Show Notes for The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast Episode: How to become a trainee clinical psychologist in record time!
Thank you for listening to the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast.
I often get asked how people can speed up the process to getting onto clinical training and usually my answer is – you can’t really – you have to earn your stripes!
But today’s guest, Nikita, turns all of that advice upside down and back to front!
I hope you find it such an interesting and inspiring listen.
I’d of course love any feedback you might have, and I’d love to know what your offers are and to be connected with you on socials so I can help you to celebrate your wins!
Follow Nikita on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NikitaRachel_
💝To support me by donating to help cover my costs for the free resources I provide click here: https://the-aspiring-psychologist.captivate.fm/support
To check out The Clinical Psychologist Collective Book: https://amzn.to/3jOplx0
To check out The Aspiring Psychologist Collective Book: https://amzn.to/3CP2N97
To check out or join the aspiring psychologist membership for just £30 per month head to: https://www.goodthinkingpsychology.co.uk/membership-interested
Get your Supervision Shaping Tool now: https://www.goodthinkingpsychology.co.uk/supervision
Grab your copy of the new book: The Aspiring Psychologist Collective: https://amzn.to/3CP2N97
Connect socially with Marianne and check out ways to work with her, including the upcoming Aspiring Psychologist Book and The Aspiring Psychologist Membership on her Link tree: https://linktr.ee/drmariannetrent
To join my free Facebook group and discuss your thoughts on this episode and more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aspiringpsychologistcommunity
Like, Comment, Subscribe & get involved:
If you enjoy the podcast, please do subscribe and rate and review episodes. If you'd like to learn how to record and submit your own audio testimonial to be included in future shows head to: https://www.goodthinkingpsychology.co.uk/podcast and click the blue request info button at the top of the page.
#aspiringpsychologist #dclinpsy #dclin #psychology #assistantpsychologist #psychologycareers #podcast #psychologypodcast #clinicalpsychologist #mentalhealth #traineeclinicalpsychologist #clinicalpsychology #drmariannetrent #mentalhealthprofessional #mentalhealthprofessionals #traineepwp #qualifiedpsychologist #traineepsychologist #aspiringpsychologists #podcasting #psychologycourse #pwp #clearinghouse
In today’s episode we are chatting to a brand new incoming trainee clinical psychologist, who has recently learned she has gained a place on clinical training. Listen to the whole episode to learn more about her, her unique take on the world and her journey to getting there. She also gives us her top tips towards the end of the session too. So I do hope you find it useful.Jingle Guy (:
This Podcasted Mary,Dr Marianne Trent (:
Hi to you. Welcome along to the Aspiring Psychologist podcast. I am Dr. Marianne Trent and I'm a qualified clinical psychologist. One of the questions I get asked really pretty often is, how can I get an assistant psychologist post? How long will it take me after I've graduated? When can I expect to get on clinical training? Is it too soon for me to get on clinical training? Why aren't I getting on clinical training? Is it my age? Is it my experience? Is it because I've had previous mental health experience? And today's episode is with somebody that has just in the last few weeks been notified that they've been successful at a doctorate in clinical psychology interview. So come September they will be a trainee clinical psychologist. I'm joined today by Nikita. Nikita is so wonderful to listen to and to speak with. If you've read the Aspiring Psychologist Collective, you might well recognise her name and her story because she is in there and she's as thoughtful and compassionate and wonderful in person as you'd want her to be having read about her on the paper as well.(:
I loved our chat and I could have spoken to her for ages. So I hope you'll find it useful and I will look forward to catching up with you on the other side. If you do find this episode helpful, please do like and subscribe. I'll catch you soon.(:
Hi, welcome along to our guest for today. I am joined by Nikita. Nikita, thank you so much for, for coming to say hi to us.(:
Oh, thank you for inviting me and a massive congratulations because a little birdie, in fact you on Twitter told me that you have been accepted onto a doctoral training course to start in September, haven't you?Nikita (:
I have Not sure it's sunk in yet, but yeah. Come on Tim. Yeah,Dr Marianne Trent (:
Well done. How have you been celebrating or has it just been with a big long nap.Nikita (:
Pretty much. I've had lots of downtime. I think it's quite a stressful experience having interviews. So lots of, lots of naps, lots of downtime and a few trips away at the weekend. We stayed in a lodge just after interviews, so that was a nice way to celebrate and unwind.Dr Marianne Trent (:
So Nice. Sounds amazing. Yeah, just I guess really nourish yourself and do lots of nice things. Enjoy having no assignments between now and September, is what I would say.Nikita (:
Yeah, absolutely. It's the calm before the storm, isn't it?Dr Marianne Trent (:
It is. But that said, I loved it, you know? I knew it would be tricky and I knew there'd be assignments and I knew there'd be juggling the work life balance, but I did really enjoy it. There were bits that were less enjoyable. Of course there were. But I hope you find that it really helps you thrive as well.Nikita (:
I'm really excited. I'm sure it will. Even just thinking about the different placements and getting to work where I've never looked before that's exciting. Hard work but exciting.Dr Marianne Trent (:
Yeah. And when it comes to, if you are on a course where you get to choose your specialist placements, that's so cool. Cause you're like, well, I'd love to do that. And you go, can I do that? And they go, yes. And you're like, amazing. I've just created a job for myself and you know, I'm the only applicant and they said yes, that has not happened at any point of our career so far.Nikita (:
