The City Psych Journal Journey

One of our amazing City Psych writers Sabrina Desai talks about her experience of being involved in City Psych Journal. We would like to thank her for her amazing article on Mental Health Stigma.

You can have a look at her piece and all the other interesting articles in City Psych’s online version: https://issuu.com/citypsychjournal 

When I initially saw the email regarding the psychology journal, I was ecstatic! The very thought of someone creating a platform to make psychology and its current topics more  accessible was awe-inspiring. I was sure I wanted to be a part of it! It was exhilarating to imagine having an academic article published in the university’s very first psychology journal. Being a part of this meant I would have the opportunity to explore a relevant topic which was interesting and I’d be able to share it with not just people from my course, but a much wider audience.

Through all the excitement and thinking of topics that were current and would be fascinating to readers, I started to wonder if it was too great a commitment? After mulling over it for a couple of hours, I reminded myself that there was no such thing as lack of time and that this wasn’t an opportunity that should be taken for granted, and so like any sane person I claimed it.

“This experience for me is a milestone and I have learned so much from it.”

Everyone that worked on the journal was amazing, I got to meet a lot of new people, who were friendly, interesting and had so many great ideas for their articles.

“What I love most about psychology, is that it’s extremely relatable to things we do in our day to day life and this journal encompassed that!”

Sabrina DesaiAt no point, did it ever seem like this journal was only for psychology students and there were so many students I met from different courses that exhibited an interest and made this an incredible experience. From talking to people about my ideas and getting feedback on my article from editors and academics- it was an amazing journey. All of us have coursework and essays to do, but think about having the opportunity to actually write about something that you’re curious about, a chance to spread awareness and shed light upon current topics that are being disregarded or need to be explored further. I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to not only meet talented people and have had an article published, but to have had the opportunity to explore topics and make psychology more accessible to individuals who don’t necessarily come from academic backgrounds.

This journal is a brilliant platform and I hope inspiring writers with a voice and interest in psychology, no matter what their course -come together next year to inspire others and explore more relevant issues. Hope everyone enjoyed reading the first issue. Here’s looking forward to issue 2.

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Naz Altinok – City Psych Journal Founder giving a speech about the journal

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From left to right: Jessika, Sig, Anna, Sabrina and Sandra

Written by Sabrina Desai

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Treat it as a full time job

Despite the unpredictable weather, I was lucky enough to arrange a meeting with a very busy lecturer. Professor Tina Forster has been at City for over 10 years. Her BettinaForstermain research over the last years has focused on ‘body perception’ and how that affects processing of information. One of her the main successes at City is the development of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit, which has allowed students and fellow researchers to expand on their knowledge of the brain. Tina and her fellow colleagues also established an EEG (electroencephalogram) lab at City which allows them to record changes in brain activity over time.

On describing the success of this unit, Tina reflects on the inspiring work of her students. “Our PhD students have arranged Brain Awareness Weeks. They’ve organised a series of lectures and events to celebrate that week. “ These events enables students to understand that the brain isn’t just a ‘black box’ and how the brain has special functions.

Being the successful professor and researcher Tina is today wasn’t all fun and games. When I asked her about any challenges she had to overcome, she mentioned how long it takes to reach her position. She described being in education for a very long time, but was very lucky that her education was mostly free. Working to make a living alongside studying was something very obvious to her, and she admires that students are doing both to pay for their VERY expensive tuition fees. However, Tina enjoyed the journey of education and research and made her story positive; turning the hardships into lessons.

“To gain experience you will need to work with different people, like you would do in an apprenticeship. For me it was a nice opportunity but others might see that as an obstacle. Every experiment is a challenge. You never know what you’re going to get.”

The question I am always intrigued to ask lecturers at our university is why they like City. With all the top Universities and Research Institutes in London, picking one institution isn’t an easy option. Just like it was difficult for most of us to choose a University. Tina enjoys teaching and is passionate about sharing her expertise with others. She describes her job as having “3 hats on” as her varied role includes a bit of Teaching, Admin and Research.

City is a very nice vibrant community.”

