Coming to Scotland as a 'blind bat', Anna Abramowski tells us how she found her feet in Edinburgh. Read more about her dedication to mental health.
|Degree Course||MSc in Counselling Studies|
|Year of Graduation||2008|
Your time at the University
I was drawn to the University of Edinburgh because of the programme I had applied for which was an MSc in Counselling Studies at the School of Health and Social Science. I remember applying as well because of the stellar reputation of the University globally, but aside from that I had never stepped foot in Scotland and was entering the country like a “blind bat” with no expectations or knowledge of what was going to become one of the best years of my life.
Something eerie happened as I was walking for my induction day at the School of Health in Social Science. I came across this plaque that marked the relationship between McGill University Faculty of Medicine that has been established by four physicians in 1823 from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. McGill University was where I had been for my BSc and had initially done 2 years of Pre-Medicine which I thought at the time was an unconscious sign telling me that I was destined to be in Edinburgh. This might have sounded daft back then but I truly believe there was a reason that had brought me to this University.
During my time at the University of Edinburgh, I had wonderful tutors who not only inspired me with their passion and thirst for knowledge, but who equally acted as true mentors and were exemplar to the wider field of counselling and psychotherapy. I was also elected student representative and liaised between students’ needs and the concerns of academic staff.
In my spare time, I volunteered at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and at the Royal Hospital for Sick. During the summer, I worked at the Edinburgh College of Art as a Trip Student Guide which was an incredible job offer considering I was a French woman. I got to research and organise tours for Students whilst I also had the opportunity to tour some beautiful sites such as the Rosslyn Chapel and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.
The most significant event that happened to me whilst I was studying at the University of Edinburgh was on the 6th of June 2008 when this tall handsome English-Israeli man named Danny Bluestone flew in from London for a blind date… and 2 years later became my husband. Can you believe it?
So Edinburgh will always be a magical place for me on top of academia. Additionally, I have made life-long friends and had some amazing nights out observing young Scottish men in their kilts with a few too many whiskeys. That was always an amusing sight to observe as a foreign student.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Since leaving Edinburgh, I pursued another MPhil degree at the University of Cambridge in order to become a member of the British Psychological Society. I wrote a Master’s Thesis entitled: “Is procrastination all that “bad”?” I can already hear the chuckles on your faces while you are reading this.
Recently, it was published in the Psychologist and picked up by the Harvard Business Review. I then continued working in research posts for another 2 years in London.
I then started the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology course at City University in 2011 and currently am in my final year.
During my course, I have worked in many different clinical placements from NHS Primary Care Settings, to Inpatient Residential Care in Private Hospitals for individuals suffering from mild to moderate learning disability, schizo-affective personality disorders and complex neurological conditions.
I have also worked at the University College Hospital’s Staff Psychological and Welfare Services where I provided psychological services to NHS staff. I have worked in private practice specialising in the treatment of eating disorders, body image and obesity which are some of the areas that I have started to specialise in. In my final year in my Doctorate I am working in HIV and Sexual Health within a Department of Psychological Medicine within an NHS Trust.
I had wonderful tutors who not only inspired me with their passion and thirst for knowledge, but who equally acted as true mentors and were exemplar to the wider field of counselling and psychotherapy.
Finally, I am also working in an NHS Bariatric Psychology Department where I support patients before, during and after they have bariatric surgery and through their journey. This is the area closest to my heart as I am conducting my Doctorate and research on “Obese men’s relationship with food prior to have weight loss surgery”.
Last year, at the Annual Conference for the Division of Counselling Psychology (DCoP), I presented a poster of my research in progress and was awarded a prize: I felt very valued, recognised, proud and honoured.
Recently my poster was accepted at the Eating Disorders International Conference (EDIC) organised by BEAT (the UK’s leading charity for people affected by an eating disorder). I am hoping to present my research this summer at the Appearance Matters conference at the University of the West of England and also present a paper about the Division of Counselling Psychology Annual Conference.
My long-term vision career-wise is to have my own private practice specialising in clinical health. I would also like to do some consulting work in the public and voluntary sector as well as some teaching. The staff in the counselling and psychotherapy programme at the University of Edinburgh have greatly contributed to where I stand here today and I will forever be thankful!
Work-hard, build networks, and take advantage of all the support the University has to offer, but at the same time enjoy and travel around this gorgeous country where the people are very friendly and welcoming. It has so much to offer (i.e. eat a haggis and learn how to ceilidh dance).
I would recommend to anyone to attend this stellar and world-leading institution!