Yeah, especially withthe University of East Anglia. They have an international training opportunity for the third year, so you can choose to go to Australia or Malaysia. That's exciting as well. Not knowingwhere my interests might take me and not knowing what that third year might look like. I think everything's so interesting at this point. There's no tellingDr Marianne Trent (:
And that's so nice because it really does free you up to make the decisions that are right for you. And even among your cohort, it might be that going abroad is right for some of you, but going abroad is not gonna be right for everybody. Because we've all got different circumstances. Now it's useful to think a little bit about your circumstances cause we were talking just before we began and I know a little bit about your story anyway, because you've been a regular on our compassionate q and as. It's always lovely to see you pop up. You were, a YouTube watcher, aren't you? You like to watch via YouTube, but also you contributed to the Aspiring psychologist collective book that we've published in October, 2022. And so I feel like I know a little bit about you. I almost wore my Kashmir jumper to our chat today, but it's quite warm in our house today, so I didn'tbut could you tell us a little bit about you and about your journey if that's all right?Nikita (:
Yeah, absolutely. It was a bit unconventional for me. I kind of wanted to figure out where I wanted to work, mental healthwise before I decided to go to uni. So for me, that looked like getting a foot in the door of the nhs first. So my first job I was an apprentice and I think at that time it was band one minus 25% which doesn't exist anymore. So times have changed and I was a therapeutic care support worker and that was on like a general hospital ward. So if patients came inthey had dementia or mental health challenges or a brain injuryit was more to do with like safety and making sure that they had someone sat with them, but also providing like a meaningful interaction and not just being an extra body in the room.(:
But that was amazing. And I knew I wanted to work more in the mental health side of things. So from there, I think I was a trainee healthcare assistant in a psychiatric intensive care unit and worked across adult mental health wards at the same time and a few shifts in camps. I knew there that I definitely did want to work in mental health, but I couldn't figure out where I fit. I applied for nursing, I think it was three times in total and got on each time, but it just didn't feel completely like me. And I didn't want to go and jump into a degree and then find out halfway through that it wasn't right. So it came to the point where I was kind of thinking about either psychiatry or psychology because I thought if it wasn't for me, medicine would offer a lot of different options.(:
And I was watching Grey's Anatomy at the time and quite liked the idea of surgery. So eventually when I figured out that psychology was it and I'd shadowed, we had a responsible clinician that wasa psychologist and I think it wasn't meant to be shadowing there, just needed to be an extra person in the room to make sure that everything was safe. But she was doing a formulation and writing it on the whiteboard and it just blew my mind. I remember thinking, oh gosh, one day I just hope that I can make sense of things like that and help somebody else to understand what's going on. She really took her time to explain how she came to all of these hypotheses and things. I just remember thinking, I wanna do that but I wasn't quite ready to go to uni at that point.(:
I think I still had a bit of maturing to do. And I'd had lived experience as well. So I had an eating disorder when I was younger. I grew up dancing, which is a whole toxic body environment kind of situation going on. And so I'd kind of thought about mental health from then just from, from going through that. And I did go to drama school when I was 18, but the psychologist kind of sensed that I wasn't really into it. I was just kind of going along with what I'd planned from being six because I'd never had any other career thoughts. And she'd asked it's what everyone expects you to do, but what is it that you would want to do? And I just drew a blank and looked at her ID badge and read, highly specialist applied psychologist,
Which I realise now wasn't subtle. But I think yeah, I, I reflected on this in my doctorate application form as well. And I think it was just wanting to hold that safe space and that yeah, that curious space for somebody else where they can just feel safe and explore what's going on and feel like they can take steps towards feeling better. And so I used that lived experience and became a peer support worker. And at the time there was, I think we were the first seven in the trust. So it was really, really new. And through that I kind of learned to just go with the flow, not suggest anything, not say, have you tried C P T or it was really difficult at first cuz I am a bit of a doer, but just sitting back and listening and creating that therapeutic relationship without recommending things or analysing someone's thoughts or what they're saying.(:
And so yeah, it was at that point where I was like, I have to go and do psychology. I couldn't quite get the hang of walking alongside somebody that much. I kind of wanted to take the next step and be like, let's figure this out and let's yeah, work together. And I had a word with with the psychologist that was in our team and just said, what do you think? And quizzed them a little bit about psychology and went off to university. And I think that's when I thought, right, well if I'm gonna do this, I just have to do three years at university. I can apply to Oxford in my third year because they accept
But yeah, I think I squeezed everything I could into that time. Did lots of research assistance stuff while I was at university and continued working I think until Covid hit. I think I actually finished two weeks before our first lockdown, which was a bit gutting cause I didn't see that coming in. I felt like I'd just left everyone
Hmm. I could just try
Amazing. What a story, what a story. Bravo to Nikita for sure.