Placements are something that would be ideal to assist me in reaching the career that I want to pursue. It is often difficult to choose one path to stick to, and Tina agrees that your first job is not always your last. She explains that University gives us the theoretical basis, but it is up to us to expand on our own horizons. Getting that extra experience is important for obtaining different approaches from people of all backgrounds. Tina also had job experiences that she didn’t enjoy however, she managed to change her profession. From her answers, I admire her passion and resilience to the challenges she has faced.

“Sometimes you do enjoy it in the end, but you just need some time to get through it.”

Tina’s advice to students:

“Treat studying as a full time job. It is a full time job. I know you probably all have other jobs on the side. Keep up with managing your time, your lectures, and what you need to do. Get experience outside in some way, relevant to what you want to go into as a career.”

If you could be any historical figure, who would it be? I would rather go forward to see the future. But I admire a lot of people in the past such as Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga (who’s still alive), who have done fundamental work in psychology. Or I’d love to be the first person who walked on the moon.

If the world was going to end, what would you do? Mindfulness practice – reflect and be in the moment.

What fact amazes you every time you think of it? Humans have the capability of looking forward and backward. We are time travelers.

Written by Sandra Ku

There is nothing that should stop you

Untitled1The anticipated interview with Dr Pavlos Filippopoulos is here. I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with one of City’s most liked lecturers. Many Psychology students will know him for his animated Clinical lectures. Dr Filippopoulos has previously discussed his research findings through: radio channels, the press and has appeared on television. Along with being a Senior Lecturer at City University London, Pavlos also offers psychological consultancy within Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Pavlos was involved with many things before he started to study. Interestingly, he was accepted into a medical school in Greece but found when diving into his studies, he would get bored. He realised that he was interested in: how people behave, why they behave in particular ways, how they think and what they feel. He soon found out that Psychology was the field that studies that. Since his decision to study Psychology, he has never been bored. Therefore, the discipline has not let him down. Clinical and Counselling Psychology came later for Pavlos, as he studied more in detail. The application of Clinical Psychology to a clinical practice was what fascinated Pavlos.

“I felt I was doomed, what am I going to do with my life; there is nothing that can keep me interested.”

Pavlos described himself as a clearly eager and motivated student. He admits that he would be annoying to his teachers, as he would ask questions and stay after lectures to discuss the material of the lectures. However, he hopes that he was not one of the very annoying students in his class. He explained that although he was never the top student in terms of marks, he put effort into his assignments to get a good degree. His focus was not on getting the highest marks, but acquiring as much knowledge as he could from the people that had practiced Psychology for years.

Many people would doubt their ability to become a good clinical psychologist. The reasons could span from: being too emotional, or feeling uncomfortable if a client were to cry, or not knowing what to say. I asked Pavlos whether he believed that some people would not be suited to practice Clinical Psychology.

There is nothing that should stop you from being a Clinical psychologist, if you really wish to do so.”

It was a tough question for Pavlos to answer. However, he said ultimately if it is something that a person wishes to do, then they should not let anything stop them from pursuing their wish.

I was curious to know what Pavlos thought the best and worst parts of his role is. The hardest part for him is having to make difficult decisions that will put someone in a challenging position. For example, if he has to ask a student to write better on an essay, knowing that they may take it personally. I had never thought about how lecturers feel about giving criticism on essays. However, Pavlos said that communicating to a student that it is in their best interest is difficult. On the other hand, the best part is getting to study with the students. Pavlos believes that every time he gives a lecture, he studies with the students as he learns things as we consider things together. Also, Pavlos enjoys his clinical work as every case he has is different.

“Supposedly this country would say I teach you, but every time I ‘teach’ you I study with you”

Pavlos’ advice to students:

My students, here at city? Go for it guys. You are excellent students, by far the best students I have come across. So the world is yours, fully. Go out there, conquer it and shape it for your children.

Favourite colour ? Blue. It reminds me of a clear sky or blue sea.

Motto in life? Still alive; so let’s make the most of it.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or read minds? Both.

Written by Dionne St Rose