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Makala Balls Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych)2010

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During the last three years I have worked in several places across Hampshire and found the experience very rewarding

Graduate Dr Makala Balls from Essex enjoyed her doctorate in clinical psychology (DClinPsych) at Southampton because of its mix of academic learning and placements. Over three years, teaching units were interspersed with practical work experience in a range of different mental health services, working with both adults and children. Southampton’s postgraduate students start as trainee clinical psychologists, employed by the NHS and leave university with all the necessary core skills and competencies required in the profession.

 “During the last three years I have worked in several places across Hampshire and found the experience very rewarding,” she says. Makala is now employed as a Clinical Psychologist in Portsmouth’s Psychological Therapies Service.

She was awarded the Tim Lister Prize in the first year of her course for research conducted as part of clinical psychology training in the UK. This was for a small scale research project examining service user involvement. In 2010, Makala was also awarded the British Psychological Society's (BPS) Pre-Qualification Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to clinical psychology prior to completion of a doctorate. She also presented my award lecture at the BPS's Division of Clinical Psychology annual conference in Manchester.

Makala completed a BSc Psychology (Hons) degree at London Metropolitan University then worked for three years as a primary care mental health worker in Buckinghamshire before deciding to study for a doctorate. “My undergraduate degree was a broad introduction to the subject, but working in primary care helped me decide which area I wanted to specialise in,” she explains. “I considered several universities before choosing Southampton, partly because of its research reputation and opportunities.”

For her dissertation, Makala examined the challenging of mental health stigma among young people, research that took her into schools to explore the issues. She has already presented a paper at the Division of Clinical Psychology annual conference and hopes to continue in research during her practice.

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