Yeah. Have been told that
Amazing. So well done to you. And I guess, yeah, your, the message I'm getting loud and clear from you is be fearless, be bold, be brave, you know, do the thing that I think there's, there's some similarities between you and I, you know, do the thing that comes up as an idea that maybe you could, you know, don't ask anyone permission, just like, yeah, I wonder if I can, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try, I'm gonna try. Yeah. And cause the answer might well be yes.Nikita (:
I felt like I'd read the job description and, and wrote what I thought courses would want to hear. And you can't do that because there's not enough words anyway to get that all in there. And so it forced me to kind of take a step back and be like, right, what matters to me? What's important? What do I wanna say? And then I thought it's a risk because it didn't look like what I would expect a form to look like, but it did look like me on paper. And I thought if courses don't want it then I'd just try again next year and write a different application. But I think that worked for me as well with it being a sort of, I wasn't gonna be absolutely devastated and heartbroken if it was a no from, from all four this year. And I think that made it more I was more able to take the risk because of that.Dr Marianne Trent (:
I always say that a form should be entirely unique for you. The way you've lived your life, the way you see the world, the things you've experienced, the adversity you've struggled with. It's got to be a bit of you because otherwise it's not authentic, it's not genuine and it feels like you're trying on someone else's bear suit. You know, it's a fit and you don't, it's not convincing and your arms don't quite go to the end, you know, cuz it's not custom made for you and it should be.Nikita (:
Not. So I switched it out for Billy Eilish and she was in my doctorate application instead.
So much more authentic. I love it. But you've hit on quite an important nail there. And that's when I met my husband. He was like, this is 2009. So I met him during the very early stages. I think it was the second week of year two of my training. And he was like, isn't the first conversation we had because I don't think I'd have
Mm-Hmm.Dr Marianne Trent (:
Yeah, that's it, isn't it? And like I used to go through like, I did uni through lockdown and so you could, there was not much to do. You couldn't go outside for some bits of that. And I'd wake up, log onto my laptop and then shut it down and go to sleep. And for some people that sounds like torture, but it was exactly what I wanted to be doing for like 15 hours of my day. And I still do watch some brain anatomy videos sometimes before I go to sleep as a hobby
It's authentic. And also I think that level of determination and commitment and enthusiasm and hours of learning have meant that I think realistically, Nikita, you've shaved a couple of years off the journey to becoming a, an incoming trainee clean psych. And I think that's your, I dunno your confidence, you know, some of the probably adversities that you went through earlier on in your years have, have caused you to reflect, caused you to adapt and change and just maybe be in a slightly different position than other people that at your stage of your career and maybe even your age are at right now. And so we're not all born equal. We don't all have the same struggles, but it's what we make of what we've been through and how we talk about it and reflect upon it. And also something that people tell me quite often is, is how connected you are to it when you talk about it. So we can't be too disconnected, we can't be too intellectualised about it. You've got to somehow be able to talk about this stuff. Like it matters and like you are connected to it still, but not so connected that you're crying, you know? Mm-Hmm.
