A day in the life of a student psychologist at Rhodes Wood Hospital

Working as a Psychology student at Rhodes Wood Hospital entails a wide range of jobs and responsibilities to assist in enhancing the quality of care for young people and the general operation of the Psychology department. We work closely with the multi-disciplinary team on a daily basis, particularly Assistant Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists and a Dietician.

A dominant responsibility involves meeting young people to complete a selection of outcome measures at admission, various points within their stay and at discharge. These measure a variety of difficulties such as eating behaviour, compulsive exercising, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, motivational levels and general functioning.

These scores are implemented into formulations for the Psychology team at admission and disclosed in discharge reports which are passed onto community teams or transferring hospitals. Outcome measures are an essential part of establishing a robust understanding of the young person’s needs during their admission. The measures highlight the importance of self-reported information in the development of care and research. Particularly, it is essential in giving the young person a chance to authentically express their inner difficulties which is crucial for our clientele who dominantly suffer from Anorexia Nervosa (AN) whereby the disorder tends to provoke difficulties in expressing inner thoughts and feelings verbally or face-to-face. These outcome measures are also implemented into research.

Working closely with Psychologists, Psychiatrists and the Dietician has led to opportunities for established research through joint ideas and knowledge. Use of extensive outcome measures has led to a large pool of data, allowing us to identify how we can best use this for research to further contribute to the understanding of eating disorders. This has led to further opportunities, such as helping at the London Eating Disorder Conference 2019 and attending research consortiums.

Another prominent part of working as a student psychologist has been working closely with young people on a one to one basis, under the supervision of clinical psychologists. These informal psychological key sessions have allowed the formation of trust with young people and can then lead to us providing help to work on issues that the young person may be facing. For example, helping to suggest new coping strategies to replace damaging ones, such as self-harm, or giving them a comfortable and safe space to talk about their concerns. This also helps build upon resilience and patience as it may take a long time to build a trusting therapeutic alliance. Overall, this position is extremely rewarding in nature as you see the young people persevere through their problems and continue on their journey of recovery.

Rhodes Wood Hospital provides specialist inpatient care and treatment for children and young people aged 8 -18 years old with an eating disorder.

Our expert multi-disciplinary team provide person centred care that is tailored to meet the physical and mental health needs of each individual, to support them through their journey with us and to continue their treatment in the community.