Doctor of Clinical Practice (Research) (DClinPrac(Res))

Duration Part time 4-6 years
Distance Learning available
  • Psychology
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


The main aim of this programme is to provide a training in research for psychoanalytically- and systemically-informaed psychological therapists, currently working clinically. 

A further programme aim is to develop innovative research which combines psychoanalytic or systemic concepts and processes with established and emerging research approaches including social science methods.

Applicants' projects need to be in one of the clinical areas of:

  1. Treatment outcome
  2. Treatment process
  3. Treatment context
  4. Conceptual research relevant to your area of clinical practice
  5. Basic science underpinning elements relevant to an area of clinical practice.

By the end of the programme we aim to have enabled members to:

  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of research methodologies applicable to their area of clinical practice or interest;
  • Become research ‘literate’.
  • Develop the capacity to critically review and reflect upon the theoretical and clinical assumptions underlying their practice;
  • Independently evaluate research using advanced scholarship and understanding of research methodologies and design and to able to understand and argue for alternative approaches;
  • Conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge relevant to psychotherapy practice;
  • Develop a substantial, in-depth and systematic understanding of an area of their clinical practice;
  • Analyse and manage ethical dilemmas and to work in an ethical manner;
  • Act independently and with originality in relation to problem solving, planning and implementing tasks at an advanced level;
  • Develop an enhanced the capacity to reflect on their own and other’s functioning in order to improve practice and manage their own continuing professional development, as well as guide and support the learning of others;
  • Communicate complex and contentious information clearly and effectively to specialists and non-specialists alike and understand any lack of understanding in others in order to act as a recognised and effective consultant.
  • Make an original contribution to psychoanalytic or systemic psychotherapy practice.

Teaching and learning

This Research Doctorate provides a programme of teaching, academic assignments and supervised research training and usually takes a minimum of four years part-time to complete. It may be undertaken by applicants who have successfully completed a substantial psychotherapeutic clinical training as a Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist or Analyst (or the equivalent); as a Child psychotherapist (or equivalent); as a Family or Couples’ Therapist (or equivalent) or as a Group Analyst (or the equivalent). It may be undertaken by trainees in one of the above trainings but not before the beginning of the third year of their clinical training.

In building upon programme members’ sound clinical grounding the programme emphasises the development of evidence based practice and practice based evidence. Students are helped to consider what constitutes evidence; the particular strengths and weaknesses of particular kinds of evidence including the single case approach associated with many psychotherapeutic traditions. The programme considers the clinician as researcher; the research use that may be made of countertransferential evidence acquired in the clinical session; the formulation of hypotheses in the therapeutic encounter; their extrapolation into generalised hypotheses of human psychological functioning and the problems in so doing; the uses of extra-analytic information and theory as something which illuminates clinical practice or alternatively intrudes upon the patient therapist interaction.

Exeter has an international reputation for research relevant to psychotherapeutic clinical practice. It is part of Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR) within the department of Psychology at Exeter. As well as senior and experienced analytically trained clinicians who are also working in various clinical setting, teaching on the programme, students also have access to senior, research active supervisors and teachers in a range of research methodologies, qualitative and quantitative, with a wide spectrum of research interests.

Selected examples of projects completed by graduates of this programme:

  • Dr Maggy Cairns (2015). “In the mind of the mother: mental representation of the internal space of the mother and the capacity to use the therapist in borderline states”.
  • Dr Elizabeth Weightman (2016). “Containment? An investigation into psychoanalytic containment and whether it is provided by staff in an NHS institution in relation to someone with a diagnosis of personality disorder”.
  • Dr Caryn Onions (2017). “This shared parenting thing is quite difficult to get your head around’, experiences of parents and carers in the first year at the Mulberry Bush School: a qualitative study”.
  • Dr Mary Lister (2017).” A study of the working interface between two different therapy and counselling modalities in a low cost service”.
  • Dr Janet Moreland (2019). “The experience of bariatric or weight-loss surgery (WLS) - with particular reference to changes in the relationship with food”.
  • Dr Catherine Mathieson (2019). “Getting back in through others: Patient views on psychotherapy for complex PTSD”.
  • Dr Joyline Gozho (2020) “Does racial colour difference between client and therapist affect the transference relationship? If it does, how does it emerge, and do therapists engage with it, to establish a therapeutic relationship: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis”.
  • Dr Hannah Sherbersky (2020). ‘Treating this place like home’ An exploration of the notions of home within an adolescent inpatient unit and subsequent implications for staff training.

Find out more about the DClinPrac (Res) programme.

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Athena SWAN

We have made a commitment to gender equality for all our staff and students. Psychology has been granted a Silver Athena SWAN award.

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