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Each person I have worked with has added a particular aspect to the therapist I am today.

More about Roberta

We spoke with Roberta about her time at NTU and her career journey after graduating NTU as a Psychology Alumni. Roberta explains the difficulties in her career journey that she worked through to move into her desired sector of clinical psychology, where she currently works as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.

Tell us why you chose to study at NTU?

I chose to study at NTU because I had heard good things about the university itself and Nottingham as a city. I booked an open day and as soon as I got off the tram and saw the campus, I knew this was the university I wanted to be at. I loved the fact that it was a city campus, so everything like shops/bars/train station etc were walking distance from the University. The city campus felt modern, open and spacious considering the city location. Nottingham itself was an easy trip up the M1 from where I used to live with my parents, far enough away to be independent but not far enough away to make getting home difficult.

Tell us about your memories of NTU?

In lectures I learned so much about psychology- different approaches, schools of thought, research methods. I improved my academic writing and knowledge of statistics. I gained confidence by taking part in group tasks and delivering presentations. Outside of lectures I was involved in sport. I joined the equestrian society in my first year and I played rugby throughout my time at NTU. In my second year I was VP of NTU women’s rugby team and president in my third year. During this time, I learned more about rugby, fitness, nutrition, leadership and team management. When I look back at this time in my life, I smile about all the friends and memories I made.

What did you do that enhanced your employment prospects?

I did use the employability service and I worked part-time at the student union during my studies, this allowed me to survive financially and was also good work experience.

What does your current working day involve?

As a CBT therapist within an NHS service, I have a caseload of patients that I typically see once a week for up to an hour. I aim to see 20-25 patients per week. I have monthly clinical supervision to discuss patients and attend locality meetings to discuss how to improve the service for our staff and patients. I also have monthly line management meetings.

What attracted you to this field of work?

I knew that I loved the field of psychology as soon as I started doing it at A-level. So, my career focus was always going in that direction. I would describe myself as a caring and compassionate person; I always enjoy being able to help other people. So a career as a therapist made perfect sense to me as it combined the subject I really enjoyed and my drive to help others.

What challenges or setbacks have you faced?

I remember knowing that I wanted a career in clinical psychology whilst studying at NTU, but the pathway to this career wasn’t clear to me. I have found it difficult to get to the point where I am in my career today. The biggest challenge for me was trying to have a career in psychology itself. It very much feels like the odds are against you at times but, from my experience, if you persist and keep believing in yourself, you will get there.

I had to work hard to find relevant experience in the direction I wanted to go. I worked for years in varied roles such as a prison officer, victim support, and a substance misuse recovery worker. Once I had completed my additional master’s degree, I managed to gain a few hours a week as an unpaid assistant psychologist. I did this alongside my full-time role as a recovery worker for over a year before becoming a full-time paid assistant psychologist role.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

Highlights have been the incredible variety of experience that a career in psychology can offer you. I have worked in so many different settings with so many different people, and each moment has helped me develop as a clinician. Each person I have worked with has added a particular aspect to the therapist I am today.

What are your plans for the future?

Part of me still wants a career in clinical psychology. This would involve getting onto a DClinpsy course (which is another challenge within itself). Having applied in the past and been unsuccessful, this may be something I look to do again in the future.

At the moment, I intend to keep working for the NHS therapy service I am currently with and build my experience and confidence as a CBT therapist. In a couple of years, I may drop to part-time hours within the NHS and split the rest of my time between private practice and working for a substance misuse charity.

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at Uni?

I would tell myself to appreciate this time of my life because it is a truly wonderful and unique moment that you will never have again.

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