Trainee Support

Trainee support, wellbeing and personal and professional development

A range of support is provided for trainees on the programme, including the course tutor, cohort tutor, personal tutor, buddy and peer support systems; clinical and research supervision; a mindfulness stress-reduction class; support with reflective-practice; and access to the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Department and the Employee Assistance Programme within Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and the Disability Advisory Service within the University of Oxford.

Course tutor system

Each trainee is allocated a course tutor who supports the trainee throughout the three years of training. Course tutors are responsible for holding an overview of, and providing individual support with, all aspects of training. This includes coordinating and monitoring clinical placements; monitoring progress with research projects, academic learning and personal and professional development; and coordinating any support and adjustments needed for trainees who have disabilities or experience psychological or physical health difficulties. Course tutors act as delegated line managers for their tutees, providing annual Performance Development Reviews, six-monthly individual review meetings, as well as additional support as needed.

Cohort tutor system

Each year group is also supported by a cohort tutor who progresses with that cohort through the three years of training. The cohort tutor will check in with the cohort regularly, offer support with group and curriculum related issues and facilitate two-way communication between the cohort as a whole and the programme team.

Personal tutor system

All trainees are allocated a personal tutor at the start of training for confidential mentoring and support with personal and professional issues. Personal tutors are local clinical psychologists, external to the programme team.

Buddy and peer support

Each trainee is linked with a buddy in the year above. Buddies make contact with new trainees before they join the course and during their first week, to offer information and support from a trainee perspective. It is recognised that peer support can be very important, and hence there are inter-year meetings and social events, as well as peer group time within teaching days. Current areas of development include strengthening peer support for particular groups of trainees, such as parents, trainees from BAME backgrounds, and trainees who have personal experience of mental health difficulties.

Clinical and research supervision

Clinical supervisors provide support with the development of clinical competencies and personal and professional development on clinical placements. With regard to research supervision, trainees have

internal research supervisors for each research project (who are members of programme team) in addition to support provided by external/field research supervisors.

Mindfulness class

A mindfulness-based stress-reduction class is offered to all trainees within the academic programme. Previous evaluations of the class suggest that this can be helpful for improving self-awareness, self-care, stress-management, wellbeing and self-compassion, as well as with developing an understanding of mindfulness.


Trainees are introduced to a range of methods of reflection within reflective-practice seminars that run throughout the academic programme (including CBT and CFT self-practice/self-reflection and systemic approaches). Reflective-practice is also supported within supervision, clinical seminars, peer reflection opportunities and during meetings with course tutors.

Support with health, wellbeing and disabilities

Course tutors can help with coordinating support and adjustments for trainees experiencing psychological or physical health difficulties, and for trainees with disabilities (in consultation with the disability lead for the programme). There is access to advice and support from the Disability Advisory Service within the University of Oxford; and from the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Department and the Employee Assistance Programme within Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, including counselling, CBT, physiotherapy and a range of wellbeing resources.