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How my Psychology degree has helped boost my career in mental health

I graduated from the University of Chichester in 2016 after studying BSc (Hons) Psychology. I really enjoyed the course, my favourite module was the Professional clinical skills module and also going to Study Abroad in Canada at the University of New Brunswick for a semester.


The experience really opened me up to face new challenges and made me more confident to try things out of my comfort zone – I would recommend this experience to anyone who has the opportunity!


Since my time at university, I started trying to get experience in mental health. I started as a support worker then went through a few assistant psychologist roles and now am a trainee CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) therapist.

My journey so far in mental health:

2016 – I volunteered on the Dementia ward in St Richard’s hospital in Chichester in my final year.

2016 – I was a camp counsellor in the summer at a camp in Canada working with young adults and children with special needs and physical disability.

2017 – Support worker on a high dependency unit working with children and teenagers presenting with an eating disorder.

2017 – Gained an Assistant Psychologist post – working with adults and older adults presenting with an eating disorder. I developed basic skills in CBT and how to use guided self-help interventions with individuals. I also learned the importance of physical risk management as well.

2018 – Started working in a Crisis team as an Assistant Psychologist – gained experience in DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) skills training and learned about different presentations in mental health (e.g. postnatal depression, depression, anxiety), risk and management plans.

2018 – started working in secondary care services – community mental health team as an assistant psychologist. Got experience working with individuals presenting with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety, depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and personality disorder. I developed experience in group facilitating skills and short-term individual interventions.

2019 – Started working in neurorehabilitation ward as an Assistant Psychologist and got to learn more about different neuropsychological testing and how that informs psychological treatment. Also got to learn about functional neurological disorder which is something I never really knew about!

2020 – I started my CBT training course with Southampton, working currently in IAPT which is a primary care service and working towards CBT accreditation, whilst also still continuing to apply for clinical psychology doctorate.

My journey working in mental health has required a lot of perseverance and resilience! From each experience, I have learned so much and it has grown me as a clinician! I would encourage anyone to fully immerse themselves in the work role they are in at the time, to be able to get the best out of it – even if it feels slow progress to get where you want to be, you are definitely developing even if you do not see it straight away! I eagerly have been wanting to get onto the clinical psychology doctorate and have been applying for the last 4 years and I have felt let down every time I have not got on, but now when I look back to these different experiences, without these I would not feel the confidence I feel now if I had already got onto a course before.

Shivani Patel, BSc (Hons) Psychology graduate

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Date published

17 May 2021

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