Being offered a job before leaving Uni was more than I had hoped for

Art Psychotherapist Kathleen Maunsell-Cogley

Art Psychotherapist Kathleen Maunsell-Cogley works in a PMLD [profound and multiple learning disabilities] school in Liverpool. She recently accepted a second post, working with BME and migrant communities. The post will involve school-based intervention with children who have experienced trauma.

Kathleen graduated from the MA Art Psychotherapy course in 2015.

Describe a typical day
My day usually starts with an informal catch up with teachers and staff in the school staff room to find out what’s happened over the past week before setting up the art room ready for my first client. 

Because of the nature of the school, I will collect clients from their classrooms and bring them to the art room. We then spend between 45 minutes and an hour together in the session. I always provide a wide range of materials including clay, paint, pens and pastels. I also use a sand tray and puppets with some of my clients depending on their preference and personal need.  

Typically in a day, I see five clients in face-to-face sessions but as and when needed, I attend core group meetings and undertake reviews with parents and clients. The rest of the day can be spent reviewing cases with my supervisor, taking and assessing new referrals and writing up sessions’ notes.

How did you get the job?
I was fortunate to be offered a job in the school where I undertook my final year placement and since then the role has really become embedded into the school. Receiving my rt Psychotherapy qualification was the pinnacle of my academic achievements so far but being offered a job on my placement before leaving University was more than I had hoped for. 

What motivates you?
Working with profound and multiple learning disabilities clients makes me realise how important the role of psychological therapies are in providing them with a means of communication, to express their inner turmoil, thoughts and hopes. I love my job and even when things are challenging - which they can be - the energy and perseverance that the young people show inspires me and makes me want to continually grow as an Art Psychotherapist and understand more about their world and their experiences.

Highlights of the Art Psychotherapy course
There are so many different aspects to the course but the experiential and group learning processes used are such a powerful way to learn, share and understand what Art Psychotherapy is about. Another positive were the lecturers because of their complete dedication and belief in the process of Art Psychotherapy and its positive impact on mental health.