Our alumni are really amazing and we want to share their achievements with the world! In the SPOTLIGHT this month is Maureen McIntosh, (Counselling Psychology, 2014).
Since graduating with a Doctorate Degree in Counselling Psychology from City, University of London, I have been elected Chair of the Division of Counselling Psychology (DCoP) in July, 2016.
I have worked for the NHS full-time for 14 years with older adults since qualifying in 2002. I sit on a number of different committees: The North Thames Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, the Black and Asian Counselling Psychology group, Workforce Planning Advisory sub-committee, Unite Applied Psychologists’ National Organising Professional Committee, Presidential Taskforce, and I am the facilitator of the NHS Psychology Network which is open to all Applied Psychologists. Over recent years I have co-authored a book chapter with Dr Afreen Huq (Consultant Clinical Psychologist) about Professional and Ethical Issues in working with older adults (Handbook of Professional & Ethical Practice for Psychologists, Counsellors and Psychotherapists by Tribe & Morrissey; 2015).
My doctoral research about Older Adult’s Experience of Psychological Therapy was published in the Counselling Psychology Review (June 2016) and I am a co-editor of the Culture & Diversity Booklet. On 25th July I travelled to Yokohama, Japan for the ICP conference (31st International Congress of Psychology). I presented my older adult research there as part of a symposium called: ‘Listening to the voices of older adults to improve psychological health and well-being. I believe it is important for Counselling Psychologists to disseminate their research as part of our continuing professional development and it also strengthens us as scientist-practitioners.
Over the last few years I have developed an interest in poetry and recently my poem ‘This Gathering of Women’ was chosen as one of 100 winners selected for the National Poetry Anthology 2017 to be published next year. In addition, my poem entitled ‘Poetry’ will be published this month in Moments of Inspiration to showcase the work of a group of poets.
Shortly before taking on the role of Chair, I presented at a Career talk event (June, 2016) at the BPS to those interested in training to become Counselling Psychologists. I enjoyed answering questions and meeting those that attended as this also helps me to understand the views of future trainees. I was invited to present at the 27th workshop for trainees and undergraduates which is a DCoP trainee event (July, 2016) to talk about ‘The Centrality of Cultural & Contextual Factors in Psychological Therapy: Working with Older Adults in Mental Health’, Those in attendance were curious about my work with older people and I learnt from others as they shared their perspectives on the elderly.
My Chair role keeps me very busy but I was invited to participate as part of a panel for ‘Psychologists’ Live’ in Manchester which is organised by the Black and Asian Counselling Psychology group (BACPG). The event is in a Question Time format to offer our thoughts, opinions and professional expertise to live questions and via emails. I am also looking forward to being part of a DCoP short film arranged by our Training Lead to “showcase what Counselling Psychologists do to reflect the broad range of work that we engage in across the UK”.
I believe it is important to become more visible as Counselling Psychologists to dispel myths about who we are as a professional group and the knowledge and skills we hold. Being more visible can mean we are seen and heard, which can make us influential in shaping important issues. When I say yes to different tasks and roles (ie: public speaking, leadership, writing etc) I don’t always feel confident, however I am learning that with courage, by rising up , facing my fears and trying new things I am learning to be confident and I am also representing Counselling Psychology by putting myself out there.
I am very proud to be the Chair of this Division and with the expertise of the Executive committee and members, I intend to work hard to support the Division as it continues to grow.