Lauren Sharpe: BSc (Hons) Psychology 2012-2015 Trainee Psychological Therapist, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Lauren Sharpe has gone from being a Psychology student representative to becoming a trainee Psychological Therapist. Since graduating with a BSc Hons Psychology degree in 2015, Lauren has worked as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) and as an Assistant Psychologist. She is now training to become a Psychological Therapist, which involves two days at university, studying for a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and three days in clinical practice.
“After my degree in 2015 I immediately started a Masters in Clinical Psychology. I then went on to do a PG certificate in Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in 2017. I also started training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Italk, Solent Mind.‘’
“I moved on to be an Assistant Psychologist at an in-patient hospital for a year and a half. There I was working therapeutically with adults with long and enduring mental health problems.”
“After this, I worked for Havant CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) as an Assistant Psychologist. The role involved working with children, young people and families and with the neurodiversity team to help diagnose autism and ADHD.
“I have been in my current job as a Trainee Psychological Therapist since September.“
Lauren says that studying Psychology has been useful to her career because specific modules gave her the tools needed to work with people who have mental health issues. She also mentions that her time spent as a student representative for the degree helped her discuss her skills in job interviews.
“I was a student rep for my course which I later found was really good for my first interviews post university because you are feeding back information to lecturers in a helpful way that promotes any positive changes that might be needed.“
“The course introduced me to the Abnormal Psychology module which looks at psychosis, depression and schizophrenia.I remember my lecturer talking about working with people who have mental health issues and the different job roles that involve this. I then targeted all my experience to working as one of those roles. It was a really good module.”
“An example of how these modules relate to my work was when I had to create a portfolio for my job showing my understanding of this topic. I emailed my lecturer from Winchester five years on from graduating and they sent me slides from that module to prove my knowledge.”
Lauren also mentions that doing Psychology at Winchester was a great way to study the subject because of the smaller class sizes.
“Being on a smaller course with less people gave me the ability to learn in that environment. It gives you plenty of experience in the volunteering module and the lecturers get to know you well.“
Lauren has many happy memories from her time at Winchester but says graduation was her best memory because she got to celebrate a milestone in her life with friends.
“Graduation is my best memory, it is such a special moment and a nice milestone – it was lovely to share it with friends. Now they are all across the country but it is great to have that shared experience. The cathedral is beautiful and such a nice setting.”
Lauren enjoys her current role and looks forward continuing her work as a therapist.
“Hopefully at the end of next summer I’ll qualify as a therapist. I’m really enjoying my current role and so I want to continue as a therapist and see where that takes me.”
‘’I am currently working from home. I think we will see the impact of the virus on mental health. Teams are trying to work with larger referrals based on anxiety around COVID-19 and we are expecting to see this for the next couple of years.“
Now that Lauren has worked in a number of psychology roles, she has great advice for those studying Psychology who are working towards becoming Assistant Psychologists.
“If you want to go down the clinical or therapy route of psychology then make sure you get volunteer experience and tailor it to a specific job you want, rather than write blanket statements on your CV. They are looking for targeted answers and making it clear that you want that specific job. If you do volunteering you might be more likely to get a job that will help you to build up to becoming an Assistant Psychologist.”
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