I completed my doctorial residency at the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre at Memorial University, as a requirement for my PhD in Counselling Psychology at McGill University. While completing my PhD I was living in Montreal and after matching with the SWCC, I was excited for the opportunity to work at a counseling centre and explore a new city / province as part of my doctoral training. As someone coming from away, the faculty, staff and other residents were very welcoming and friendly and have all made me feel quite at home here at the SWCC.
Overall, this residency has been a great training experience, allowing me to build on my previous generalist training. I have enjoyed working with students presenting with a range of issues (depression, anxiety, gender identity issues, relationship concerns, self-esteem issues, grief). Given my interest in chronic illness and disability, I have been grateful for the opportunity to work with some students presenting with these issues. The breadth of training experiences has been another really beneficial aspect of working at the SWCC. I have had the opportunity to: engage in outreach programming, a new experience for myself; complete multiple psycho educational assessments; engage in career counseling, facilitate groups (mainly psycho educational), and be involved in inter professional training activities. Additionally, I really valued the opportunity to individually supervise a master’s students and further develop my own supervisory approach. Finally, completing an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course has been an unexpected surprise, allowing me to learn more about myself and further enhance my clinical work.
While completing my residency I have really discovered who I am as a clinician and can say I am finishing residency with a strong sense of my orientation (strengths based / solution focused with some utilization and integration of other approaches). As a result, my confidence in my own clinical skills and abilities has increased dramatically over the year. I have also appreciated being exposed to approaches I am less familiar with (eg psychodynamic) through supervision, which has helped me to build a diverse toolkit. The high quality supervision has really contributed to my own growth and development through the year. In particular, I have really appreciated supervisors’ openness to my interests, for example in visual arts and the possibility of integrating the arts in my clinical work with clients at the SWCC.
Overall, this has been a year full of growth, discovery and adventure. I have really enjoyed my time in St. John’s and at Memorial’s SWCC.