Life as a Provisional Psychologist – Getting hired

Week one, week two, week three. Seems like a blur. Am I going too fast? Let’s take a step back. It’s Dana here. I’ve been studying for what seems like forever (I know it’s not that long but coping with the COVID chaos felt like losing my momentum), But I wanted to create this blog for any other provisional psychologist or fellow psychology student, or even anyone that is interested to take a read about what it’s like to work in this field. What are the traps, the pit falls, what works, what doesn’t, how to manage life and student commitments, how to navigate as a new clinician in the field? All of those pieces of information that you wish you knew but no one ever really states. This is the place to find it, authentic and hopefully engaging piece of work that gives insight to what this industry is like from someone that is new and finding they’re feet as they go.

I did a Bachelor’s in Psychology followed by 4th-year post-graduate honours hoping to have a career in psychology. Funny that a few degrees in psychology to become a psychologist. would never have thunk it. But I digress. I finished my study and thought. ‘shit, what now?’ I won’t sugar-coat it. I struggled to find a 4 plus 2 which essential is an internship into the world of psychology. A pathway to full registration and independent work as a psychologist.

My graduation coincided with the arrival of ‘Miss Rona. Interesting timing to say the least.

After around a year of hunting for a full-time Provisional Psychologist position, here I am in St Kilda, at  Boutique Psychology, with Cindy and her team.

So, here’s a heads up, if you’re planning to take this pathway and explore the world of supervision, be ready to do a lot of paperwork… I mean a lot. Finding a primary and a secondary supervisor can be daunting. Finding your feet is even trickier.

I went into this role  thinking, ‘I’m prepared, I’m ready, and I know enough’… turns out. I don’t know anything. And that’s cool because I’ve heaps of room to grow and learn in an environment that’s preparing and prompting me for an amazing career.

Some stuff I didn’t know that I would need:

  • all these hours of supervision, professional development
  • that APRHA wanted you to print and fill in a gazillion forms, sign them and scan them and attach them as PDFs
  • to prove my English skills by contacting the Victorian education department to buy my Year 12 exam scores
  • my internship proposal plan had to be so exact

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I was overwhelmed, nervous, excited, and scared out of my mind about doing everything on time and perfectly.  And worse still, what if despite crossing ‘t’s and dotting ‘i’s, my plan still gets rejected by the Board?

Some stuff that’s worked out

Time was running out. I was super stressed about not finding anywhere. Then out of nowhere, Boutique Psychology opens its doors to me. Let me explain a little on how this actually came to be. My friend was a provisional psychologist working with Cindy at the time and after a few conversations, y some sheer stroke of luck, the stars aligned, and I started breathing easier. Cindy was hiring and looking to mentor a student. Giving them an opportunity that not a lot of places were offering with the current climate. We had a phone conversation, then a face to face interview and BAM. I landed myself this role. I count my blessing because I pretty much fell into Boutique Psychology, where Cindy’s made the process so easy, so calm, so straightforward. Phew!!! Little background to most of these roles. They come with a tone of paperwork, navigating yourself through completely new terrain. Finding your feet as a new clinician. So many things to keep account of and adjust too. Cindy made it all seem much more attainable.

Some stuff you might like to know

I’m blogging about my provisional journey so I can look back and smile when it’s over. If something I write here gives you giggle or helps you put some pesky bit of the ‘being provisional puzzle’ in place, that will be cool too.

I’m kind of a mix and a bit of a mess, and that’s why I love psychology. I am a little nerdy, a little sporty, a little musical, introverted, and a bit extroverted.

I love having this job and being super supported by the Boutique Psychology team. There are loads of ups and downs, and sometimes I feel like crying and throwing myself in the bin, but I don’t.

This is a brand new chapter for me, and I’m full body ready.

Top takeaways

Get your admin head in gear and get your ‘document ducks’ in a row. You probably didn’t get into psychology for the paperwork, but your life in psych will be immeasurably easier if you get a grip on it early.

Just when you’re thinking ‘something’s gotta give’ or I’ll never find that ellusive 4 and 2, something gives.

Hold tight friends. We’re in this together.

Yours for regular updates, random tips, and the occasional really suss joke

Dana @ Boutique Psychology.