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The University of Southampton
PsychologyOur alumni

Sharon Pettit BSc Psychology, DClinPsych, PG Diploma in CBT

Lecturer in CBT and private therapy practice

Sharon Pettit's Photo

Work hard, enjoy the learning journey, and to remember that it is likely to be an investment for your future career.

Q: What programme did you take at Southampton and when did you graduate?

In 2001, I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist following the three year D.Clin.Psych (Doctor of Clinical Psychology) programme. This involved working in the NHS as a trainee psychologist whilst studying at the same time. Then two years after qualification I decided to specialise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and so returned to Southampton University to take the PG Diploma in CBT for Serious Mental Health Problems. This is a one-year part-time programme that can be undertaken alongside clinical work. I thought this would mark the end of my academic study but it is not the case. I am currently enrolled on the part-time Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP) at the University.

Q: How did you go about finding a job after your course?

At that time, Clinical Psychologist posts were advertised in a monthly supplement produced by the British Psychological Society. Nowadays NHS Jobs on the net is the place to look. I had no problem finding a post locally in my preferred specialty of adult mental health, and started to work in a psychological therapy service in Salisbury, Wiltshire. This involved both inpatient and outpatient work in the early days, and then gradually changed over the eight years I stayed.

Q: Where do you work now?

I always enjoyed, and continued, my academic links with the University of Southampton. In June 2009 I took a part-time Lecturer post in the CBT Department, School of Psychology. This is mainly to help deliver the new Diploma in Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression as part of the national initiative called Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies Service (IAPT). I supplement this by working in a private therapy practice.

Q: What is a typical day like?

No two days are the same, which makes the job enjoyable. However, typically in term time, I could be offering clinical supervision to a small group of students, teaching in a workshop, marking assignments including listening to actual therapy recordings, co-supervising a research student, or liaising with our NHS services. Those are just a few of the wide variety of activities involved in the post.

Q: How did your study with us help prepare you for your job?

It has always been applied, and has therefore prepared me well to function as a clinical psychologist within the NHS. My subsequent PG Diploma in CBT then enabled me to specialise in treating people with more complex difficulties and so supported me in further development of my NHS role. Likewise, the PCAP is proving an invaluable training: it is directly related to, and preparing me well for my current teaching role.

Q: What advice would you give to students studying with us now?

To work hard, enjoy the learning journey, and to remember that it is likely to be an investment for your future career.

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