Yeah. That's been something that I've really had an experience with since starting this new role. My supervisor's great and I think she gets me and gets how I work. And she said to me, you've read a lot. I know it's just about how you're bringing that into what you're doing. And I kind of do, do get that is that I know the stuff, but it seems different when I've got a person sat in front of me and I've been working through that on how I'm talking about things because some people really like talking about, I think a lot of people I work in the persistent physical symptom service and so, so when the psychiatrist talks to people about poly vehicle theory, I work in the persistent physical symptom service and that can help them to connect with mind and body. So it's sort of looking at examples like that in thinking how am I using theory?(:
Cuz you can't just preach at someone. And with a manualized intervention, which I think the ACP recommends that assistant psychs deliver which is most of my work, it's hard to kind of stray from the manual just enough that you still cover the full content, but that you are there and being human. And I think it's actually helped me having a manual in front of me because I'm not thinking about what comes next or how am I gonna explain this because it's there sometimes you need to re-explain, but that's fine. Yeah, so I think it has, I, I worried being at uni that going back into an assistance psych job, I'd have forgotten how to people
Absolutely. And I think that the pandemic sort of helped us be a bit more human and a bit more people be with people because it seemed to level us in a way that nothing else had. So before the pandemic I would experience like cor corridor conversations where someone might say, oh, hello you. But really that was it about me. You know, that's where it stopped. Whereas often I think since the pandemic, there's been much more of, well how are you, how is that? And it's felt appropriate and for me it's felt appropriate to, to share that and make it much more two-way than it ever has been in any of my roles before.Nikita (:
Yeah, definitely. And I think even in the way that we work in a team our team has wellbeing Wednesdays where we get together for half an hour every Wednesday afternoon. And I think a lot of that came out with Covid and not having that connection. We all kind of realised how important it was.Dr Marianne Trent (:
I love that. I just had an impulsive thought. Is there cake at wellbeing Wednesday?Nikita (:
Yeah, I definitely heard about this on the radio a few months ago where they were talking about actually it's kind of like peer pressure. It's, it's, it's, it's very tricky to not eat something off the share table. And that is something that unless you've worked in a, a probably an NHS service or any kind of office environment that you don't really understand. Cause my husband's like, if you don't want it, you don't eat it. I'm like, well, you know, because once you see those cookies, you start digesting those cookies and then you might have a stressful encounter and you come upstairs and you see a cookie, ah that cookie is mine. Whereas it isn't necessarily calories that you factored in to your, you know, your week's worth of food. And so it's additional calories and even even fruit on the share table, it's the same deal. You know, it's stuff that you wouldn't necessarily have eaten. So I think it's definitely an important conversation. But what I know about being a psychologist is that we do tend to eat cakes,
Dr Marianne Trent (:
It's sometimes I just used to show up for the biscuits, you know,
I think it's the most well attended meeting in our week.Dr Marianne Trent (:
There you go. I I love a Wellbeing Wednesday. Amazing. can you offer us any top tips for reducing burnout on the way to this covered, lofty title that you are holding in the era? Mm-Hmm.
Yeah, this is, this has been a journey for me, I wanna say. I found out during university that I'm dyscalcu and so having this sort of notion that I was gonna need to work harder didn't like it served me because I ended up with the grade that I wanted. But I've worked a lot more than I would've done had I have not been equipped with this new information. And I think someone told me there's a time for sewing the seeds and there's a time for sitting back and watching them grow. And I think that's so important. I think I sewed for a bit too long. And I did, I would say I burn out at the end of university. I, the thought of doing a master's made me want to be a little bit sick
And I wasn't very boundaried in what I was doing. Like I say through Covid, you'd wake up, you'd put your laptop on and you'd turn it off when you went to bed and sometimes that was what I wanted to do. But when it's a research module and you're trying to get your head around stats and you're doing a 20 hour exam because it was supposed to be two hours, but you've got two days to complete it. And I did have screen time that was 20 hours and I don't think I was very sensible with it. I think it's about recognising that you've, you've hit that place ideally before you've hit that place, but when you have recognising that it happened and, and not letting it happen again. So now as an AP I don't work all for my hours that often, partly because I, I drive an hour to, to my workplace and if I leave it 10 minutes later, it'll mean I'm half an hour later home.(:
So I'd say yeah, don't be a yes person. Just put those boundaries in place, take your lunch breaks recognise what you need. I know you mentioned sometimes you're so exhausted during the day that you just wanna chill out on the night. I like that. I like downtime. I think relying on the people around you as well and also supporting them through whatever they're going through that's important. But I'd say you can't go far wrong if you're making sure that you have, have a balance of work and things that give you energy and make you happy and just keeping track of what you need.Dr Marianne Trent (:
