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Foundations in Clinical Psychology Masters personal statement

I am extremely self-motivated, organised, flexible and confident in my skills to achieve what is expected of me and beyond, to the best of my ability. I am able to work on my own initiative, under instruction or as part of a team and I believe all these characteristics will aid me in completing the Foundations in Clinical Psychology Masters. Clinical psychology synthesizes my wide-range of interests in a very meaningful way: this course encompasses a variety of things; research, debate, diversity and much more, which are all areas of personal interest.

I graduated from the University of Northampton in the last academic year having achieved a First-Class degree in Psychology. I believe my biggest achievement during my time at university, and something I thoroughly enjoyed conducting, was my dissertation, which was graded A+. My dissertation involved an independent, primary research project, in which I completed a large-scale (433 participants) mediated moderated path analysis on the predicting factors of eating disorders. I explored 4 contributing factors to the development of eating disorders, and ultimately my research indicated that self-criticism and perfectionism significantly predict disordered eating. Perfectionism mediates the relationship between self-criticism and disordered eating as well as difficulties in emotion regulation and disordered eating and fears of compassion moderate the relationship between self-criticism and disordered eating. My dissertation also proposed targets for treatment interventions and highlighted opportunities for future research. My dissertation attracted the attention of the academic staff at the University. I presented at a BPS conference in September 2017 and my research will hopefully be submitted for publication.

My interest in mental health stems from a life-long passion for helping others. I currently work as a Healthcare Assistant at the Darwin Centre for Young People, an NHS children’s psychiatric hospital. In my current position, I provide support and care for young people with mental health needs and to their carers, within a multidisciplinary team. This role has equipped me with a variety of skills which I believe are essential to becoming a clinical psychologist, including; compassion and empathy, effective communication and interpersonal skills, knowledge of laws, regulation and ethics, open-mindedness and patience. Working in mental health has great purpose; every day making me stretch my understanding a little more.

Prior to this role, and whilst completing my degree, I gained work experience volunteering at Berrywood, which is also a children’s psychiatric hospital. I have also spent time working as a Residential Youth Support Worker, which involved undertaking placements at a variety of children’s homes, where the individuals had an array of complex needs including: special needs, mental health difficulties and challenging behaviours. This experience taught me how to respond, communicate and act effectively around vulnerable individuals with a variety of needs and diagnoses, which at times can be quite challenging. My work experience, along with knowledge gained from my degree (specifically in mental health and research), has motivated me to strive towards a career helping those who really need it, despite the challenging nature of the role.

I trust that the modules I undertook in my final year at University have aided me with fundamental knowledge that will support the modules that the Foundations in Clinical Psychology Masters offer. I completed modules entitled; The Developing Child, The Developing Adult, Psychology of Mental Health and Forensic Psychology. Forensic Psychology provided me with an understanding of psychological models and theories that can be useful in understanding offending behaviours whilst Psychology of Mental Health focused on the work of clinical psychologists and the understanding and treatment of mental health problems. The Developing Child looked at a range of contemporary matters around typical and atypical development in adolescence and childhood whilst considering social, behavioural and emotional development and The Developing Adult offered a broader understanding of adult development, including a range of diverse areas such as health, social and clinical development, including attachment.

The core modules this Masters offer appeal to me, as they are all essential towards helping me develop a further in-depth understanding of mental health. As previously mentioned, I believe this course will help me develop my understanding of mental health and although experience is essential in this field, the practical and theoretical knowledge that this course will provide me with will be a vital component to how I deliver a good service to those living with mental health problems. I have a particular interest in the Quantitative Research Methods module which is reflected in the methods I used in my dissertation; multiple regressions and mediated moderated path analysis. I believe I have a robust knowledge of research methods, statistical analysis (in particular SPSS) and the importance of ethical guidelines and I look forward to improving this knowledge and carrying out further studies.

I love to learn and I believe this course will help me stretch my understanding of mental health including the assessment, diagnosis, formulation and treatment. I possess a very strong drive to do something worthy as a life-long profession, and I believe this course would put me in the perfect position to continue my academic career to complete a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and the research skills to continue onto further professional training in clinical psychology to achieve my ultimate goal in a career as a qualified psychologist.

This University is highly credited and is named one of the top 350 institutions in the world. I would feel highly privileged to be offered the opportunity to study at such a successful, ambitious, high quality institution. Not to mention the world-leading, impactful research that the different departments have conducted. I have a strong interest in research, and after spending some time researching the lecturers on this course, it is obvious I have many shared interests and it is an exciting prospect for me that I may be given the opportunity to study alongside them.

One lecturer who I share an interest with is Hugo Senra; predominately a shared interest in general mental health and psychotherapy. My goal of being a psychologist heavily relates to this research field, because many psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy when working with those with mental health problems. My previous research focused on adult mental health, however I am equally interested in studying adolescent mental health since gaining experience working with adolescents. Additionally, Dr Jonathan Totman and his research which focuses on staff and service users’ experiences of providing/receiving psychological care, following working in mental health services. I can relate to his research, and the factors highlighted in his study; ‘Factors affecting staff morale on inpatient mental health wards in England: a qualitative investigation’. This research is particularly important to me, working in a psychiatric hospital myself and knowing that it is the multidisciplinary team that I work in that can determine positive patient experiences and strong therapeutic relationships. The conclusions of this research are evident on the ward I work on and it is extremely interesting to read applicable studies and therefore I would be extremely interested in exploring Dr Jonathan Totman’s research interests in my own research.
Having only recently finished University, I am an enthusiastic graduate, excited to continue my educational career completing this Masters. I am confident that my knowledge and experience gained from my University degree and work, my passion for the subject and my strong organisational, self-motivating, planning and communication skills make me an ideal student for this Masters course.

16 04 2018

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