Case study

Psychological therapist — Fraser Smith

Fraser's passion for psychology has led him to study for a PhD, while also maintaining his own well-being website

What steps did you take to get to where you are today?

I studied my undergraduate degree in social sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University. After I graduated, I stayed on and began my Graduate Diploma in Psychology in 2013.

I currently work as a psychological therapist at First Psychology in Glasgow. I'm also studying for a counselling psychology Doctorate, and will be finished in 2020.

I got into this line of work primarily because of my interests and what I was good at. My dyslexia has always given me difficulty with the academic side of things, but it's developed my ability to work with people and my desire to learn more about them.

The Doctorate was a great option for me as it was an opportunity to train in a profession that utilises working in the most effective way with people that face challenging circumstances.

Was your degree essential for your job?

Mental health and psychological well-being are areas that are really coming into people's awareness right now. More and more people are coming forward for treatment that might not have done in previous years.

Studying to become a doctor of counselling psychology gives me a great opportunity to work directly with those most in need. I really believe that, now more than ever, the world needs psychologists and those that are willing and open to learning more about psychology.

What's a typical working day like?

Days for me are often very varied as I work a couple of other jobs alongside my main role as a psychological therapist. Alongside my studies I run an online platform called GetPsyched, where I deliver and publish YouTube videos, blog content and social media content all about psychology.

Some days I can be based at home, while on other days I can have multiple meetings across the Scottish central belt - it really depends on what I need to get done for that day.

However, there are some things I do every day. I always ensure that I give 100% to my clients that I see, I keep up to date on my GetPsyched social media and online content, and I spend time working on my university assignments.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I get to see so many different types of people facing so many different circumstances. I love the potential of people, even when they are in the most difficult of situations. Getting to see this potential unfold and be realised by my clients is amazing.

I also love learning so much about people, mental health and therapy through my studies, to then apply to my work. What I do at GetPsyched has opened up so many amazing doors of opportunity for me in this industry.

What are the challenges?

My time is always taken up by things, and often split between numerous jobs and things that need to get done. I've learned that how successful you want to become in life, or in anything you care about, comes down to how you can manage your time and how good you are at juggling multiple tasks at once.

What are your aspirations for the future?

In five years, I'd like to be working privately as a qualified chartered counselling psychologist. I hope to be starting to think about developing my own practice and continuing to learn about the industry I love - I know that my learning won't end when I finish university.

I also have some big goals for GetPsyched. I want to develop it into a premier online learning platform for psychology and start producing more online content.

What advice can you give to others?

There are a few pieces of advice I would give others that are studying psychology or considering it:

  • Be patient. Succeeding in psychology takes time and effort, and you're not going to get everything you want all at once. However, if you invest in the process then there are so many opportunities available to you.
  • There is a role for you in society. People need psychology more than ever. Those that are willing to pursue, and have actively pursued a profession in psychology are highly sought-after in a range of fields. It's an industry that has real worth and a real identity.
  • Be organised. Organisation is something we're all capable of with the right amount of effort. It's one of the key skills I try and hold on to daily.

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