Full circle psychology
Rachel Verin’s thirst to interweave education, research and experience is carving out a fascinating career.
Rachel Verin started her career with an undergraduate degree in psychology, which she subsequently underpinned by working as a counsellor. When the urge to study kicked in once more, she embarked on her Master of International Public Health. This led to a position in the paediatric psychiatric outpatient unit of a public hospital in Brazil looking at clinical practice from the research perspective.
Four years later and she felt the call to return to Australia, taking on a role as a counsellor for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It was during that time that she decided to come full circle, back to psychology.
“I became interested in blending the science and the practice,” Rachel explains. “The Master of Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School of Health seemed the perfect fit.”
For Rachel, a key attraction of the Graduate School of Health (GSH) was its youth. She says it has the edge over more established courses because it’s free from old-fashioned approaches and stodgy views and rules.
“GSH’s youth enables it to be agile and future-focused. That was a big motivator for me and the School has lived up to expectations. The teachers are dedicated, innovative and working extremely hard to make it a success,” she continues.
It’s collegiate and collaborative and you're almost treated like a peer of the teaching staff. It’s wonderful to be respected in that way as a student.
The big focus on clinical work was a significant draw card, too. “I really wanted to be exposed to clinical expertise and I haven’t been disappointed.”
Rachel says the new onsite clinical psychology facilities at GSH are particularly impressive. “The clinic is outstanding. It’s very welcoming, there’s lots of natural light and it has a great referral base,” she explains.
“Clinical placements are designed to be safe for clients and students both. Supervisors are always on hand, which is really important if you've never done clinical work before. During my placement, I worked with children, adults and families on issues including depression, anxiety, stress, behavioural problems and emotion dysregulation.”
In addition to working in GSH’s internal clinic, Rachel has done two external placements. She spent time at a NSW Health eating disorders day program and is currently working at a private practice.
“The eating disorders program was really confronting. It was challenging to see young people who are so severely unwell, but the team I was embedded within was very supportive and I learned a lot,” she explains.
“Within the private practice, I’m lucky to be working with a range of clinical presentations within another really supportive team.”
While Rachel has also enjoyed the research component of her Masters, she says that the clinical supervision during placements has been the most valuable part for her.
“This is the thing that makes you grow most as a clinician. Through different supervisors you learn different therapeutic approaches and what resonates best with you. It’s how I’ve started to figure out where my gaps are and the sorts of areas I want to pursue once my degree is over.”
Learn more about Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School of Health