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Meet the Experts Behind the Cognitions Course

Potential to Performance

The Cognitions for CASC course was conceptualised and launched in 2011. Our primary goal is to teach the clinical and communication skills needed to pass the MRCPsych CASC examination. The skills are important not only for the exam but also in routine clinical practice.


We understand that individual learning needs are different and our tried and tested coaching model seems to work really well. We adopt a small group approach and this ensures that our experienced trainers can pay attention to individual training needs.

Over the years, we have trained psychiatrists from the UK and overseas providing them the tools to pass the CASC exam. We have also worked with NHS trusts and provided bespoke training. Our trainers are vastly experienced to enhance your CASC revision.


Dr Abrar Hussain

Consultant Psychiatrist I Course Director

Dr Abrar Hussain has extensive experience of teaching and training candidates for the MRCPsych CASC examination. He has been involved in CASC training since 2011 by focusing on individual learning needs and has assisted trainees overcome specific issues related to the CASC examination. He uses an interactive approach and is skilled in identifying habitual errors and communication issues. His teaching style offers creative solutions for candidates to make real progress in their CASC revision.


He is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Liaison Psychiatry working in the NHS as well as in private practice. In addition, he is an accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist (CAT) and a trained practitioner in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). This allows him to offer a relational dimension to advanced interview skills.


He holds a post graduate qualification in University Learning and Teaching from Imperial College London. He is a qualified mentor.


His paper ‘Preparing for the MRCPsych CASC – an insight based on experience’ (2010) published in the British Journal of Medical Practitioners highlights a range of strategies that can be employed in preparing for the CASC.


Mr Robin Samson

Professional Actor I CASC Trainer

Robin trained as both an actor and a teacher at a leading drama school in the 1970s. He has appeared at theatres all over England and in London's West End and National Theatre, as well as on television and radio.

His teaching work, at all levels from secondary to postgraduate, has included Voice and Presentation, Interview Technique, Peer Tutoring and Mentoring, and Communications for Teachers. He has also successfully taught GCSE and AS Level Mathematics in secondary schools and FE. He has over 35 years' experience in peer counselling, as a counsellor, group leader and counselling teacher.

Robin has served as a role-player several times for the MRCPsych exams. He was lead role-player for the CASC Revision Course on the St Mary's training scheme in West London for a number of years. He has role-played in OSCE practice sessions in general medicine at various levels and in exam settings for the GMC. He also has much training and role-play experience in other public sector contexts as well as in the corporate sector.

Working closely with Dr Abrar Hussain since 2011, they have collaborated in developing a unique approach to training and coaching MRCPsych CASC candidates in Interpersonal and Communications Skills, working with clinicians based in various parts of the country and in a range of different clinical settings. He has also been involved in Communications Skills training in the fields of General Practice, Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Nursing.


Dr Donna Arya

Consultant Psychiatrist I CASC Trainer

Dr Donna Arya is a graduate from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (Queen Mary University of London.) She has a degree in medical education and lectures at Imperial College London. She has received letters of commendation and awards as a result her dedication to Medical Education and positive feedback from the student body. She is also a trained mentor.


Donna has extensive experience of tutoring and mentoring psychiatrists sitting the CASC exam with excellent feedback from her students.  She has helped candidates who have failed multiple times as well as first time graduates. 


She has a particular interest in International Medical Graduate (IMG) issues and has an understanding of both IMG and UK graduate issues. She is multilingual.


She is actively involved in leadership and management projects. She was a member Representative for the London Division of the Psychiatric Trainees Committee, is the joint secretary for the British Indian Psychiatric Association and is on the executive committee for the RCPsych Transcultural Special Interest Group. 


Donna takes time to do a needs analysis and read through feedback you have received before. She helps you with all aspects of preparation and likes to make sessions enjoyable and focussed. 

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Dr Sally Foster

Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist I Associate Medical Director for Education

Dr Sally Foster graduated from Leeds Medical School and before training as a GP in Yorkshire, and then moving into psychiatry.  She has been a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist for 19 years, working in York and Hull before moving to her current post at St Andrews Healthcare in 2017.


Sally has extensive expereince in undergraduate and post graduate medical education, having previously been educational supervisors to core and speciality trainees.  She previously worked as a CASC examiner for 10 years and has also sat on the RCPsych exam writing panel.


For the past 5 years she was the Medical Undergraduate Lead for Buckingham Medical students at St Andrews, before taking on the role of Associate Medical director for Education in 2022.  Her role includes writing exams (written and OSCE) and examining undergraduate students. 


Sally has a Post Graduate Certificate in Medical Education, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is a trained mentor.

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