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This is a guest blog by BSc (Hons) Psychology student Mia Pang.

Every BU student is offered the opportunity to take up a placement to give them essential real-world experience. Mia tells InsideBU about her role working as a Research Assistant for the Personality Disorders Service in Exeter.

I’m really keen to pursue a career in clinical psychology within the NHS and knew that taking up a placement with the Personality Disorders Service would provide a real insight.I was given the chance to get involved in so many elements, from reviewing a patient’s progress to attending supervision sessions, which is when the therapists meet to discuss their ‘caseload’ of patients, their history and advising the next best step for the patient.

Before my placement I’d briefly learnt about personality disorders but attending these supervision meetings really deepened my understanding of the disorder. For example, I learnt about the trauma experienced by patients with personality disorders and what type of therapies can help them. Furthermore, I saw how the projection of the patients’ emotions can affect the therapists, which is something I will need to take into consideration in the future.

A highlight for me was working alongside my colleague to co-facilitate animation therapy with patients. I helped the patients to model characters out of plasticine and create storylines before filming the final animation scenes. Animation therapy has been shown to be a therapeutic process for patients with personality disorders; it can provide a sense of achievement as well as teach them life skills, such as team work, patience and how to utilise their creativity.

Being given the chance to develop my research experience was key and helped me immeasurably for carrying out my dissertation. This experience will also be invaluable if I choose to pursue research in clinical research in the future.There’s no doubt my placement has improved my transferable skills, such as public speaking and managing several deadlines, and I’ve definitely become more proactive and motivated.It’s also provided me with brilliant contacts for the future and has increased my desire to pursue clinical psychology after university. It was an unforgettable experience and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.


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