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In the United Kingdom, a Clinical Associate is a shortened designation for a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP). A Clinical Associate is a specialist regulated mental health professional with expertise in the delivery of Psychological interventions to adults, children and adolescents. Although CAAP is the appropriate professional designation a variety of other designations are also used, including Primary Care Psychologist and Clinical Associate Psychologist.

History & development

The new role of Clinical Associate was first introduced in 2005 after development between the NHS, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and key academic institutions and medical schools in Scotland. The role has been developed with an aim to increase access to primary care psychological services in two main specialities (child and adolescent and adult primary care). As such, two masters level MSc applied training courses have been developed in each of these specialities. Each training courses requires trainees to complete a 1 year clinical residency in the appropriate speciality and an extensive academic component including training in clinical research, and the production of a masters level thesis.

Professional training and certification to practice

Candidates must have obtained a 2:1 degree or above in a BPS accredited Psychology programme, have obtained clinical experience in the relevant specialities or in another related field, and demonstrated competence in scientific research.

Once admitted to training, Academic requirements (non-clinical) must be demonstrated to masters MSc level, including the production of an original piece of research which will contribute to the scientific understanding of a relevant area. Requirements to practice are similar to that of Clinical Psychology in the UK (within the appropriate speciality) and include demonstration of competence in clinical practice, assessment, diagnosis, formulation, treatment and research design and evaluation. While in training Clinical Associates receive a salary from the NHS.

Once qualified, clinical associates are licensed scientists, clinicians and mental health professionals, qualified to design, implement and evaluate research, and assess, diagnose and treat appropriate psychological disorders.

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