Sabreena Hussain is a clinical associate psychologist working for the Trust's mental health integrated network teams - MINT.
Sabreena had always wanted to work within mental health, having had experience of it first hand when her mum suffered with mental health issues. Sabreena wanted to be able to help her and others like her.
We talked to Sabreena about her pathway to where she is now and what her role is about.
"I was humbled by those who had really struggled with their mental health but found the strength to get the help they needed and be able to share their experiences with others to help them through their own journeys."
I started off as a healthcare facilitator at the Trust, which was my foot in the door to the NHS.
This gave me insight into mental health care. I saw different client groups and their recovery journeys.
I already had an undergraduate degree in psychology from Roehampton and was studying for my masters in psychology at Queen Mary’s University while I worked.
After completing my masters in psychology, I became an assistant psychologist on the bank for six months at Lakeside before securing a full-time assistant psychologist role there.
This role involved:
- Working in the community
- Running anxiety management and coping groups
- Working with self-referred clients
- Working with experts by experience.
I am now working within the Hounslow mental health integrated teams service (MINT), as well as studying for a masters to become a clinical associate psychologist.
The course is run in partnership with University College London. I’ve been really lucky to be selected to receive this training, which has been funded by the Trust. We are the first cohort at the Trust to do this training, but due to its success, more apprenticeships are being offered within West London’s local services.
The role of a clinical associate psychologist within the MINT teams is to bridge links with charities and the voluntary sector to help them provide support to service users and patients in the community. The support includes one to one therapy and group therapy.
We have also created ‘front door’ groups where clients referred can join a group without a long waiting time. The ‘front door’ groups have a rolling programme to engage with the clients and to enable them to consider what might be helpful about committing to further psychological intervention. This is because the programme is skills-based, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, which works really well when participants have the opportunity to practise and rehearse their skills.
We assess a person's needs - in all aspects of their life, physical and mental health - and set goals for them to be able to manage situations and thoughts in a constructive and empowering way. Boosting psychological efficacy is of great value to our multidisciplinary teams, and this is another exciting aspect of the role.
Sharing the tools and skills to manage psychological health through life’s challenges, generates increased self-confidence, and empowers people to be able to choose how to respond to situations and learn to be kinder to themselves.
Therapies like: cognitive behaviour therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, compassion focused therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy - bring out the values that are meaningful to individuals and help them focus on mindful actions: this all helps in the letting go of things people cannot change or have control over.
If you're interested in a career in psychology, West London is a great place to work and begin your learning journey.
The Trust is opening up access to these careers, so if you are interested, get in touch.
The work in the community is really powerful and a way to reach hard to reach communities – MINT is improving access to our services all the time.
There's a lot of variety in psychology roles and referrals, everyone is unique and so is the support they need: it's so rewarding to see the impact you can have on people.
My next steps? Once I complete my masters to become a clinical associate psychologist, I hope to go on to apply for the clinical doctorate in clinical psychology to become a clinical psychologist.