Recent changes in Royal College training requirements have highlighted the need for residency programs to be able to offer challenging and worthwhile experiences to their trainees in caring for the chronically mentally ill. This training should bring them into contact with patients at each stage of their illness and recovery and expose them to the different settings in which treatment or management takes place. Postgraduate programs face many problems in organizing this teaching that arise from the nature and course of long-term psychiatric illnesses, the organization of residency training programs, attitudes and preconceptions of residents and teachers and competing time demands. The authors review these problems, identify specific goals for the training and suggest strategies for achieving these goals. Expectations of postgraduate programs, clinical placements, supervisors and residents themselves are outlined.