Julia Gale - Clinical Psychologist and MSc PDP graduate

Can you remember what you wanted to do when you started your MSc? What did you have in mind?
I was always fairly certain I wanted to do Clinical Psychology training.
Did anything change during the course of the year/training?
No, although I did start to think about doing Child Psychotherapy training after Clin Psych training.

What do you think was the greatest thing you took from your course at the AFC into your subsequent training/work?
It has been hugely beneficial in terms of the observation skills I developed at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and use of these to inform my thinking about children/families I’m working with. The theoretical training on the MSc gave me much more depth of knowledge of a psychoanalytic approach than I would have gained from just doing Clinical Psychology training. This has been helpful for providing me with an alternative perspective to draw on in my thinking about and direct work with clients. I now work in the field of attachment so use knowledge gained on the MSc daily in my work.

What did you first feel when the course/training finished? What were your plans?
Relief that the reading was over for a bit! I started work as an assistant psychologist immediately after the MSc in a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (the MSc definitely helped me to secure this post).

What were the 2 or 3 most important bits of advice you could give to someone wanting to go down a similar route?
Sell the skills/knowledge gained on the MSc to show these are transferable to the clinical psychology – which they definitely are. Most people have been very interested to talk about it when they see it on my CV/job applications.

And what was your journey post MSc in terms of getting experience?
I was lucky and had one assistant psychology post in child mental health and then went on to Clinical Psychology training.

What was the best thing about this? What was the hardest thing?
Loved the post, and seeing how the things I’d learnt on the MSc fitted with children I worked with. Training is obviously hard work and stressful though so that is hard at times.

Once you started your training or academic programme, what would you say had changed in you?
I was more confident in what type of work I wanted to do and I had more knowledge in general about child development/psychoanalysis etc. I think I was also more prepared for the demands of clinical psychology training in terms of workload and therefore more confident I could get through it.

Why would you recommend this training/path?
I think the MSc has been very influential in the type of clinical psychologist I’ve become. An MSc does help in terms of demonstrating academic ability when courses are selecting for Clin Psych training. For anyone planning on ultimately working with children it adds another perspective to skills that I feel are usually covered in more depth on many Clin Psych training courses e.g.CBT or Systemic approaches.