How to get back into Psychology

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dk200300
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:01 pm

How to get back into Psychology

Post by dk200300 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:35 am

I haven't been on this forum for a while, so please forgive me that I am not well practised!

I graduated with Psychology back in 2011, my undergrad degree (desperate to be a clinical psychologist since school). Did some volunteering in a mental health hospital and paid support work, all going well. Then my life circumstances changed and I moved cities. I needed a job right away and got myself a job in a school for autistic children (helping towards my clinical doctorate, I'd hoped). After some time in the school I felt sick and jaded with the whole psychology process and the fact that I was barely ever earning any money unlike so many of my friends who'd gone straight into graduate jobs... so had the (perhaps foolish) idea that I should do something else for a couple of years for the meantime. I decided to continue with work in education and did a PGCE (teaching qualification). I was so busy doing that at first that I wasn't too bothered that it wasn't what I really wanted to do (it wasn't forever right?) I ended up doing well graduating and got a well paid job teaching in a school nearby (i.e. felt like I'm winning at life for once! Plus it's still kind of related in a way, right?) However, this clearly wasn't meant to be. I had an awful time in my first school and this hasn't improved. There are the general serious issues with teaching (hence the strikes, 30% new teachers leaving in their first year and the fact I was never particularly passionate about it in the first place..looking back now I'm not even sure why I decided to go into it.) Despite this, teaching is the only part time and temp work I can seem to get at the moment (so I just keep it going, just to pay the bills).

I am, however, now feeling really frustrated, distressed and lost to be honest. I still want to be a Psychologist - that feeling never went away. I've applied to a few AP posts and Trainee PWP posts since, but to no avail. I feel I am not in a position where I can afford to volunteer or do another course and tbh I'm not even sure how to go about that. Before I started teaching I was at least getting some interviews for PWP posts but now I have absolutely no feedback from anyone. It's getting me really down as all my psychologist experience seems too long ago and I'm not sure what to do next.

Do I need to give up, like I did before, but for real this time? :( If so, what on earth can I do as a job that involves mental health/counselling that is affordable and doesn't make me miserable?

Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks.

willsingforpopcorn
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:28 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by willsingforpopcorn » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:10 am

Hey,

I wish I had an answer to your question, but I don't - I just wanted to post to say I completely empathise with your situation. I graduated in 2015 in Psychology and now I'm working in a loosely-related-but-not-really-related non-clinical job in which my brain is melting due to how easy it is. Interested in pursuing clinical psychology but really stuck as to how I go about it! Trawlling job websites all the time. Generally feeling rubbish.

So yeah.. not the answer you wanted but just wanted to say I HEAR YA!

Emmie
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Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:22 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by Emmie » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:57 am

Have you considered Educational Psychology? Your teaching experience would be so relevant and since you already have a psychology degree, you could even apply for next year's intake, if you're interested

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BlueCat
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Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by BlueCat » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:39 pm

My thoughts go also straight to educational psychology with your CV. However, if you are set on clinical, I'd suggest the posts you will likely have most success with will be in learning disability teams, esp those which support people on the autistic spectrum, or those in residential schools for children and young people with developmental disabilities (these tend to be in the private sector). Good luck.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

dk200300
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:01 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by dk200300 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:51 pm

Thank you so much for your responses. It's also nice to feel like I'm not the only one!
I have thought about educational psychology, but since its clinical psychology that I have always been interested in and the fact it's such a great commitment to do any doctorate, I wasn't sure whether that was a good idea. I will look into it some more, but it is mental health I am more interested in. I have also heard that educational psychology is a 'dying area'. I'm not sure how true this is!

I suppose I'm still interested in finding a way to do something more club pay related but the advice about learning disabilities is good, so thank you! It's just finding those specific roles and managing to be up there in interviews!

Emmie
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:22 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by Emmie » Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:05 pm

If clinical psychology is what you really want to do, then I would agree with BlueCat's suggestion - I have seen people move from teaching or school-based jobs to more clinically-oriented learning disabilities jobs.

