Graduate Profile: Dr Jenna Todd-Jones
My psychology degree provided me with a grounding in knowledge and theory and inspired me to pursue my career. My MSc allowed me to study further in this area. My PhD developed my ability to design and conduct research. Clinical psychologists are evidence-based practitioners, meaning we use research findings of therapeutic interventions to determine our practice.
Dr Jenna Todd-Jones is a Clinical Psychologist as well as a lecturer at Bath University.
How did you get your job?
I studied for a very long time! A clinical psychologist works with people with severe, enduring, and complex mental health difficulties. I chose to specialise in caring for people with brain injuries or degenerative brain conditions such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, as well as stroke, a traffic accident and cancer. I am also a lecturer at Bath University where I teach students about clinical psychology and the brain. A typical day involves meeting NHS patients either at the hospital or in their homes. I talk to them about how I can support them with psychotherapy. I also spend a lot of time talking to the staff I work on how physiotherapy, occupational therapy, language therapy, and nursing can help our patients. I also conduct research alongside local university students and trainee clinical psychologists. When you see a patient who struggled very badly at first begin to recover it makes me happy! I plan to complete the Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychoogy (QICN), to become a registered clinical neuropsychologist. I hope to continue working partly at the hospital and partly lecturing at the University as I thoroughly enjoy both jobs!
What have been your challenges?
It has been a demanding journey and I will admit that at times I wasn’t sure if I was the right person for this job, and whether I had the strength to commit to getting here. I struggled with my mental health personally, which has only made me a stronger advocate for this work.
In what way is your education relevant to these roles?
My psychology degree provided me with a grounding in knowledge and theory and inspired me to pursue my career. My MSc allowed me to study further in this area. My PhD developed my ability to design and conduct research. Clinical psychologists are evidence-based practitioners, meaning we use research findings of therapeutic interventions to determine our practice. I also trained in using electroencephalography (EEG), eye-tracking, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). My Doctorate in Clinical Psychology was necessary in order to practice as a clinical psychologist. I gained experience in different disciplines before specialising. I conducted research examining how positive psychology traits like resilience are linked with return to work after a brain injury. I also volunteered a lot for public engagement events which helped me develop my communication skills.
What advice can you give to others wishing to enter this field?
Be prepared for the long slog, it is very much worth it. Understand exactly what the job entails and if it is the right one of you. There are many parallel professions that may better suit you. Look after yourself! If my work has taught me anything it’s that life is short, and you must do what makes you happiest in the short- and long-term. Having said this, when you figure out how to balance that out let me know