“My career started in psychology. I am a Clinical Psychologist by background, qualifying for this degree in my home country of Ecuador. When completing this degree I developed several interests, one of these understanding self-harm behavior.
My clinical psychology background allowed me to approach the field of mental health, which was always of interest to me, especially the prevention of mental health disorders, as well as the improvement of people’s quality of life and well-being.
The last year of my profession consisted mostly of attending patients using the different branches of psychotherapy (systemic-family, cognitive behaviour, psychoanalysis). Seeing the differences in the evidence provided by each of these branches, I became more interested in research and its contribution to mental health.
Soon after completing my degree, I moved to London to complete a master’s degree in Global Mental Health at King’s College London given it addressed the issue of prevention and development of mental health programs worldwide.
Up until my Master’s degree, my experience in understanding mental health had been limited to a psychological perspective, focusing on treating the individual and their symptom. During my clinical psychology degree we did indeed study broader issues that could affect mental health (e.g. social psychology), but it was in the year of my master’s degree that I could truly start to understand all the social determinants that affect an individual’s well-being and mental health (including social, political, historical, economic issues).
The experience I gained during the year of the master’s degree led me to develop a strong interest and passion for research within my field. Being surrounded by so many academics and colleagues who encouraged maintaining critical and deep dialogues is something that certainly marked my professional career and led me to want to pursue a PhD.
I then relocated to Ireland, where both at a professional and personal level was a great timing and opportunity for me.”