I’ve now passed the half way mark of my first placement as a trainee psychologist. So, it’s time to pull together the threads of all the lessons I’m learning.
- The unexpected is challenging. While it goes without saying that the unfamiliar is challenging, I’ve also learned that a number of little things I never anticipated being difficult are deceptively tricky. For example, my placement’s EFTPOS machine and I are not yet friends nor is calculating ‘age at testing’ on the Wechsler Scales intuitive for me yet.
- Everything is heightened. My four years of undergraduate training taught me about psychological theory, writing, statistics, critical thinking and gave me an appreciation that while I know more now than before, there is always so much more to learn. My first forays into becoming a trainee psychologist have brought me right back to the beginning again as I develop another set of skills. With this return to being a complete novice comes the heightened frustration and excitement. On the one hand, I can clearly see the gap between where my skills are now and where I would like them to be when I’m a fully fledged psychologist, but on the other hand I have the excitement of slowly watching this gap become smaller and realising that I’m now achieving the milestones in my learning that just a month ago seemed daunting.
- You need a balanced picture. Picture for me if you will a see-saw. On one side is your sense of competence and on the other your awareness of the things you can’t yet do, or not as well as you would like. Reviewing therapy sessions with my supervisor has helped me gain a balanced picture of areas for improvement and my current competence.
- I’m really enjoying this. Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, it’s a lot of work. And yes, I’ve had to dive right out of my comfort zone, but I am really enjoying my placement. There are so many positives: the camaraderie with my fellow students and supervisors, working with parents and children, schools and other health professionals and those moments when I can see myself, one day not so far from now, as a registered psychologist. I’m still adamant that for me this picture will also involve research/lecturing, but I would like to incorporate practising as a psychologist too.
For anyone out there about to dive into their own placement adventures, I thought I’d finish off by sharing what a wise person said to me before I started placement: you’re going to love it!
thread (Photo credit: *Sally M*)
Though the second year of my Clinical PhD is seven weeks away, my second year placement is just around the corner. So, I thought I’d post about the coming year now while I’m not juggling research, coursework and a placement.To put it mildly, 2013 is going to be a big year.
In semester one, I’ll attend classes, complete over 300 hours of placement and continue to conduct my research. By semester two I’ll have completed my first placement, begun a new class and be continuing on with my research. Barring extenuating circumstances, these are the things that will definitely happen, but what might happen? And what would I like to happen?
Sun Drenched (Photo credit: Digimist)
My ‘clinical’ hopes and dreams for 2013:
- I hope that my first placement will be a great opportunity: a chance to put theory into practice; to learn from my supervisor, clients and fellow trainees; to improve and grow in confidence in my clinical skills; to help my clients bring about improvements in their lives; to learn more about where I’d like clinical psychology to take me, essentially to become a better trainee psychologist.
- In 2013, I hope that my coursework will provide me with a chance to engage: to apply what I’ve learned on placement and first year and vice versa, to learn more about CBT, other therapeutic approaches and presenting problems and the different avenues that psychology may take me, in other words, I want to consume and contribute knowledge.
- I hope that this year I will continue to foster the friendships I have made with my fellow trainee psychologists.
My ‘research’ hopes and dreams for 2013
- I’d like to develop my critique and analysis skills: to improve my reading muscle, learn new statistical techniques and become more confident in interpreting and appraising various statistical techniques and study designs.
- I’d like to write: regularly, the chapter for my first study, my case studies, 30, 000 words of my thesis.
- I’d like to finish (and in some cases start!): collecting data for my first three studies
- I’d like to design: a better way to let potential participants know about upcoming research and the overarching study for my PhD.
- And I hope that I will continue to foster the friendships I have made among my fellow PhD students and the faculty.
Balancing Act (Photo credit: Digitalnative)
Clearly, I have a big year ahead. So my most important hope for 2013 is balance: to pull it all off and not lose myself or my social life in my to-do list!
It will be interesting to see if my hopes and dreams for 2013 come to fruition. Wish me luck!