Chloe Hill ~ An internship at the Institute of Mental Health
I wrote a post for this blog a couple of weeks ago based on ‘Society’s perception of “perfection”’, so as I’m now coming to the end of my Internship here at the Institute of Mental Health I thought I’d write a little bit about my experience here and how influential it has been on my decisions for the future.
When I left Ecclesbourne Sixth Form (Derbyshire) in July, I really didn’t have much of an idea what I wanted to do with my gap year, let alone my whole future career. I thought I wanted to do something related to Psychology and perhaps Criminology, but wasn’t exactly sure what. I wrote to the IMH hoping for a little work experience to give me an insight into the world of psychologists and psychiatrists, so I was extremely pleased when I was invited for an interview and offered an Internship.
Whilst here as an Intern, I’ve had the opportunity to gain an insight into the Institute and its work via attending seminars, workshops, and hearing the stories of some really fascinating people. The experience that has affected me the most has to be a workshop I attended entitled “Understanding Personality Disorder” with the Mental Health Research Network. We were first addressed by a therapist, who explained personality disorders in a way which I particularly found useful having had little previous experience in this field of healthcare. However, it was meeting the service users themselves that influenced my decision to consider Clinical Psychology as my future. Their stories of how their lives had been turned upside down by their personality disorders were quite poignant and moving, but it was the gratitude they expressed for people who actually listened and understood them that influenced me – particularly the benefits and outcomes created with help from these understanding relationships. I have also attended meetings with Learning Disability Paediatricians regarding current studies with autistic children, and the PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) Forum which consists of relevant individuals, including service users, who wish to be involved in the research process.
So what have I learnt from it all? Aside from the fact that I don’t think I’m ready to be getting up at 6 am for a job for the rest of my life yet!, I’ve decided to apply for a Psychology degree at University with the intention of studying a Masters in Development Psychology afterwards, which will hopefully help me on my way to undertaking a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. For the rest of my gap year I’ve organised a voluntary placement at a local Special Needs School, and work experience in a clinical environment. Ideally, I’d love to be a Clinical Psychologist with children and adolescents, working with them during and after difficult times and events.
So a final thank you and goodbye to the Institute of Mental Health; I don’t know what I’d have done without you! My time here has been truly inspirational.