Volunteering abroad Post qualification

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Obti
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Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by Obti » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:22 am

I'm currently half way through the doctorate and thinking about my career post qualification, I'd really like to spend some time abroad and travelling before settling into a career in the NHS. I've been thinking about opportunities in less economically prosperous countries or areas with high numbers of refugees who might not have access to psychology.

I know a lot of medics do this after their initial training and I think it would be a really worthwhile experience. However unfortunately the internet isn't very helpful instead turning up lots of paid schemes for people looking to get psychology experience, rather than opportunities for qualified clinical psychologists. Has anyone done anything similar to this? Or have any ideas for post qualification volunteering opportunities abroad?

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miriam
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Re: Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by miriam » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:31 pm

I know a psychologist who took a sabbatical year and worked with street children in south America, as part of a religious organisation, and I know there was a project at the Lancaster course that linked trainees to a project in Uganda, as they wrote about it in the last issue of Aspire. Medecins san frontieres also place mental health staff including clinical psychologists: https://www.msf.org.uk/job-profiles/men ... th-officer but you could also approach other charities - perhaps via the effective altruism network, which support a wide variety of projects all over the world with measurable and cost-effective impact.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lingua_franca
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Re: Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by lingua_franca » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:03 pm

I used to work alongside MSF (not as a clinician) and unless things have changed they want you to have some post-qualifying experience in a specialty relevant to the humanitarian field, such as sexual violence, supporting people with HIV/AIDS, etc. They do work with interpreters but they prefer applicants who can speak a relevant language. Learning French, Arabic, or Spanish would be a good use of your spare time if you're keen to do this.

I know that all healthcare requires cultural sensitivity and some knowledge of local politics and society, but arguably this need is magnified in mental health care, which is why it is not as easy for a foreign CP to find a humanitarian placement abroad as it is for a foreign medic. I would advise you to get in touch with various CP-employing refugee services in this country (Freedom from Torture comes to mind - they're fabulous) and see if you can do any work here that will help you to prepare for work overseas.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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miriam
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Re: Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by miriam » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:38 am

Freedom from torture specifically say they only take office volunteers in the UK, and use local staff to implement their international work. But a conversation with MSF or colleagues from abroad might yield some helpful connections. I know two of the CAMHS psychiatrists I knew in Northamptonshire were involved with the International Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and organised some training events from UK CAMHS staff for professionals in India and Egypt where colleagues had personal connections. That seems less active now, but I did stumble on https://iacapap.org/about/executive-members/ when looking, which seems more active/established.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lingua_franca
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Re: Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by lingua_franca » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:10 am

I was a volunteer with Freedom from Torture. To clarify, I was suggesting that Obti look for a job with them here in the UK (they have CPs and therapists working with refugees in their Manchester and London bases, and possibly in Newcastle as well) as a way to get the relevant experience for overseas work in one of the big humanitarian organisations. They do recruit for paid positions, although usually part-time.

Edited to add: I've just checked their vacancies and they're currently recruiting clinicians to paid posts. It might be too soon for you, OP, but they really are a lovely organisation and I'd recommend keeping an eye on them. I got so much out of my brief time there, and they do amazing work.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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miriam
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Re: Volunteering abroad Post qualification

Post by miriam » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:19 am

Apologies, I wasn’t meaning to contradict your experience. Only to say I’d read on their website a specific note that they don’t set up international volunteering routinely. But it does remind me of our wider conversations about voluntourism and the fact that there are many great projects within the UK where psychology skills could make a big impact...
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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