Success Story: Ute Liersch – Trainee Psychotherapist at Westminster and Chelsea NHS Trust

Ute Liersch is a Counselling Psychology student at our Regent’s School of Psychotherapy & Psychology. Read how the Careers and Business Relations team helped her to secure a trainee psychotherapist role:

The DPsych offers the spectrum from CBT to Existential/Phenomenological theory and therapy.

Who would not want to be stretched like that?

No seriously, I was looking for a course that does not allow me to stick to one model of therapeutic understanding of psychological distress. Even though we are all humans we are also so different. And one therapeutic approach will never fit all nor fit one person all the time.

So in short, the diversity of this course was quite appealing. So was the team presentation at the info day.

I laboured for days to get my CV right. Eventually I was left with eight (yes 8!) pages. In my defence, the DPsych is not my first career and I am not spring chicken either. I wanted to get all my experiences, skills, knowledge on paper. So eight pagers was short….actually. But, and this was a big but, my peers said: “No way, two pages maximum.” “What do you mean? Two? Pages?…..How?….Never!….Impossible!”
And while my peers send out their two pages CVs and got interviews I stared at my eight pages like a rabbit at a snake (oh yes, I love my animals).

I heard about ‘The Veejay’ in careers office but all appointments were taken on the days I am on campus. I travel 2 hours one way – so coming in on my days off would have been challenging. Skype was the answer. Unfortunately I only became aware of the Skype option when I was making the appointment. So here my first advice: if you need an appointment and cannot get into uni use the Skype option.

I sent my eight page narrative over to Veejay and we worked on it together. After a couple of Skype meetings a two (yes 2!) page CV was created which I sent out.

Psychology as a career, especially within clinical settings, is oversubscribed. The market is saturated with people who need placements, are prepared to work for free. Getting placements is really hard, even more though if you are a first year. It became rather challenging to make an impression an to explain what I had to offer. In ours profession CVs are only glanced over due to the huge amount of applicants. So succinctness is the key.

Veejay offered a very structured way to walk me through the process. We created a skill based CV. She explained how to use language, lay out and titles. Not one word was redundant and people could find the important information in one glance. Veejay explained why she used some titles but not others, the rational behind it. Even though I hope I can get her help again I also feel a lot more confident to do it myself.

I would strongly suggest to learn from Veejay how to use language efficiently. Comparing my old applications to the skill-based one I now realise why I had not been successful before.

Veejay’s ability to see and work with my uniqueness. She carved out what makes me special. She had a lovely way of teaching. I got directed into the right way and could rewrite my CV.

Once this was done Veejay looked over it. Again asking me why I used this word, and what I meant by this or that. Over time I looked at the use of words differently.

Writing a CV is an art because I needs to make the reader curious, at least curious enough to invite me to an interview. How much to tell, how much to leave to the interview is an art. Creating this on two (I know I have already said this) pages was quite fascinating to experience.

Of course there are more articles, blogs, books, on the market about how to write the perfect CV than (most probably) jobs. But I find it rather difficult to transfer the knowledge they convey onto paper. It always looks unprofessional and the narrative reads stilted. Working on it together with Veejay created a flow in the narrative and showed my professionalism.

Having more than one language in my repertoire makes me aware that your meaning of a concept might not be mine. I think it is worthwhile to step out of our own realm in order to get a wider understanding of us and others.

If I had the chance to do it all again I would buy founding shares of Microsoft and Apple. I would also not waste time trying to do the CV all by my own again. Everyone who has applied for jobs and/or placements knows how much time it takes, actually how much time it eats up. I believe many of us might try to squeeze it between attending university, studying and working. So it is rather annoying if all the time and effort is for the bin. Especially, if the failure is due to wrong or bad skill presentation – rather than not having offering the skills needed.

My longer term plan is to be a kaleidoscopic practitioner psychologist. I will go back into teaching: preferably working within a university setting. Additionally, I seek to work for an agency such as a mental health hospital or charity organisation but also in private practice 1:1 and running mindfulness-based stress relief courses for individuals and companies.  Also, I want to carry on with my charity work for Breast Cancer Care, Rotary and the Hospice of St Francis. I am also a passionate fiction writer and hope that, rather sooner than later, my name is the book you have in hart-cover on your bedside table or on your Kindle.

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