Suwa Eriko - Clinical Psychology Instructor and MSc PDP graduate

What do you do now? Can you tell us briefly about your work?
I’m working as an instructor in an undergraduate/postgraduate clinical psychology course in my country. I’m doing clinical supervisions to students, research about attachment relationships, some lectures (about child development and Play Therapy), and clinical works (assessments and play therapy).

Can you remember what you wanted to do when you started your MSc? What did you have in mind?
I was proud that I could study in the place where many prominent researchers and psychotherapists had studied. I wanted to absorb EVERYTHING.

Did anything change during the course of the year/training?
During the course, I was struggling especially because of my language skills. I was a slow learner and often lost confidence. However, I found that the course was still fascinating and that I could still learn a lot even though I could not get every single word the lecturers said.

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?
My experiences at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families gave me basic but crucial understanding of children’s internal world and development. Also child observations told me how I could adapt these theories to the real kids. I think those experiences have broadened my views in terms of assessing and understanding the kids in my clinical work. Also, I made good friends from several countries. Occasionally we contact each other on FB, and I can see them at international congresses. They stimulate my motivation.

What did you first feel when the course/training finished? What were your plans?
I felt relieved but sad. I regretted that I couldn't absorb everything because I was struggling with English (especially in the Autumn term). At the same time, I felt confidence to start a “more clinical” course or training in the UK. I decided not to go back to my country and took a Play Therapy training course in the U.K.

What are the 2 or 3 most important bits of advice you could give to someone wanting to go down a similar route?
Always keep in mind why and for what you are studying and training for.
Find nice friends.

And what was your journey post MSc in terms of getting experience?
I took a Play Therapy training course in the UK. After going back to my country, I took a PhD course (child development) while I was doing working as a clinical psychologist.

Why did you choose this path?
I had wanted to be a person who can deeply understand kids, and a “supporter” whom they can trust.

Once you got to where you are now, what would you say had changed in you?
Not much changed. But since I started my job in the university, I’m also interested in supporting young students or trainees who want to be clinical psychologists.

Why would you recommend this career?
I like my job because I can do both research and clinical work. I can learn a lot from my students exploring their clinical cases together. It’s exciting.