Simon Brett: making the most of opportunities
During his A Level year, Simon Brett volunteered to help teach art and other classes to adults with severe physical and mental disabilities. This experience inspired him to choose to study Psychology at Reading - a path that has opened up a wealth of opportunities for him.
Simon decided to embark on an Applied Psychology (Clinical) MSci at the University of Reading because he saw it as a great opportunity to learn both how to conduct quality research and get hands-on clinical experience. He has benefitted enormously from training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, learning how to deliver practical evidence-based psychological therapies.
"In particular, I benefitted - and still benefit - from being able to work with and learn from a large diverse group of service users and within a team alongside other high-intensity therapists, clinical psychologists and other psychological wellbeing practitioners".
"It was incredibly rewarding being able to see the individual change in people that you were helping and also knowing that you are part of a wider movement to help improve access to psychological therapies".
FINDING A BALANCE BETWEEN RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
Although managing a high caseload as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner alongside academic work was, and continues to be, a big challenge, Simon sees it as an essential part of his degree. "Making time to do things that I enjoy, whilst regularly reflecting on difficult cases and my work load, is essential for me."
As part of his master's, Simon completed a research project under the supervision of Prof Bhisma Chakrabarti. The focus on the project was Theory of Mind (ToM), which is an important component of cognitive empathy. The results of the research revealed that when someone is liked more, that person's mental state (i.e. their belief) is attributed less accurately. This may mean that for people we like more, we assume that they share our own belief.
"The highlights of my master have been the people that I have met along the way. Fantastic supervisors and peers make learning interesting and rewarding".
MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIVES
Since graduating Simon now works for the Anxiety and Depression in Young People Research Unit (AnDY) as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. His main role is to deliver evidence-based treatments for children and young people both in the clinic and in schools.
"I enjoy most learning a new skill, either from working with someone, or from a theory. reflecting by myself or in supervision, and then using this learning to inform my practice and seeing the positive impact that it has on a young person's life".
"Are you thinking about embarking on an MSci in Applied Psychology? Go for it! Remember that as well as looking after others, you must look after yourself. Be open to opportunities".