Helen gives us insight into her career as an Educational Psychologist, having been inspired to follow a new direction after encountering the National Educational Psychologist Services (NEPS) while working as a Primary School Teacher.
What was your education path to becoming an Educational Psychologist?
I trained as a Primary School Teacher and my motivation to become an educational psychologist came from my first encounter with a NEPS psychologist, shortly after the organisation was set up. I loved how the psychologist ‘brought’ psychology to that meeting, helping me as the class teacher to make a plan to support a specific student in my class. I loved the collaborative nature of the role and decided that this was a role I could be good at. I then completed a degree in psychology and a professional training qualification in educational psychology in UCD.
What does your role entail as an Educational Psychologist in the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
The role of an Educational Psychologist in NEPS is so varied and involves individual casework with students, consultations with teachers and parents as well as delivering training and workshops to teachers. There are also opportunities to liaise with professionals from other services, which can be very rewarding when trying to develop interventions and support plans for our students with more complex needs.
What were your reasons for joining the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
One of the things I love most about my work as an Educational Psychologist is the opportunity to work with schools and working in NEPS enables me to do that. As an Educational Psychologist working in NEPS, I have my own list of schools and it is hugely rewarding to work closely with each one of them, helping them respond effectively to the needs of their students.
What opportunities has this role provided you with?
As an organisation, NEPS encourages all psychologists to engage in further training both at regional and national level which is amazing as it keeps me up to date with evidence-based approaches that I can use in my casework. You’re also encouraged to pursue areas that you have a particular interest in by joining one of the many special interest groups such as the Dynamic Assessment or Selective Mutism groups that I am currently involved in.
What aspect of your role as a psychologist in the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) do you particularly enjoy?
What I love most is the opportunity to work in schools and to apply psychology in the real world, forging strong relationships with teachers and helping them to provide the best support they can for our most in-need students.
I love the variety of work in NEPS, one thing I can definitely say is that ‘I’m never bored’, the variety is incredible; individual casework which itself is so varied as well as consultations, delivering training to teachers and working with colleagues on special interest groups.
And last but not least, and one of the strengths of NEPS as an organisation, is the amazing support of colleagues and the many friends I have made since joining the organisation.
Would you recommend a career in the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
Yes, if you love working in schools and want a job in psychology that is varied with lots of opportunities for continuing professional development.