Purpose – This paper aims to describe the challenges and rewards of service user and carer involvement in clinical psychology training as experienced in one training centre.
Design/methodology/approach – After outlining the major challenges of involvement in higher education and in clinical psychology training, the paper describes the work carried out by the authors. Members of the service user and carer advisory group Salomons Advisory Group of Experts by Experience (SAGE) recount their experiences of working with them in clinical psychology and Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) training. The challenges of inclusion and specific approaches that are used to work with these are explored.
Findings – Members of SAGE have experienced their contributions to the work in positive ways. However, inclusion in this context requires everyone involved to fully acknowledge the social and historical barriers in order to work together to overcome them.
Practical implications – Some of the approaches to meeting the challenges of inclusion in doctoral level clinical training may be applicable in other places.
Social implications – In the authors' experience, true inclusion means openness to the authoritative voices of people not normally viewed as educators. A parallel question is the degree to which professionals feel safe to admit to service user experience or to draw upon other aspects of their personhood while working professionally. This may be crucial for successful partnership.
Originality/value – The authors are still on this journey of inclusion, and hope that by sharing some of their experiences of its complexities that they may help illuminate some elements of others' journeys.