Claire tells us why she’s studying Integrative Psychotherapy
Claire Law is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisor, a freelance wellbeing writer and a volunteer psychotherapist at two local Third Sector Agencies. Here she tells us about studying the MA Integrative Psychotherapy at our University.
I chose to study MA Integrative Psychotherapy because I wanted an in-depth course that would challenge and develop me as a learner. As well as lead to a professional recognised qualification that would equip me to practice. I was looking to make a career change from teaching, via the care sector and the third sector to psychotherapy and this course offered me the means to make this leap.
As part of my course, I researched the impact of how caring professions such as teaching, nursing and psychotherapy can take its toll upon practitioners, and ways to avoid burnout. Since delivering this research project as part of my assessed work on the course, I have now adapted the project and delivered to two local voluntary organisations. I hope to also deliver research findings to University Staff within the Wellbeing Team. Having the confidence to do so has developed from my experience studying this programme at UCLan.
I am already using the skills and knowledge I have gained on this course. I have secured employment as a direct result of my studies and I have also secured voluntary psychotherapy positions where I can access a range of career related benefits and gain further experience. I have also successfully set up my own freelance writing business, with the help of the universities Propeller Student Enterprise Service. My business helps me utilise my research skills and psychotherapy training to produce online written wellbeing and mental health content.
After graduating, I hope to gain paid employment as a psychotherapist within the third sector or within the public sector. I also would like to establish my own psychotherapy business.
Undertaking this MA has improved my academic writing skills and my confidence in self-expression. As well as giving me a solid, evidence-based grounding the theory and practice of psychotherapy. It has increased my personal growth and development and given me a steppingstone towards a career change. It is great to be part of the UCLan community and I have met some amazing people on the course.
The best aspect about the course is the personal development that encourages safe and ethical practice. The lecturers and tutors bring the right mix of gentleness, encouragement, and challenge to teaching input – and they are relatable to. There is also a great blend of assessment tasks and formative feedback that supports academic improvement and fantastic resources and access to reading materials.
There are so many fantastic resources on the reading list that complement classes. Read as voraciously from the reading list as you can, it will help you begin to form your own independent thought.
My advice to anyone wanting to study this degree is to expect it to be challenging, in many ways, but acknowledge your fear of rising to the challenge and embrace the opportunity. Be real, open, and honest with yourself and with others. You are an asset, and you don’t need to try to copy anyone else; find your own voice as a trainee therapist.
It’s a good idea to consider making use of personal therapy as you journey through the course to complement what you’ll learn on the course. Also, look for volunteer non-counselling opportunities in a counselling community-based setting before you begin, so you have an idea of how counselling agencies operate, and can begin to network. For example, many counselling agencies have roles for volunteers as welcomers or receptionists.
Finally, make use of all the additional university support, such as the Careers Service and Wellbeing. I got some great support from the Careers Service, Propeller and also WISER. Each one of these services are influential in me being successful in my studies and in my associated career change. UCLan really does invest in wider student support in a way that is tangible to students.