed to help the trainees explore the range of roles which can be filled by clinical psychologists and empower them to consider and choose what kind of clinical psychologist they aspire to be.

Our commitment to promote and support equality of opportunity and/or inclusion:

Everyone at the University of Oxford and Oxford Health has a responsibility for promoting equality and fostering good relations between all members of the community, trainees and staff, and also for eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation against anyone for reasons of age, disability, gender, pregnancy and maternity, race (means colour, nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender status.

You can read about Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust's statement of commitment to promote and support equality of opportunity and/or inclusion here: 

You can read about the University of Oxford's statement of commitment to promote and support equality of opportunity and/or inclusion here:

Equality Policy

University of Oxford's Equality Policy


 The NHS Constitution

At OXICPTR, we subscribe to the NHS Constitution (2013), incorporating the principles, values, rights and responsibilities contained within.  

Updated January 2019