Learning on the job: UTS Clinical Psychology Placements
For UTS Master of Clinical Psychology student Nathan Sakiris, gaining real-world experience during clinical placements has been a highlight of his degree.
Reflecting on my experience so far, I can say with confidence that completing my first clinical placement at the UTS Psychology Clinic has provided me with the foundational knowledge and skills to develop and carry forward throughout my career.
Looking back, prior to commencing the program at UTS, I can remember the prospect of working face-to-face with clients to be quite daunting, as translating my theoretical knowledge into practical skills seemed to be a difficult and unfamiliar task. Luckily, for myself and my colleagues, the UTS Clinical Psychology Masters program is designed to quickly scaffold theoretical understandings of mental illness towards clinical application throughout semester 1, with practical experience through placements being offered in semester 2. This structure not only deepened our understanding of mental illness through theoretical investigation, but also challenged us to develop a clinical understanding and approach towards psychopathology.
This was specifically fostered through the care and dedication of the friendly UTS staff, who provided the optimal flipped learning environment to question and pick the brains of practicing clinical psychologists, and develop key skills through collaborative learning, live and recorded lecturer demonstrations, case study reviews, and closely supervised role plays. I personally found this to be an invaluable experience, as having the opportunity to practice techniques within a safe and supportive environment gave me the chance to develop the experience and skill to confidently approach clinical practice. By the completion of our first semester in the program, each of us were well equipped with a catalogue of skills and resources, which again proved to be invaluable for our first placement in the following semester.
The optimal blend of autonomy and support provided by clinical supervision positioned us in the forefront of our learning experience, which is essential for us to develop the skills to continue our own personal professional development, when working in the field.
UTS GSH Master of Clinical Psychology student, Nathan Sakiris
From the beginning of our placement during our second semester, we were provided with a platform of ongoing support and assistance through our weekly supervision sessions. This was perhaps the most valuable experience in terms of my own professional development, as it taught me not only how to identify and reflect on our own strengths and weaknesses, but also demonstrated to us how to thrive within a professional team. The UTS Psychology Clinic also functions as a great space for peer learning, as the opportunity to learn and develop skills alongside a cohort of like-minded individuals with a vast array of experience and knowledge, has provided each of us with the chance to learn a variety of skills and clinical approaches, beyond what is taught in classroom settings.
Reflecting upon how the UTS Clinical Psychology Masters program has supported my transition towards professional clinical practice, it is clear that this experience has not only set me on a track towards confidently completing my professional training, but has also prepared me with key skills and competencies, which I will carry throughout my professional career.
Written by UTS Clinical Psychology student, Nathan Sakiris