Tell us about your career since graduation…
Since graduating from Plymouth in 2013 I moved away for work briefly and am now back studying at Plymouth University. I was fortunate enough to have secured a job as an assistant psychologist working in an older people’s mental health team before I graduated. This was a fantastic post and allowed me to strengthen my skills in neuropsychology, working in an early diagnosis memory clinic, and also therapeutically working with older adults experiencing emotional distress. Skills from this post and voluntary work, paired with my learning experiences from my undergraduate degree, helped me secure my place on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology course in September 2014. I am now in my second year of training and enjoy it thoroughly. I always aspired to train as a clinical psychologist and so far my training journey has been brilliant. It was lovely to be able to come back to Plymouth University to complete my training and be part of a course that promotes a reflexive approach to all aspects of clinical psychology, and in particular pays consideration to the psychological impact of social inequalities and transitions across life cycles for the people we work with.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
Studying at Plymouth helped me to develop my academic and clinical abilities to achieve my career goals. I found the level of teaching at Plymouth of a high standard and valued the opportunity to choose modules in the final year such as ‘neuropsychology skills’ and ‘the psychology of appearance’ that were relevant to areas I wanted to study in the future. What made me want to study at Plymouth was that you could complete a placement year as part of your degree. I worked as an assistant psychologist out of area, at Salisbury District Hospital for a year in clinical health psychology and it was by the end of this year I knew I definitely wanted to get into clinical training. Within the School of Psychology there were also many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of teaching. I took part in the research apprenticeship scheme that involved working alongside lecturers on their research projects. During my final year I was a course representative. This involved me listening to the needs of my peers and then conveying them back to the course team so that they could continually improve teaching and opportunities available for undergraduate students.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?
Don’t be frightened of applying for jobs and clinical psychology training! If you are passionate and determined and know you want work in clinical psychology in the future there is no harm in applying. I spent a lot of time thinking that I didn’t have enough experience to get onto training but what I learnt is it is not about the number of voluntary posts or assistant psychologist posts you have but the quality of your experience. Always reflect on what you’ve learnt in various posts and consider what you can take forward into new roles and what you as an individual can bring to those roles.
Would you recommend studying at Plymouth?Most definitely. Not only will you get the opportunity to study on courses that really prepare you well for your future career you also get to live in a lively and eclectic city. Plymouth is continually developing with areas like Royal William Yard being redeveloped recently. You can also escape the hustle and bustle of city life and go and explore nearby beaches or Dartmoor which are close by.