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The Lowdown on Psychology

Hey my name is Clio and I graduated from university in 2015 with a degree in Psychology. From there, I worked across a wide range of settings including inpatient services, education and community mental health teams. I have also conducted published research and I am now a low-intensity cognitive behavioural therapist; my current role is to provide interventions for people with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, which I find extremely rewarding. Interested in what I do? Then read on!

As many of you know a degree in Psychology doesn’t mean you are a practising psychologist - far from it I’m afraid! The road to becoming a psychologist of any nature will require further study, hard-work and motivation. What I love so much about this field is that all skills are transferable, so whichever area you choose to specialise in, your degree is a great platform. 

I’ve always been passionate about helping others and that's why I chose to work in mental health. Learning about the mind, behaviour and emotions was something I was always interested in, but it wasn’t really an active part of the conversation growing up. Emotions weren't spoken about in great detail, and when expressing my passion to study psychology, it felt out of reach. I grew up with the Caribbean “twice as hard mindset”, so applying that to my career, I felt that I needed to work twice as hard in order to stand out and secure interviews and roles; especially as one vacancy can attract over 250 applicants.

As the professional barriers for black women are higher, preparing for adversity, dealing with rejection and more importantly being kind to yourself is key if you’re striving for a seat at the table.

Here are some tips you might find useful when applying for psychology roles:

  • If you can, have someone in the know read over your application.

  • Always have a back up plan. Always.

  • Focus on what you have learned rather than what you have done (be reflective).

  • Use your free time to volunteer in relevant sectors. 

  • Embrace every learning opportunity. 

  • Highlight your personal qualities and reflect on your limitations. 

  • Practice self-care and self-compassion.

  • Prioritise your degree. Psychology is a very competitive field, and your degree is the foundation for everything you do thereafter.