In terms of educational psychology - it's most definitely not a ''dying area''; if anything, there is a shortage of EPs in the country at the moment and the job market for EPs is very healthy. This is partly to do with the changes in the Children and Families Act a couple of years ago (EPs now work with young people up to the age of 25, rather than 19). The profession also seems to be changing based on what I have seen from the EPs I work with. In the past their role used to be focused mainly on statutory assessments, whereas now there is a lot more freedom and opportunities to work creatively in other ways from what I can see. Some EP training courses have a strong clinical and mental health focus (e.g. Tavistock), however this only relates to children and young people, rather than across the lifespan as in clinical.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

evangelinesmum
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:17 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by evangelinesmum » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:28 pm

I'm in a similar situation, I really want to work with children and parents so was aiming down the Ed Psych route, but since working in a role within a school the work I have seen Ed Psych involved in doesn't have enough therapeutic elements to it so I then decided to pursue counselling psych but specialising in children and families. However since reading Emmies reply I'm wondering whether I should reconsider Ed Psych but with a more mental health focused training programme. I looked at Tavistock which looks amazing but they said you need to live in London for the first year which I don't think I can do (got 2 young children).

Emmie do you mind me asking if you know of any other ed psych training programmes that focus more on mental health? I'm based in the south west but could travel for a few days a week if needed.

Many thanks

Emmie
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Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:22 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by Emmie » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:46 pm

I think the Tavistock is unique in terms of their clinical focus, however all EP courses have a mental health element as far as I know from discussions with the Ed Psychs I work with (and I don't think this used to be the case before). Most EP services encourage their ed psychs to develop their own specialism, and mental health and emotional well-being is a very popular specialism from what I can see.
I don't think you have to live in London to do any of the London courses - I know of people who trained at the Tavistock and lived in Hertfordshire, Ipswich, Essex, etc., so it might be worth emailing them to check if that's a formal requirement.

There is a very supportive Facebook group for people interested in EP training, it's called "Educational Psychology Doctoral Applicants". I think some of the trainees and qualified EPs on there might be able to give you a more realiatic idea of how much scope there is for therapeutic work and the focus of the different courses!

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Bela
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How to get back into Psychology

Post by Bela » Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:39 pm

evangelinesmum wrote:I'm in a similar situation, I really want to work with children and parents so was aiming down the Ed Psych route, but since working in a role within a school the work I have seen Ed Psych involved in doesn't have enough therapeutic elements to it so I then decided to pursue counselling psych but specialising in children and families. However since reading Emmies reply I'm wondering whether I should reconsider Ed Psych but with a more mental health focused training programme. I looked at Tavistock which looks amazing but they said you need to live in London for the first year which I don't think I can do (got 2 young children).

Emmie do you mind me asking if you know of any other ed psych training programmes that focus more on mental health? I'm based in the south west but could travel for a few days a week if needed.

Many thanks
Have you thought of systemic therapy? You train up to MSc and could then practice in CAMHS as a systemic or family therapist. Not sure about job availability once qualified or whether you need to have trained in another profession (nursing, social work, psychologist etc) first, but would allow you to work with families so maybe worth exploring further?


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JustJess
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:16 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by JustJess » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:15 pm

Hi dk200300,

I know your post was a little while ago now, but wanted to weigh in too as someone in a similar boat to you... I can totally empathise!

I graduated back in 2005 with a determination to getting on the road to becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist - I was working in HM Prison Service as a Psychological Assistant and was studying for an MSc. Like you, life hit me all at once which made me reconsider my situation and my career choice. I left my job in HMP and went into an entirely different job altogether, and four years later my yearning to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist has once again resurfaced.

As someone who has also spent nearly two years trying to get back into a psychology related job, I too felt disheartened and felt like all my psychological knowledge, skills, and experience was slowly becoming less and less relevant as the years went by. I have had countless job interviews only to be told that either there was one point between me and the successful candidtate, or that the successful candidate had more relevant skills/knowledge/experience etc than me.