Amazing. Thank you. What brilliant advice And one of the things I really like about Uni Nikita, and I was struck by this and I was reading your account and I'm struck by this again today, is that you remind me of the writing style of the chap that wrote Angela's Ashes, which I will say is one of my all-time favourite books. Cuz there's like a big narrative about, you know, this this thing that's small but beautiful and then there's like a tiny little snippet. Oh yeah. And this, this and this happened. And with his example it was like, oh yeah, my brother died, you know, and like he literally just said that and then you don't say anything more about it. And in your narrative in the the aspiring psychologist collective, you're like, oh, I won some award from the British Logical Society
Yeah, I think it's as well it's a little bit of that internalised herbalism isn't it, that we all kind of have to some degree. And especially going into psychology, I think I'm very aware of what I'm saying and what parts of my story I will share. And I think that comes from peer's apart as well of just knowing what feels comfortable and and safe. So I know that I'm comfortable talking about my experience in calms and having an eating disorder because it's not something that's an issue for me at the minute. And I think we all have really deep experiences as humans that we don't necessarily display to the world, but if you can tap into it you can, you can do some grit stuff and I think we're heading that way, especially with the neurodiversity movement and the lived experience underpinnings of what we are doing now. There's a lot in research, we always have experts by experience leading or steering the project. And so we are going in a good way and I think, yeah, we all have these layers, don't we?Dr Marianne Trent (:
We do. We have many layers and I'm, I'm excited that there's gonna be the field of clinical psychology with you in it and I'm excited to see how those layers develop, which narratives, you know, get thicker which ones get thinner, which ones you run with, which ones you might leave behind. Cuz that's the beauty of clinical placements as well is that you can, you know, you can leave behind the bits that don't work for you and keep the ones that do. It's really wonderful. So thank you so much for taking time at the end of your busy day and after your commute and everything to speak with us and guide us through your story. It's been incredible.Nikita (:
It's been an absolute pleasure. It, I was nervous at the start and it's been great. So thank you for being so welcoming and letting me come on here and speak.Dr Marianne Trent (:
I'm delighted. I'm really thrilled that you said yes and it's, yeah, it's nice to put a face to the name because you always shout for my compassion at q and as and it's always lovely. It's always lovely to see you. So thank you and I'm pleased that you've found, you know, whatever I've done useful and thank you for, for giving back and helping so richly this audience of ours and stay part of my work. Keep me updated with how it goes and wishing you the very best for your training and everything that happens in your life during it because that is what happens during training. You, your life will continue and you said yourself during the last year of your undergrad, three people darling. Like I'm really sorry to hear that, but this, you know, life is what happens when you're trying to pursue a psychology career.Nikita (:
Yeah, yeah. It's huge And I think those are the little things that we don't realise how resilient we are until we go through. Not that we'd ever choose to go through them, but yeah, thank you. And it, it has been hard work but it shapes you.Dr Marianne Trent (:
It does shape you. Yeah. And it's, it's okay to be sad about the things that are difficult, you know? Absolutely. Absolutely.(:
But I, I, I say that cuz I've got broken arm and I'm
Oh my God, I really, really enjoyed that and I hope you did too. Just as we were drawn to a close Nikita told me that she loves this podcast and so being on it was really special to her, which was lovely to hear. She also told me that her doctoral interview at u e a was in person and they did an amazing buffet. And I was like,
That's okay. Two. So she'd applied to four courses and she did actually get offered four interviews. So it's not impossible, you know, dreams can come true if you buy a ticket, you know, if you apply, if you, you know, if you put your toe in the water, if you, you know, tell the universe this is what I want, then the universe might well respond and say okay, here's your chance. Off you go. But Nikki also said she decided to turn down one of the interviews because she knew that actually realistically it was going to be really quite far in terms of moving for her. So she decided to let that one go with love and kindness and compassion. And so she decided to turn that down and give someone else the chance of being interviewed who was on the reserve list. So if you interviewed in Essex, you might well have Nikita to thank and I'm sure she would love it if you ended up getting a place, you know, cuz then she's changed lives, which is just amazing.(:
I love being part of this psychology world. So we would love to know what you think to this episode. Come along and tell us on socials. I am Dr. Marianne Trent everywhere. And you can also come along the Aspiring Psychologist community free Facebook group. If you haven't yet read the Aspiring Psychologist Collective, which does have nikita's story in it, then you can grab a copy of that by checking out the link in the show notes. Thank you so much for being part of my world. Thank you again to my guest for today, Nikita wishing her all the very best in her training. And yeah, I will catch up with you soon. The next episode of the podcast is available from 6:00 AM on Monday. Take care,Jingle Guy (:
Many things that you canAdvert Jingle (:
Try inspir.Jingle Guy (:
If you are looking to become a psychologist, then let this psychologist podcast.