|Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner|
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A day in the life of a Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in the United Kingdom
I struggled to find a job initially and ended up applying for jobs that perhaps I didn't really want to do. I would suggest doing volunteering in a few different areas after you graduate and taking the time to find out what you enjoy.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
Currently working for the NHS.
What do you do?
I assess patients with common mental health problems, to decide the most appropriate step of treatment for them. I also treat patients with mild to moderate anxiety and depression using low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
As a senior psychological well-being practitioner I also provide weekly case management supervision to other Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, run team meetings, and training sessions for the team.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I always knew I wanted a job where I was helping others, and a job that I enjoyed. After studying Psychology, I got a job at a charity where I provided holistic support for service users with driving offences. While I enjoyed this job, I felt this was not directly related enough to my Psychology degree, and I wanted job where there was structured progression. This is when I started looking in to the PWP role, which fitted in to everything I wanted out of a career.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
No, I feel very grateful to be able to do a job directly related to my degree.
Describe your most memorable day at work
One patient I treated had suffered with agoraphobia for years. I treated her for 6 sessions with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, and after this she was able to go outside, take the bus, and do things she hadn't been able to do for a long time. This was particularly rewarding as we had limited sessions to complete her therapy in, and we made extremely good progress in this time. It was amazing to see the positive effects that low intensity therapy can have.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Many people can be put off from applying to the PWP role because of associated burnout. As a PWP, you manage quite a high caseload of patients - for example, I can have 6x45 minute on one day. Furthermore, there are some cases, particularly during assessments, where you will be listening to trauma. Having a good level of resilience is important, as well as being able to organise your time.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I volunteered at OpenMinds for the three years throughout University, who deliver mental health workshops in schools. This was great experience that I used to apply for my PWP role. It gave me experience delivering group presentations, as well as learning how common mental health problems can present.
I also volunteered at NightSafe, and some other places unrelated to my degree such as volunteering to do records management at the Archives.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
I struggled to find a job initially and ended up applying for jobs that perhaps I didn't really want to do. I would suggest doing volunteering in a few different areas after you graduate and taking the time to find out what you enjoy. There can be so much pressure to find a graduate level job straight after you finish University. I got a job in a cafe initially to earn some money, and volunteered on the days I wasn't working. Eventually I ended up with my first job at the place I was volunteering at (a charity helping offenders). I'm really glad I did this.
Ultimately I found that getting a job, whatever it was, took the initial pressure off me and meant I could find a job I really wanted to do.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
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