I grew up near Belfast in Northern Ireland and after experiencing significant loss, I decided it was time for a change and moved to mainland UK to join the Royal Corps of Signals. In the army I gained an apprenticeship in telecommunications as I worked as a systems engineering technician maintaining and repairing radios. When I left the armed forces, working in ‘civvy street’ I gained an HNC in electronic and electrical engineering, where I worked as an engineering manager. My first career allowed me to live and work all over the UK, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and currently Scotland.
After a 10-year career in engineering, I started an adventure to become a Counselling Psychologist. I had not really achieved academically at school, as I was too busy with other distractions, so this adventure was unchartered territory, a big mission, accompanied with lots of doubt and uncertainty. To start this adventure, I took the first step which was to enrol on an undergraduate degree in Psychology (BSc) with the University of the Highlands and Islands. After some ups and downs, with lots of in ‘betweens’, I managed to achieve the grade that allowed me to take the next large step. I studied the doctorate in Counselling Psychology with Glasgow Caledonian University. This was a very difficult experience, one that extremely challenged me where many times I wanted to give up. However, after much effort, sweat, and tears, I got there. This would not have been possible without taking the small steps along the way.
Throughout my training into my second career thus far, I have worked as part of the training or alongside the training. I have gained valuable experiences working within residential childcare for young people with behavioural problems, and young people who have been diagnosed with neurodevelopment disorders such as ASD, ADHD, and FSD. I have worked in school settings, working with young people aged 11-18, their families and teachers. I have worked with adults across the lifespan individually, or with their partners, or families. I have worked in the public sector such as the NHS, criminal justice social work, third sector organisations and the private sector. Mental health areas I have worked across are, alcohol and substance misuse, bereavement and loss, child and adolescent, criminal justice social work, general mental health setting, (anxiety presentations, depression etc), neurodevelopment disorders, psycho-oncology, specialised trauma services (PTSD, CPTSD), and military veteran specific services. Across all these settings when the client and I believe it to be helpful, I have liaised with families, friends, and other health professionals, always in an attempt to provide the best mental health care for the individual(s).