I dont know what your situation is like now, or whether you have managed to move forward in any way, but have you considered doing bank work with the NHS? I have managed to get a Bank Healthcare Assistant job which I can fit around my full time role and work as many or as little shifts as I like, and I can also choose where I want to work. This has opened up a whole avenue of opportunities - I have focussed on working in the medium/low secure hospitals and worked shifts in acute inpatients wards and psychiatric intensive care units. Its early days yet as I have only completed a couple of shifts, however I am already really enjoying it and its made me realise how much I have missed working in a psychology related job. This also means that now I am employed by the NHS so have access to internal vacancies (such as Trainee Psychologist posts!). This may be something that you can also fit around your teaching, and would give you much needed experience to get back into clinical psychology.

After two years of struggle, this little foot in the door has given me a massive confidence boost and re-affirmed my decision and my determination about returning to psychology. So please keep going and keep trying - dont give up on your dream!
"The reason cats climb is so that they can look down on almost every other animal - it's also the reason they hate birds" K.C. Buffington

dk200300
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:01 pm

Re: How to get back into Psychology

Post by dk200300 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:23 pm

JustJess wrote:Hi dk200300,

I know your post was a little while ago now, but wanted to weigh in too as someone in a similar boat to you... I can totally empathise!

I graduated back in 2005 with a determination to getting on the road to becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist - I was working in HM Prison Service as a Psychological Assistant and was studying for an MSc. Like you, life hit me all at once which made me reconsider my situation and my career choice. I left my job in HMP and went into an entirely different job altogether, and four years later my yearning to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist has once again resurfaced.

As someone who has also spent nearly two years trying to get back into a psychology related job, I too felt disheartened and felt like all my psychological knowledge, skills, and experience was slowly becoming less and less relevant as the years went by. I have had countless job interviews only to be told that either there was one point between me and the successful candidtate, or that the successful candidate had more relevant skills/knowledge/experience etc than me.

I dont know what your situation is like now, or whether you have managed to move forward in any way, but have you considered doing bank work with the NHS? I have managed to get a Bank Healthcare Assistant job which I can fit around my full time role and work as many or as little shifts as I like, and I can also choose where I want to work. This has opened up a whole avenue of opportunities - I have focussed on working in the medium/low secure hospitals and worked shifts in acute inpatients wards and psychiatric intensive care units. Its early days yet as I have only completed a couple of shifts, however I am already really enjoying it and its made me realise how much I have missed working in a psychology related job. This also means that now I am employed by the NHS so have access to internal vacancies (such as Trainee Psychologist posts!). This may be something that you can also fit around your teaching, and would give you much needed experience to get back into clinical psychology.

After two years of struggle, this little foot in the door has given me a massive confidence boost and re-affirmed my decision and my determination about returning to psychology. So please keep going and keep trying - dont give up on your dream!
Thanks for your response! I haven't taught for a while now. I returned to support work as a bank worker more recently (but not with NHS sadly, with a housing association). It's been a good change in many ways, but I haven't really been doing mental health. I did a few odd days in mental health but I really didn't like the house I was in, so I got moved to a team working on different types of support in the community. It's ok and good to have a change, but the pay is depressing. I could try and go with a different organisation/NHS but I have job-hopped so much already I feel like I need to stick with this at least a bit. I am unable to move location AND can't afford to do any extra courses at the moment - as I would really like to improve my child psychology knowledge and would ideally go into child iapt. I don't like the fact I'm doing a non-graduate job which earn so little and if I'm never going to get anywhere with them. I've even had colleagues saying "why are you doing this?" I just say I wanted a change from teaching but I'm earning around £10,000 a year less! At the same time I don't know what else I can do and everything feels like a big jump! It is hard when most of my friends have moved up to quite high level positions in their careers now and I am about to turn 30 and really would like to have a family one day. Then again, I also feel like if I felt like my career was going a bit further maybe I would be a bit more willing to wait for the family part of life. Phew!

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