Hello again! And “A week in the life of…”

As usual, it’s been a while. I’ve had many posts bubbling away, with no time or opportunity to write them.

Life is busier than ever. I thought I’d do one of those “one week in the life of…” posts, as I’ve always liked reading these myself. So here it is – one week in the life of a parent/psychologist/small business owner/PhD student.

Monday – Parent role

6-7am Wake up! Baby alarm clock is the most effective alarm clock. Have a bit of a play in bed while I’m still waking up.
7-8am Breakfast for two. COFFEEE
8am-5pm Spend the day with a now almost 1 year old (!!!) who is a little goat, and tries to stand up/climb up on any available surface with nary a thought for consequences or how to get himself down. Usually includes 2-3 naps of around 30-60min (to be clear: for the baby, not for me. During naps I try to get the home in order, answer emails, etc.)
5pm Handover.
6.30-7.30pm Dinner for three.
7.30-8pm Prep baby for bed, put to sleep.
8-8.30pm Clean up, get things ready for the next day.
8.30-10pm Chillax/collapse on couch time.
10pm Lights out.
1am / 3am / 5am Usually one night feed and resettle, shared between me and husband.

Tuesday – Psychologist role

6-8am As above
8-9am Childcare drop-off.
9-9.30am Start work in psychiatric inpatient unit. This involves running therapy groups, one on one therapy sessions, ward rounds, meal supervision, discussing cases with various team members. One of the good things about inpatient work is that you get to spend much longer with the patients, you get to know them, and there’s scope for opportunistic therapy work with things that come up in vivo.
5-6pm Finish work, meet husband, do childcare pick-up and walk together.
Rest of the evening/night much the same as above. (Soon, though, I will be starting a new therapy group in the evening.)

Wednesday – PhD student role

Morning as above.

9-10am Get to uni after drop-off. Sometimes get lost in answering emails and forget to get off the train so get in late 😦
10am-4pm Meet with supervisor, analyse data (yassss), read papers, chip away at the papers I’m writing. I’m doing my PhD by publication and hope to have 4-5 publications in total. So far I’ve got one published, another one under review, one that I’m working one, one shelved for now, and one that I haven’t yet started. Plus I need to update my lit review and at the end, write a general discussion. But right now, it’s all about writing papers.

Some weeks I work from home on Weds, which also allows me to go for a longer run during the day (I have been training for my first half-marathon, taking place this coming weekend – eeep!!)

4pm Leave in time to make pick-up.

Thu – Psychologist/Small Business owner

9am Arrive at private practice.
9am-12pm Have between 1 and 3 therapy sessions. (I’m still building up my caseload, after getting back from mat leave.)
12-4pm Meet business partner/friend for lunch. Discuss practice and clinical issues. Meetings with other local health professionals. Other practice admin – computer/phone/website issues/invoices etc.

Soon, though, this will change to:

1-5pm Clinical mental health teaching at university.
5.30pm Pick-up etc.

Friday – Psychologist/PhD Student/Parent role

This is an overflow day, doing whatever is needed. It often includes doing psychological peer supervision, and sometimes casual work.

Sat/Sun – Parent role 100%

So here it is! I know it looks like a lot, so the caveat is that I’m only able to manage this much because of a super supportive husband and co-parent, help from my family and friends, generally flexible work conditions, and a by-and-large healthy and cooperative baby.

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Season change

I much prefer autumn and spring to summer and winter – I see them as transitional seasons, which of course isn’t quite accurate, as every season is a transition. But in spring and autumn, it feels like the transition is somehow more extreme, and so it’s not as monotonous as three months of heat or cold.

This summer has left me battered and bruised, and I’m glad it’s now autumn. I can feel the cool change in the air, especially in the morning and at night, a touch of crispness. It feels like I’m slowly waking up – opening my eyes, moving on. This is not really a personal blog so I won’t go into the details, but the past few months have played havoc with my internal and external life. I hope now is the time to get some distance and heal.

My course continues and I still love it, although it’s hard at times. In this clinical rotation the emphasis is much more on process, a notion which is hard to describe. Basically it’s focusing on the dynamics in the therapy room between therapist and patient, rather than solely on the presenting problems. This is challenging for me as a novice therapist, as it is quite a confronting process, both for therapist and patient, as it involves pointing out the “backstage” elements of what is a constructed social interaction. Therapy is about being truthful, rather than being nice, but it’s hard to be truthful in a nice way at times. I’m also learning about different ways of “being” in the therapy room with different types of patients, which is also challenging. Being “nice, supportive therapist” will not get some (most?) people to shift.

There’s also only a couple of months until we are released into the “real world” for our external placements, which is quite scary/exciting. In the mean time, I’m also learning lots of neuro, and there may be some brain dissectin’ going on in the future. Not having done a human brain before, this is exciting.

Things I am loving right now: coffee, Swedish crime fiction (everyone in these books drinks so much coffee), and that it’s cool enough to wear leggings. Yes, sometimes it’s the little things that get you through.