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Counselling through COVID-19

Denise Borbolla graduated with a master’s in Applied Clinical Psychology. Now she’s a trainee counselling psychologist for the NHS.

Denise Borbolla
Denise Borbolla (MSc Applied Clinical Psychology 2018)

I’m Filipino but grew up in Hong Kong and studied for my undergraduate degree in the UK. I always wanted to go to the University of Bath – it has a great reputation for teaching and research, especially for psychology – so I applied to study a master’s in Applied Clinical Psychology.

There was a lot of support for international students, from helping with visa applications prior to arrival, to organising social events and workshops where you met fellow postgrads, to access to student wellbeing services – all of which helped with my transition into Bath.

At the start of the academic year, I reached out to lecturers and asked if I could assist with their research. I was given the opportunity to work on a project that explored depression in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This project paved the way for my first job post-graduation as an Assistant Psychologist in a neurodevelopmental team in London, where I assessed for ASD and ADHD in children and adolescents.

Currently, I’m studying for my doctorate and working as a trainee counselling psychologist at a GP surgery in London. We’ve been working online due to COVID-19 and, while we’ve seen an increase in people struggling with their mental health recently, going online has meant that therapy is more accessible, especially for those who find it difficult to come into the clinic due to personal, physical, or mental health reasons.

My master’s helped me to develop research skills, both quantitative and qualitative, which has benefited my doctoral studies. I learned so much from the academics, who are well-known in their fields. I’d recommend gaining as much experience as you can alongside your studies – it helps you stand out from the competition when applying for jobs – particularly Assistant Psychologist posts!

To anyone interested in psychology, remember that it’s a large and diverse field. The lecturers at Bath have expertise in so many different areas and it gives you the chance to dip your toes in to see what suits you best.

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