Current JobUniversity Lecturer in Social Work & Psychotherapist & PhD student
Favourite thing to do in my job: Use everyday stories to explain complicated psychology
My Work: I teach social work at a University and also work as a psychotherapist with teenagers and adults.
I work as a social scientist, I teach social work students lectures in psychology & the life course, attachment theory, child development, child observation, communication skills, group work skills, social work with children & families and different therapeutic techniques. When I am not teaching I meet students for tutorials and discuss their essays and research.
I work on my PhD on Climate Change most weeks, but it is part time, so I fit it in around my other work. At the moment I am interviewing children about their attitudes and feelings about climate change. I use a method called Narrative Free Association Interviewing, which means we talk about climate change and its impact on animals/nature that they like and how climate change will impact on these animals/nature; we can then talk about their own feelings about climate change through thinking about their relationship with these animals and the natural world.
I am also part of a group called Climate Psychology Alliance – we are keen to increase how psychology and psychotherapy can help in tackling climate change
You can watch a Tedx talk I did on this here https://youtu.be/5yXDHazepUw
I am also writing a chapter for a book on research into climate change, and also writing a book on relationship based social work with children & families. Again, I fit this in around my teaching.
I also work with a local charity that places children with foster carers, I work as a psychotherapist with the children and the foster carers to help them heal from their difficult starts in life. Mostly I try to help them to develop better family relationships with their foster carers and their new families.
I do lots of things!
My Typical Day: My typical day involves a mixture of teaching, tutoring, some research and writing. Its always a mixture and varies all the time.
No two days are the same, which I like, my work is varied and interesting. Most days start with me walking my dog (Murphy) and my neighbours dog (Tara) in the woods next to my house before work, there are woodpeckers and deer and squirrels.
My typical day includes a bit of everything in my work. I teach students most days, do some tutoring, talk through their essays with them, and I do some research and writing.
As I am a social scientist I’m mainly interested in relationships, between people, families, between people and the natural world, and society. Most of my work involves helping people to develop better relationships.
What I'd do with the prize money: I'd use it to help children in the UK & children I met in the Maldives to set up a Climate Change campaign group together
I would like to set up a discussion/action/campaign group to help children and young people in the UK to talk with children/young people in the Maldives as part of a campaign to have children’s voices included more in research into climate change. Most research so far is on how climate change will impact on children and young people, but very little research asks what children and young people feel about it themselves. Their voices should be more central to these debates as they are the generation that will have to face the consequences of our changing climate. I have talked with children & young people both here and in the Maldives and whilst they have some different experiences they also have some similar views. I’d like them to start to talk with each other about this, I think it would be really interesting and powerful for both groups to share their thoughts, to learn together, and join forces to take action on climate change.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Serious, playful & curious
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Some wise people who made me curious about what made people 'tick'
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once or twice! Probably in trouble for things I didn't do (and not for the things I did do)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Dive Instructor or dog rescuer
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Dive with sharks
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Time travel, to dance salsa well, lots more money to do lots more things (save the planet)
Tell us a joke.
Where do zombies like to go diving? The dead sea........ (sorry!)