BSc Psychology & CounsellingSarah-Louise Watson

Sarah-Louise is a graduate from the BSc Psychology & Counselling at the University of Strathclyde

What first drew you to the BSc Psychology & Counselling?

Originally, I had studied Education, English and Psychology. I particularly enjoyed the lectures from Dr Steve Kelly and he had discussed the new BSc Psychology & Counselling in one of our psychology seminar sessions.

I have always had an interest in psychology and helping people, and after researching the course I found that this course was both BPS and COSCA-accredited and could help me develop my academic and professional skills.

What did you work on week-to-week? What were the most enjoyable or memorable parts?

We navigated through a variety of interesting and thought-provoking topics, including sex, gender, relational depth and a variety of counselling approaches which challenged us as a cohort to reflect on our own experiences and bias. There was also a huge element of self-reflection and self-development which enabled me to be more resilient as a counselling skills practitioner in course and during placement.

The programme has a strong emphasis on practical counselling skills. Tell us about opportunities you had to strengthen these skills.

I had the opportunity to take part in a variety of different placements, including with mental health charity Place2Be working within primary schools and with veterans charity SSAFA. Here I was able to develop my listening skills to earn the COSCA Counselling Skills certificate.

What was the teaching like?

The teaching staff were brilliant at introducing the cohort to new topics, themes and ideas in psychology and allowing us to cultivate our own critical approach to existing theory and research. They really went above and beyond and were always very happy to answer any questions or offer email help. The use of group work made our learning a team journey and hearing different perspectives sped up our knowledge and understanding.

Tell us about your career since graduating from the BSc. How do you think the course prepared you?

Shortly after graduating I became the Deputy Head of the department of Finance in Northern Ireland. Since then, I have started a PhD in Medicine using psychological behaviour principles to create a digital app to monitor visual function in people with diabetes.

I think the BSc Psychology and Counselling prepared me for the research intensive elements of the PhD. In particular it gave me the preparation and key skills to independently complete REC, NHS and and Trust ethics, as well as completing complex data analysis on multi level data sets. The Counselling element of the course also prepared me for PhD journey which you need to be extremely resilient and self reflective for.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the BSc Psychology & Counselling?

Do it - my time at Strathclyde was very enjoyable and I think having lecturers that really enjoy what they are doing and clearly love to see their students succeed really motivated me to work hard.