Sixth Form students welcomed trainee Clinical Psychologist, and former pupil, Lucinda Brabbins on Friday 1 May to talk about her chosen career and current role working for the NHS.
After giving a brief overview of her qualifications and experience, Lucie offered valuable insight into the profession, with an overview of the possible career routes open to psychology graduates including; occupational, forensic, educational, neuropsychology, sport, counselling, health and, of course, clinical psychology.
Lucie explained that the main focus of her current role was to help reduce the psychological distress and enhance the psychological well–being of the patients she treated.
Whilst working with people with mental health difficulties and distress, she often has to take into account their thoughts, feelings, emotions as well as their behaviour. This highlighted the key skills required for the role – good listening and communication skills, along with an emotional tolerance and a curious and reflective nature. Additionally the role involved strong analytical skills which involved researching, formulating, critique and evaluation.
‘The role often involves the formulation which is a hypothesis about a person’s difficulties, informed by research and theory, which guides an intervention. This may explain a person’s difficulties in terms of their past experiences, and looks at why the problem continues. It is a very different way of understanding people’s problems compared to medical diagnoses’.
Students mentioned that they found it particularly challenging to have to learn the copious number of case studies as part of their A level course. Lucie was able to explain the long term benefits of these studies, reassuring students that they would be of value as they progressed in their training and eventually in the role itself.
‘My A-Level learning has stood me in good stead. I still draw upon the constructs, it helped me to develop
critique skills which I use all the time when writing or reading research’.
Along with an overview of the possible routes into the spectrum of professions, and the associated level of qualifications required, Lucie gave advice on the choice of University courses available, which were both BPS accredited and provided a basis for Chartered membership.
Lucie also strongly recommended that students get involved in volunteering, either at, or even prior to, university, along with an assistant psychologist role following graduation. She stressed that this would be of real benefit to students and help progression in the first steps of training, as it not only showed commitment and dedication but demonstrated that students had gained the necessary, practical clinical skills.
Recognising that this was an important and stressful time of year for the students, Lucie then taught them how to apply their knowledge and training in psychology to help manage the anxiety and stress leading up to examinations. She talked about how the body reacts to stress and demonstrated how, if they learn to think differently, they will feel differently and then provided useful tips and strategies to help students use their anxiety to perform well in the examinations.
The visit concluded with a question and answer session with students keen to find out more about her role and other possible career paths.
Students agreed that this had been an extremely valuable and interesting session.
Year 12 student, Faiza Hussain said: ‘This was really useful for me as I have applied to study Psychology at Lincoln University and have thought about a career in clinical psychology. This made it all a lot clearer, I now understand the different fields and options available to me when I finish my degree.’