Really impressed by all the questions i've had so far. So interesting!
EducationWhitby High School 2005-2010, West Cheshire College 2010-2012, Keele University 2012-now.
Qualifications10.5 A*-B GCSEs, BTEC National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care (D* D* D), BSc in Psychology and Criminology (1st class), MSc in Psychology of Health and Wellbeing (Distinction), and working on my PhD in Psychology now.
Work HistoryI've worked in retail, an elderly care home and as a Research Assistant. I currently work in a mental health hospital, and of course at Keele as a PhD researcher!
Current JobPhD Student in Psychology at Keele University, I also work part-time at a mental health hospital as a support worker.
Favourite thing to do in my job: I love listening to my participants' stories, they're so interesting! My favourite thing is to get lost in these stories and my data. I can sit down with a pile of papers, highlighters, and put my headphones on and next thing it's 7pm and the cleaners are hoovering around me.
About Me: I'm 26, a PhD student in Psychology and I like to knit and rock-climb (not at the same time of course).
I’m Claire, I’m 26 and i’m a PhD student at Keele University in the psychology department (sorry to disappoint, but no I can’t read your mind!). I’m finishing off my PhD but I now live in London leading the Process Evaluation of the ODDESSI project. This is a huge trial exploring the effectiveness of a new kind of mental health therapy called Open Dialogue (google ODDESSI for more information). My job is to find out why the new therapy does or doesn’t work!
I’m a bit of a grandma, so when I’m not working you can usually find me snuggled on the sofa watching Netflix and knitting. I also really love the outdoors, so sometimes you might find me rock climbing or hiking a mountain. There’s not many mountains in London though, I definitely miss the outdoors of the North West and Wales! Living in London i’ve taken full advantage of all the theatre shows too 🙂
My Work: I'm a psychologist! My PhD looks at how we explain drinking alcohol and I'm also researching a new mental health therapy called Open Dialogue to see if we can use it in the NHS.
My PhD project is all about alcohol use and how we talk about it. How do we describe alcoholism? What do we think is ‘normal’ drinking? Who do we blame for alcohol addiction? My research looks at how we talk about describe different types of alcohol use. I collect data from online such as from blogs and Twitter. I also run focus groups. I then analyse all of this data to look at patterns of how we talk about these issues.
In addition to my PhD, i’m also working on the ODDESSI trial (google us!). This is looking at a new kind of mental health therapy called Open Dialogue to see if it can work in the NHS. My job is the ‘Process Evaluation’ which is a fancy way to say I have to try and explain the results of the trial, why does or doesn’t it work?
My Typical Day: This is no such thing as a typical day! Some days i'm running group interviews, some days i'm analysing data and some days i'm reading papers or even writing my own paper.
As a PhD student, my job is to complete a project for 3 years. This includes thinking of the project, carrying it out, analysing it and writing it up – it’s a lot of work!
At the moment i’m in the middle of collecting my data. That means that i’m sending lots of emails and having lots of meetings with people to find times when we can set up a focus group. This means having 5-10 people in a room and asking them a list of questions and getting everyone to talk and discuss.
This group is audio recorded and after this group I have to write down everything that was said. This takes a very long time! When I have done this for all my focus groups (6 of them), then I can start to analyse the data and figure out what my findings tell me.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Chatty, Excitable, Psychologist.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My university dissertation supervisor (like a teacher who helps you with a huge project). I actually found research really boring until she introduced me to a new research method. Then it just sort of 'clicked' for me and I became really passionate about research. There are so many different areas and it's different for everyone, you just need to find one which interests you.
What was your favourite subject at school?
History, I was fascinated with WW2.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be a lawyer because I have an answer for everything (hopefully this will help me with I'm a Scientist!). I also wanted to be a counsellor because some of my friends struggled with mental health and I wanted to be able to help. In the end I couldn't choose and so I studied psychology and criminology to see which I liked most.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Absolutely not. if someone shouted at me I would burst into tears... I still do!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would probably have gone to study law. I watch a lot of Suits and still think that being a lawyer looks awesome. Or I might teach outdoor sports like rock-climbing and mountaineering, bit of a difference!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I will listen to almost anything, but I will always have a soft spot for Panic! at the Disco.
What's your favourite food?
Definitely pizza, I actually have a tattoo of a pizza slice.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
During the second year of my undergraduate degree I moved to America for 6 months to study abroad. I met some incredible people who I still travel the world to spend time with now! I also spent a weekend in Alabama where I learnt to rock-climb and camped under the stars. It was an amazing opportunity and definitely one of my life highlights.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be successful in my career, to do research that will actually help people, and to be genuinely happy.
Tell us a joke.
I'd tell you a chemistry joke, but I know I wouldn't get a reaction. (I'm a big fan of puns)