DPCP Class of 2013

Some of our 2013 DPCP Graduates share their thoughts on completing their postgraduate degree at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

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 Alkistis Patrou              Iti Arora                       Jacob Clarke                  Jessica Sleeter

What did you take away from your experience as an Anna Freud Centre postgraduate? 

The warm relationships developed between students and tutors; always interested, caring and there to support. The garden and the familiar homely atmosphere in a building full of students from all over the world. Alkisti, DPCP

I acquired an attitude of active, informed learning and a curious, reflective approach. I took away principles of evidence-based practice. Most importantly for me, I acquired an ability to approach a case, question, a child or a person from multiple perspectives and think about what might be happening through different lenses.  Iti, DPCP

Socially, my friendships with my course mates was something that proved invaluable throughout the 2 year DPCP course. As we were a small group we provided such a great support for each other throughout the course and helped each other on a personal , clinical and academic level. Jessica, DPCP

I think the teaching sessions in the library were excellent. The first term particularly stands out as I felt the expertise and passion of speakers – particularly the teaching on Freud, current neuroscience, and developmental psychopathology. Having had most of my teaching of the clinical doctorate, very few sessions have matched the standard of teaching I had at AFC every week.  Jacob, DPCP 

What is it specifically about DPCP that you believe has made the biggest difference in where you are right now?

The exposure to multidisciplinary approaches both in relation to theory around child development and clinical work was what made the DPCP masters incredible.One of the best things is getting work experience in a CAMHS or similar service, and there is great supervision throughout, so you never feel alone with your worries. Alkisti, DPCP

The clinical placement, where I was able to see in practice various aspects of clinical work, from assessments to formulations and diagnoses to treatment, really helped develop understanding of the complexity of the work involved. It gave me the tools and skills I needed to subsequently enter a CAMHS service and dive straight into direct work with children and families. Iti, DPCP

What do you wish you had known prior to starting the course?

I suppose maybe being more prepared for the amount of work required, especially emotionally. Alkisti, DPCP

As an international student, I wish I had better knowledge of the various support services available to me at UCL. I struggled a lot in the beginning, unfamiliar with the academic system here. It might have made my first half a year a lot smoother if I had accessed the support services. Iti, DPCP

I also wish I appreciated more at the time just how distinguished and respected some of the guest lecturers were. Mary Target, Peter Fonagy and Alessandra Lemma, just to name a few, were all discussed or recommended reading on my doctorate and I feel very lucky to have been lectured by them at AFC. Jessica, DPCP      

Where are you now?

My experiences on the master’s helped me get a brilliant post as an assistant psychotherapist in an adolescent inpatient unit, where I learnt an enormous amount, and which really was particularly helpful for getting onto the training. It took another year of covering the requirements for applying and with the support from the course leads from the AFC I got on the doctoral training. Alkisti, DPCP

After completing the MSc, I went on to work in a private CAMHS service in Delhi, India, for 2 years. I returned to London to acquire some further skills in neurocognitive research and I am going to start my PhD at Nottingham soon, where I will conduct developmental neurocognitive research. I hope to eventually combine research with clinical developmental work. Iti, DPCP

I am currently enrolled at City University of London about to enter the third and final year of the doctorate course in Counselling Psychology. I have been working on placement at a drug and alcohol centre for the past 2 years. I also did a year long placement at an IAPT service delivering short term CBT to clients with mild to moderate mental health problems. I hope to soon be starting a new year-long placement in a secondary school where I will be counselling young people. Jessica, DPCP

Entering third year of clinical psychology doctorate. I’ve just finished my placement at a cancer psychological service, and I’m going to spend my final year working in Camden in a specialist personality disorder placement for adults. I’ve clearly held on to some of the AFC interests in developmental trauma and this has drawn me to such a placement. I’m doing my research into the experiences of illness in a physically unwell homeless population at the Royal London Hospital. Jacob, DPCP       

Where to next? 

I am currently in my third out of four years of training, and it’s so full on that it’s hard to think much beyond that at the moment! It feels like I’ve chosen the right career path, so post qualification I imagine working as a child and adolescent psychotherapist. Alkisti, DPCP

Upon successful (and hopefully on-time) completion of the doctorate in Sept 2017 I hope to go straight into employment but I am not quite sure where yet. I am hoping to work part time in the NHS and part time privately. I plan to move back to my home country of Bermuda in a few years time where it is mainly privatised work.  Jessica, DPCP

I think I want to work in the future with adults, and then with adolescents. I think my placement with people with personality disorder will equip me with a lot of the therapy skills I need for working in any field to be honest. I’ve moved away from working with children and families, but adolescents could be the ideal in between.  Jacob, DPCP