What I really wanted was that clinical expertise and that is what you get at UTS.
Tell us about yourself!
I studied psychology as an undergraduate and got a role as a counsellor after that.
After working for a few years as a counsellor, I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact, on a systemic scale. I studied a Master of International Public Health, which led me to work at a public hospital in Sao Paulo in the Paediatric Psychiatry Department, working with young kids with behavioural and mood disorders. I learned Portuguese while I was there and speak fluently now!
I stayed there for about four years, and when I came back to Australia, I got a job as a counsellor working for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. While I was there, I decided to re-enrol and finish my psychology studies. I entered the honours year via correspondence at Charles Sturt University and then was able to get into the Master of Clinical Psychology at UTS. By then I was very sure about what I wanted to do and ready for it!
Why did you choose UTS?
The fact that it was a new program was actually part of the decision.
I have done a few degrees and I have studied at some of the major Sydney universities. While they are excellent and the courses well established, UTS was a newer course – it made me feel like the staff would be very dedicated and innovative. I also like that it’s not hampered by old fashioned, stodgy university rules. That was a big motivator and it definitely lived up to it.
It feels collegiate and collaborative; you're almost treated like the peers of the teaching staff. It is wonderful to be respected in that way as a student. It certainly feels like they’re invested in new research and all the knowledge that is regularly coming out.
In my interview, one of the things I was interested in was if the teaching staff also work clinically – which turned out to be the case. I already knew how to do research, what I really wanted was that clinical expertise and that is what you get at UTS.
How has your experience been?
The new clinic is outstanding. The space itself is very welcoming for clients. It is in the heart of the city, so there is a good referral base as well. The administrative support is incredible and the clinical supervision you receive on placements in the clinic is supportive. Their expertise is second to none.
The teaching environment is great. The large, diverse cohort encourages wonderful discussion and collaboration. The role-plays are a great way to learn in smaller groups and then coming back to a group allows for that great diversity of viewpoints and perspectives, which are invaluable in a discipline like psychology where things are not black and white.
One of the most special things about my degree is the cohort. Everybody brings something unique to the table, to the discussion – there is no judgement, it feels like a very safe place to mess up. If you're doing clinical role-plays, you want to know that the people you're doing that with are going to be understanding, and they are!
I've made great friends. There is a broad range of ages and backgrounds, and we're all experiencing the same stressors and challenges. It's a supportive environment.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I'd love to do a PhD, but my husband would kill me! I actually cannot wait to start working. I'd love to do a combination of things. Private practice is a good place to start, but only part-time. I'm also passionate about wellbeing and mental health in the workplace, so I have ideas about doing consulting or working with organisations about their culture and how they support their employees. Some combination of things!