Honorary Assistant Psychologist

SLVeteran Jack

Education: Psychology (Hons) BSc Sandwich Degree - Bournemouth University, UK

SLV.Global Placement: Mental Health Placement, May 2015

Current Role: 'Since my placement, I returned to university to complete my final year to get my first! During that year I worked as a peer assisted learning leader delivering lectures to prospective placement year students which allowed me to really hone the public speaking skills I had gained from the English placements. I also worked as a research assistant helping to plan, run and analyse a research project relating to social attention with individuals with autism and borderline personality disorder. Upon finishing my exams I was contracted for another research assistant role within the Faculty of Health and Social Services. This role required me to formulate a report and presentation on the use of the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service's data repository for the use of secondary researchers.'

Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: 'What an incredible experience! I went out to Sri Lanka on the Mental Health Placement as a coordinator for 12 weeks in the summer of 2016. I had just completed my placement year as a honorary assistant psychologist and so I was keen to put my clinical skills to practice in Sri Lanka. It was an incredible opportunity for me to take the reins in terms of formulating therapeutic activities for our service users. I was constantly using my initiative and problem-solving skills to best design sessions to address our service user's needs. SLV's workshops definitely help in that regard as I was able to confidently deliver not only the clinical sessions but also the English lessons as well as special needs projects. The breadth of experiences that I accumulated whilst on placement was one of kind! As well as our weekly projects, I was able to work within a detention center for young men, shadow a psychiatrist within a pioneer addiction clinic and work with leading Sri Lanka clinicians to help formulate psychiatric patient's care plans. These experiences were very different to any I had in the UK however whilst working I truly felt like I was gaining an understanding of cultural differences in regard to mental health treatment. I also took full advantage of the Samutthana workshops offered such as the use of imagery in treating PTSD and how to conduct creative therapy sessions. As Samutthana is partnered with KCL I knew that the workshops would be of high quality and I thought I could definitely use these to develop professionally. I also really valued the supervision session at the end of my 12 weeks, it helped contextualise my experiences, helped me identify the skills I had developed and really made me appreciate my whole experience. I also made really close friends, had an awesome 21st birthday in Arugam Bay and came away with a real love for the Sri Lankan culture. I'll look forward to the day I return!'

Tell us what you gained from the placement: 'As well as the gaining another 3 months clinical experience I was able to develop a whole host of skills. Probably the most important ones for my own professional development were the development of a real emotional resilience when working in highly emotive situations, an ability to communicate empathy and sensitivity when language barriers were present and an ability to lead a therapeutic team in an unusual and challenging environment.'

'It is likely that the placement is going to continue to be useful for the foreseeable future. I am constantly using my interpersonal, organisational and problem-solving skills to meet challenging deadlines. When working with people who have mental health problems I find myself employing the non-verbal communication techniques I developed whilst on placement to complement my verbal communication skills. Furthermore, I now find myself taking the absolute full advantage of the tools that are available here in the UK in order to fully optimise my care. It is also a really unique experience to have that sets you apart from other graduates!'