How I gained Clinical Psychology Work Experience and more with SLV.Global
Written by previous SLV.Global Volunteer, Rosie
In 2018, I embarked on the journey of a lifetime. I joined SLV.Global to get some psychology work experience in Sri Lanka for 12 weeks. My previous experience involved doing some office work, however, what I really wanted was clinical experience without getting involved in the cycle of needing experience to get experience. After a couple of months of researching opportunities, I was so glad when I found SLV.Global, which provides clinical, hands on experience. I knew I had to apply to get my foot into the field of mental health work and I knew it would be a great idea to go on a placement in a completely different culture.
While on my mental health placement in Sri Lanka, we spent the weeks getting invaluable psychology work experience, running therapeutic workshops with various different clients and in lots of different settings such as schools, communities and inpatient psychiatric facilities. What I liked about SLV.Global before joining was that they had various placements catered to different levels of experience, but this was further cemented by the amount of support we got by the team once we arrived in country. They were great at giving everyone the training and support needed depending on their level of previous experience before joining, and this helped increase my confidence.
I really enjoyed being able to gain hands-on experience in so many different psychology-related areas, as I quickly realised all the skills I learned would be applicable across the board. I thought I wanted purely clinical psychology experience because that was the only avenue I had known to go into, but my placement with SLV.Global helped open my horizons to other opportunities. I hadn’t realised how crucial it would be to understand other areas within psychology, without being vincolated to the ‘clinical’ side, but also how much all areas overlapped once we started focusing on the promotion of positive mental health as a means of preventing mental illness rather than curing it.
Some of my favourite projects were the English for Development projects, on which we used English as a way of helping children and young adults gain the necessary skills to succeed as adults. Through these projects, I was able to learn so much about developmental psychology, and how crucial it is to promote positive mental health from a young age, and by supporting and nurturing their already existing skills, we can help children get the best possible future they deserve. These projects were such an eye-opener and they allowed me to find a passion for developmental, child and educational psychology that I didn’t know I had.
I mostly appreciated gaining such important experience in another culture, as the experience has allowed me to become more culturally sensitive, which in turn means I will be able to work effectively with clients and patients from different cultural backgrounds to my own. Another aspect of the placement that I loved was being able to work with other volunteers who came from different experiential and cultural backgrounds. Having that exchange of ideas and dialogue about which activities to run made sure we delivered the highest quality support.
The placement was not without its challenges at times due to having to overcome the language barrier and being in a completely different environment, but it made me work even harder and I loved the challenge! Being on placement really increased my confidence, my self awareness, independence and resilience. I really did learn so much about myself and other people. I would highly recommend this placement with SLV.Global if you’re looking to get more psychology work experience. Since I have come home I have applied much of what I have learnt, especially in the roles I have obtained since I returned to the UK.