A love affair with science writing: The Max Perutz Award

20171019_234000.jpgNobel Prize winning molecular biologist Dr. Max Perutz believed science makes “the impossible, possible”. He lived by this policy when he began his research on haemoglobin, which required a computer. At the time, the computer didn’t exist. Prof. Robin Perutz, his son, narrated this to us in a room at the Royal Institution in London, lined from ceiling to floor with grand hardbound academic journals, decades in the making. It was the 20th Max Perutz Science Writing Award ceremony and I was a shortlister. Continue reading

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Early career researcher know hows: Alzheimer’s Research UK ECR conference

20170728_182700.jpgWith high profile national conferences, an affair more intimate and niche is appreciated. Alzheimer’s Research UK, a powerhouse for ongoing dementia charity and research, delivered this with their North West Network Early Career Researcher conference, a casual event of 70 attendees. It was held in the psychology building of my campus where I displayed a poster but I’d have gone irrespective, for the educational nuggets targeting ECRs. Continue reading

Child Psychology: Mother knows best?

123599474-380x253I made a promise to myself at eighteen- no child psychology.

I love children. I’ll call them ‘sprog‘ and ‘brats‘ in my mind and have unjust opinions about them and with this attitude you’d want to keep your little miracle away from me. But beneath whatever personality they’ve developed due to circumstance I love the child underneath. It’s cliché but their confidence and unmarred perceptions are beautiful before the real world decides to crush them and I feel ill equipped to be in a position where I might be complicit in that crushing. Continue reading

Dementia: Let’s talk about it

Dementia-and-hearing-lossAll around me I see people who are being affected by dementia and they have so many questions. The answers are out there but they can become mixed up and muddled. Therefore, for Dementia Awareness Week I’d like to talk a bit about dementia and what we can do about it.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Skeleton Cupboard

20170509_190139I promised to review this book so let’s start by asking “Who is The Skeleton Cupboard for?” Hyperbole aside it is a must read for every aspiring psychologist, meriting a place on our undergraduate reading lists and if clinical psychology is your calling its contents will have you salivating:

“I first became fascinated by the frontal lobes of the human brain when I saw my grandmother’s sprayed across the skirting board…” Continue reading

My lips are sealed: Confidentiality and blogging

20170417_034323It’s been a while since I took to the keyboard but not for a lack of trying. On the contrary, ideas have been coming to me without having the courtesy to pause and take concrete form- writer’s block. But I’ve also been considering the ramifications of what I want to write. This blog is about my perspective but interactions with others are inevitable and necessary. Ultimately, writing about my experiences means writing about the experiences of others. But what right do I have to their stories? Continue reading

Heads or Tails: The reality of health research trials

NewIn the middle of the ocean a group of individuals find themselves on a sinking boat. They spot an island and begin to wave their arms and yell. A few islanders spot them and alert the highest authorities. After much deliberation, assessing the resources at hand, these authorities express their regret and state that they do not have the means to rescue the boat’s crew. They are preoccupied with more severe or long term crises. Continue reading

My first presentation: Primary Care Mental Health Research Conference 2017

20170316_200506 - CopyPublic speaking has evoked dramatic reactions in me. Shaking, hyperventilating and most recently, breaking out into red patches. I become a parody of stage fright. Thus, when abstracts for the 2017 Primary Care Mental Health Research Conference were requested I enthusiastically submitted one for a poster. Imagine my surprise when I was generously upgraded to an oral presentation. Continue reading

Spotting Signs: Identifying mental health struggle in others

article-pictureEarlier this week I posted about the workshop I attended on mental health in students, where we discussed the distinction between mental health difficulties and mental wellbeing and how they make up our overall mental state. Now, when mental state is poor, it can impact a person’s functioning and will often manifest in hints and signs. Spotting these signs, both major and minor, in oneself or ones’ peers can be crucial for improving the situation. Continue reading

What’s going on in your head: Mental health difficulties vs mental wellbeing

Student Minds

Student Minds, which ran the workshop, also has a blog!

Within the UK, 29% of university students experience clinical levels of psychological distress and NUS surveys reveal that 78% experience difficulties with mental health. Despite this, only 15 out of every 1000 students disclose these difficulties to their institution. For University Mental Health Day I attended a workshop that focused on identifying and addressing these difficulties in student groups. And the first objective was to help them distinguish between mental health difficulties and mental wellbeing. Continue reading

Everybody’s Dying: Working in a cancer hospital

20170224_022140.jpgAt surface level you picture psychologists working in cosy, cubic offices, with reclining plush couches to lay on and confess. People forget that psychologists are found in a myriad of social settings such as HR departments or as counselors within high schools.

Or in the walk in clinic of a cancer hospital. Continue reading

Family involvement versus ethical practice

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My first intensive clinical placement was for three months in the psychiatric department of a government hospital in Pakistan. I had just completed my bachelor’s, ignoring all the jokes about how I was becoming a ‘whitewashed’ psychologist. Regardless, I was still thrust into a form of culture shock when the placement began. Continue reading

Introductions: Inviting an Audience

20170220_094400.jpgSince childhood I was a voracious reader and decided early on that one day it had to be my words gracing a novel’s pages. Therefore, I brought forth to my father, a matter-of-fact man, that I wanted to be a writer. In not so many words he said “Sure. Just don’t expect it to pay the bills”. I was five at the time and guessed this would not do so the quest to find a path that would ‘pay the bills’ began. Continue reading