My initial decision to major in psychology was rationalised with the idea that I could use my degree to help people. Everyone struggles at one point in their lives and being able to help someone is a great opportunity. Furthermore, studying psychology provided something for me that the other subjects didn’t, such as a deeper understanding of my mind and behaviour. After finishing my high school, I joined Bachelor of Arts program as I wished to explore which subject I would have a special interest in and the course consisted of several subjects including Geography, Political Science, Psychology, English, Economics and French. By the end of my first year, I had a fondness towards psychology as it was interesting and chose to learn further about it.
During my second and third year, I studied about Social Psychology, Abnormal Behaviour as well as Statistics. I was fascinated by how the human mind works and how it affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I enjoyed learning about the psychological disorders and the models of abnormality. As I didn’t have an honours in psychology at my college, I decided to take a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology. My master’s program was a 2 year course where I gained extensive knowledge about the different fields in psychology. During my First Semester, I had courses on educational psychology, cognitive psychology, Research Methodology and Statistics. I enjoyed research methodology as I gained a deeper understanding of how to conduct research, the different methods in research and the importance it plays in psychology as it gives scientific evidence on the new perspectives of psychology, psychological theories and factors affecting mental health. In addition to the courses, I did an internship at Agnes Special School where I worked as a special educator for children with Learning Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism and Mental Retardation. Through this internship, I got to know more about childhood disorders and the obstacles they face in their everyday lives. It was extremely challenging
During, my second semester I had courses such as physiological psychology, personality theories, psychological testing and positive psychology. I enjoyed reading about personality theories especially, Alfred Adler’s Individual psychology where he describes inferiority and superiority complexes and also about the birth order and how it influences the style of life. By learning the theories, I gained insight on how personality influences human behaviour. I also had a practical paper on Assessment of Personality where, I was exposed to the various types of personality tests such as Draw a person test, Eysenck personality questionnaire, locus of control, Neo five-factor inventory and many more.
During the third semester, I learned about counselling psychology, psychological intervention and psychopathology. I found psychopathology very interesting as it taught me about the different psychological disorders, their aetiology, diagnosis and the signs and symptoms that make up the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. I became interested in relationships between various biological and environmental factors which can induce disorders.
By the end of my third semester, I worked as an intern for two months at two hospitals. My first clinical internship was at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) for 3 weeks under Dr. S Venkatesan. During my time there, I learned how to collect case histories and conduct Mental Status Examinations (MSE). I conducted various psychometric tests such as Standard and Coloured Progressive Matrices, Seguin Form Board and LD checklist, and also observed various behaviour therapies, parent guidance and counselling, sessions for home training for children with special needs on conditions like mental retardation, learning disability, autism, hearing impairments, cerebral palsy and multiple handicaps. I also presented a poster on Learning Disability as a part of the academic presentation, defining Learning Disability, the problems children with LD face, the management of LD and the rights these children have.
My second clinical internship was at Dr. Panjabrao Alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh Memorial Medical College for four weeks where I worked under the supervision of Dr Shradha Harkanche at the Psychiatric Department. The hospital had in-patient care as well as outpatient care where I could collect case histories and conduct Mental Status Examinations. I got insights into the numerous disorders. I gained an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a clinical psychologist. I also attended several therapies that the psychologist conducted such as Group Therapy for de-addiction patients, Stress Management and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and various psychometric tests such as Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and Rorschach inkblot test. I also conducted psychometric tests such as Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale for Children, CAGE questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, Binet Kamat Test etc.
In the fourth semester, I had courses on behaviour modification and counselling children, adolescents and adults. I was trained in numerous psychotherapy techniques such as Jacobsons Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Autogenic Training, Systematic Desensitisation, and Yoga. I also had to present several case studies that I collected during my internships. I had a 5 days internship at LINK Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts which was aimed at preventing and management of Substance abuse with the focus soon early intervention , community based holistic approach and people’s participation. During my time here, I interacted with several patients who has problems with substance abuse where I was able to take a session on assertiveness training for the patients and also conducted several relaxation techniques such as JPMR and Autogenic training.
Further, I got to know how the rehab centre worked and the different treatment methods used for the patients. I had another 5 days internship at Ave Maria Palliative care, where I counselled with patients who were terminally ill by giving psychological snd social support to the patients and their caregivers. Another internship I had was at Riya Hope Farm which was a residential centre for children with special needs. I was assigned to a child who had autism and conducted behavioural assessment of the child. Once the assessment was over, behaviour modification process was started as the child had difficulty in following the instruction that were given to him. I also had to submit a dissertation as a part of the master’s programme where I presented a research study on ” Marital Adjustment in relation to Life Satisfaction and Gender among Young Adult Married Couples.” I was interested in this topic due to the increasing divorce rates in India notably among the Young – Adult population and to find out whether life satisfaction influences the marital adjustment between couples.
In addition to my courses, I have attended several workshops on counselling and psychotherapy, basic and advanced hypnosis, “Dementia – Remember me” and Paranormality.
After finishing my master’s in psychology, I am currently interning at a psychiatric clinic for where I am working as an assistant counselling psychologist under the guidance of Dr Prakash Chandran. During my time here, I have met patients with a wide range of mental health problems that may occur such as mental health disorders including depression, psychosis, personality disorder, negative life events, bereavement, domestic violence, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, traumas and relationship issues. I have witnessed counselling of both clients and their families, and I have learned to administer and score several psychological tests used in clinical assessment. I have enjoyed working in the clinic and found it very rewarding, not only because of the idea of helping but also because the work was interesting and challenging, as every patient is different and different approaches of counselling are needed. As an assistant counselling psychologist, I was able to learn the different counselling techniques and how to guide patients through empathy and unconditional positive regard.
Upon completion of this masters programme, I intend join a Doctoral programme in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) and to practice as a clinical psychologist, where I can provide a positive influence in the lives of people struggling with psychiatric disorders. My personal characteristics are perfectly adaptable to this profession and I’m highly interested in this field. Moreover, my academic achievements signify my capability to reach the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. I’m also interested in research work and understanding the various mental illness, their treatment as well as their effectiveness. My work experience has proven to me how much more I need to learn before I can attain my goal of becoming an accomplished clinical psychologist.
I am interested to join Goldsmith’s University of London for the Masters course in Foundation in Clinical Psychology and Health Services by the strong emphasis on clinical practice and research methodology as it goes particularly well with what I am looking for in a program. I would be very excited to join the upcoming class for 2018. I feel I am well prepared to enter graduate study, and my strong motivation and career goals are a good match for what the University has to offer.