Careers in Psychology

Sophia Ahmed

"Always remember to consider the real-world applications of why you are learning what you are learning."

Sophia Ahmed, BSc Psychology graduate, now a Trainee High Intensity Therapist at Dorking Healthcare.

Since graduating from Essex with a BSc Psychology degree I have worked in a range of roles, mostly within the NHS. Even in my first graduate job, as a healthcare assistant on a medical ward at Colchester Hospital, what I had learned on my degree proved really useful. I then decided that psychology was definitely the field for me and that I wasn’t yet done with education, and subsequently studied for both a Postgraduate Certificate and a Masters degree.

After a few more years working, then as an assistant psychologist, and having been unsuccessful in applying for the notoriously competitive Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, I secured a place as a trainee high-intensity therapist. I now spend my days delivering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as part of an IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service in Surrey. We are usually the first port-of-call for adults who are seeking psychological treatment for anxiety disorders or depression.

I love this job, even though the training year has been incredibly challenging. My favourite element of the role is definitely the client work. I do also really enjoy keeping up-to-date with the current research and thinking about the wider social impact of our work. The role gives me lots of opportunities to utilise the skills I honed during my time at Essex, especially critical thinking and analytics.

Assuming all goes to plan, I will very shortly qualify as a CBT therapist! If I was giving advice to someone considering a similar career path, it would be to stay reflective and critical wherever possible and never be afraid to ask lecturers to meet with you to help develop your learning.

Getting a good result in a psychology degree is definitely important, but always remember to consider the real-world applications of why you are learning what you are learning.