Debbie Radzinsky - Social Work/Counsellor and MSc PDP graduate

What do you do now? Can you tell us briefly about your work?
I just finished a Master’s in social work at Hunter College and working at The Hunter College Counselling Centre. While working at the Counselling Centre I provided assessment and short-term counselling to undergraduate and graduate students of all ages. Prior to that I worked at an Elementary school in New York city providing individual and group counselling to children ages 4 to 11.

Can you remember what you wanted to do when you started your MSc? What did you have in mind?
I wanted to work with children and families in different settings and that is what I have accomplished. I have been able to do that in different settings, hospitals, mental health clinics and schools.

Did anything change during the course of the year/training?
Yes! I learned so much about child development, something that has supported my work through these years and still does whether I work with children or adults. I believe that the understanding of child development is key for the clinician to work according to the person’s developmental needs, which ultimately brings healing.

Besides academics, My year at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families was one of the best years of my life! I met amazing friends with whom I am still in touch and the love of my life David, who is now my husband.

What do you think was the greatest thing you took from your course at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families into your subsequent training/work?
The understanding of child development and the ability to observe people closely, respectfully and actively. Observation and analysis are skills that I learned during the training at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, which I use in my everyday work.

What did you first feel when the course/training finished? What were your plans?
I was so happy and excited to have finished and also sad to say good-bye to friends that left London after the first year. I planned to start the analytic training at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. I started analysis and did the second year mother-baby observation.

What were the 2 or 3 most important bits of advice you could give to someone wanting to go down a similar route?
I would say go for it! You will have an incredible experience! The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is an amazing place for learning and growing as a person and as a clinician. The knowledge you will get there will stay with you forever and wherever you go people will know where you come from. I have gotten several jobs in the UK and U.S.A because I had training at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. Professionals in the field of psychology and social work know and respect the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families deeply. Moreover, you will meet wonderful and interesting people from all over the world who will enrich your experience with their cultural differences and interests.

And what was your journey post MSc in terms of getting experience?
After the MSc I started working at the Refugee Support Centre in South London providing psychotherapy to adults, children and families victims of trauma. Then, I moved to New York and worked at a Mental Health clinic providing counselling to adults, adolescents and families. Next, I worked at Mount Sinai Hospital running groups for foster and biological parents promoting co-parenting. I also worked with foster children promoting sibling bond and resilience. Last, I worked in an elementary school and Hunter College counselling centre as I mentioned above.

Why did you choose this path?
My interest has always been in children and families. I like the idea of working with children because there is so much potential. In addition working with families is crucial since they constitute the child’s main environmental influence.

Once you got to where you are now, what would you say had changed in you?
I am a lot more aware and mindful of cultural differences as well as social issues that affect mental health for children and families. I have learned that there are many ways to achieve change and healing. I feel privileged to have been exposed to many therapeutic approaches and different teams with whom I have learned to be a better clinician.

Why would you recommend this career?
If this is your calling, you will enjoy it everyday! Going to work will be fulfilling for your heart and stimulating for your mind.