You Zhou - PhD Student and MSc PDP graduate

Can you remember what you wanted to do when you started your MSc? What did you have in mind?
I wanted to do a PhD on developmental psychology sometime in the future but was not sure about what my research interest was. I was hoping to take time and see what might come up.

Did anything change during the course of the year/training?
Yes, I was able to find research areas that particularly interested me, so I narrowed my interests down and then got ready to apply for a PhD. Most importantly, during that year I also made up my mind about getting clinical training as a child psychoanalyst in the future.

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 course introduced me into the field of psychoanalysis, especially it provided me with a unique perspective to understand child development. I was much clearer about what I wanted to do in terms of my future career.

What did you first feel when the course/training finished? What were your plans?
By the end of the course, I had been accepted to start a PhD at UCL. So my plan was to complete the PhD degree and during that time also to prepare myself to apply for psychoanalytical training at the Institute. I was planning to start self-analysis and to get some clinical experiences.

What were the 2 or 3 most important bits of advice you could give to someone wanting to go down a similar route?
1) Don’t rush into everything very quickly, please take time to really think about what you want to do in the future and whether you are ready for it, because both PhD research work and psychoanalytical training require a huge commitment.

2) It’s very helpful to consult with different people at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. There are people who have been working in the research or/and the clinical field for many years, and they are often very kind and patient.

Anything you shouldn’t do?
I should have planned my time better for the Msc work and I wish I could read more papers other than the ones on the reading list, such as Bion’ work and Lacan’s work.

And what was your journey post MSc in terms of getting experience?
I have been in self-analysis for more than 2 years now and also have found some relevant clinical and research work to do while trying to complete my PhD.

What was the best thing about this? What was the hardest thing?
The best thing in the MSc course is the observation module and it’s also the hardest thing.

Once you started your training or academic programme, what would you say had changed in you?
Curiosity and passion about psychoanalysis.

Why would you recommend this training/path?
I think it is very beneficial for people who are interested in child development. The course is like a gateway, at least for me, to access the rich psychoanalytical field and it has given me a whole different perspective to understand the normal and pathological development in childhood.