Living with depression: Partners’ perspectives
Moya Clancy – Living with Depression Study
Having reached my final year in the BA Applied Psychology, I had drastically transformed from a lost, observing youngster – the typical fresher - into an inquisitive researcher, one ultimately driven to investigate unanswered questions. The SoAP gave me the knowledge, tools and opportunities to develop my research skills and to ultimately become an independent thinker.
Having had a number of discussions with Dr Dempsey during the year about an area of joint research interest i.e. partners’ perspectives on depression I approached her about the possibility of a research internship with her. She was incredibly enthusiastic and supportive and was committed to seeing the idea through. I am very lucky to have been involved from the beginning of this project as it enabled a greater understanding of how a research question is considered and refined. I also gained experience in writing the university ethics application form, designing posters, information sheets and attending seminars to discuss our study with fellow academics. In terms of participant recruitment, I gained real-world experience of recruiting for qualitative research (drastically different from quantitative recruitment, which I had done for my FYP!) I was equally lucky to have gotten experience in conducting interviews – a new skill for me, which I’ve gained confidence in now. I can’t over-emphasise the major differences between studying qualitative techniques and actually using them in practice – nothing beats hands-on experience! I have been involved in the transcription and analytical stage of the study and am currently looking forward to what the future may hold for our study.
Looking back on my experience thus far, I can see how much I’ve learned and am so glad that I took the chance and pursued that ‘vague’ and crazy idea. Though stressful at times, working on the study has been extremely rewarding and I’m so glad that I got involved. I’ve received amazing support from Maria and have grown both personally and academically. I would highly recommend getting actively involved in research in the SoAP and to carry on the UCC tradition of independent thinking.
Eight months ago I had the good fortune to begin an internship with Dr. Maria Dempsey in the UCC School of Applied Psychology. My intention when applying for the internship was to build on my research experience and to bridge the gap between what I was learning in college with the practical application of psychology. As an intern, my role has primarily involved working with Dr. Dempsey on a qualitative study examining partners’ perspectives of living with someone experiencing depression. I have also been supported to engage in a wide variety of learning opportunities, including attending seminars and participating in other studies currently being conducted within the department.
I have found the experience to be very rewarding and fulfilling both academically and personally. To date, I have been actively involved in every stage of undertaking a qualitative study, including carrying out interviews, transcribing data and conducting analyses. Over the coming months I also hope to work with Dr. Dempsey in disseminating our findings and preparing papers for publication. During my time as an intern I have always felt supported by my supervisor. With her mentoring I now feel competent in aspects of the research process which were previously unfamiliar and daunting to me.
Although at times it was challenging to juggle the demands of my university course with the internship and other work commitments, overall the experience has benefitted me greatly. From an academic point of view, the knowledge and skills I acquired through my internship enabled me to approach college assignments with a critical and informed perspective. On a personal level, the rapport I have built with Dr. Dempsey has provided me with a space to consider and identify the areas of psychology which excite and interest me. Her guidance and encouragement has helped me to solidify my future career aspirations and I am now due to start a Masters in Health Psychology in King’s College London in September.
Overall, my experience as an intern in the School of Applied Psychology has been an immensely positive one and rewarding in ways I had not expected. I encourage anyone considering an internship to apply as it provides a wonderful learning opportunity and a platform to develop professionally.