"I had never thought of myself as academic" says graduate, Karina Burt

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With the help of a great support network, MA Art Psychotherapy graduate, Karina Burt, undertook multiple work placements during her time at USW and has a very successful career ahead of her.

"My final year USW student placement was at a women’s community service, and I was the first person to offer art psychotherapy in the service.  I created strong working relationships with my colleagues and the service users and felt very much part of the team. Towards the end of my time on placement, I was offered the opportunity to continue working part-time as their art psychotherapist.  I was very proud of having set up group and individual therapy for the service and I was enthusiastic to start working for an exceptionally inspiring organisation. After a year of working on a temporary contract, I now work for them on a self-employed basis.

At the same time, I continued to work as a creative arts coordinator in my other part time job (in residential homes for young people), until they announced they would be advertising for an art psychotherapist. I applied and was offered the role after interview.

Alongside these positions, I work one day a month for a cancer support centre. In a chance conversation, I was told about the centre and I plucked up the courage to give them a call. From our meeting, I was invited to join a new initiative setting up a pre-bereavement group for families and extended families affected by cancer, working as an expressive arts facilitator. 

Due to working for three very different organisations, each day brings new and varied expectations and challenges. I am motivated by the clients’ recovery journeys. Through their artwork and voices, I encounter powerful, emotive, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories. I am in awe of their exceptional courage and resilience. I feel privileged to be working as an Art Psychotherapist where I am invited to be part of these journeys.

I have never thought of myself as academic or even as a career person. During my USW MA Art Psychotherapy studies, balancing home, work and study was not always easy. However, with the support of my peers, tutors, colleagues, friends and family, I somehow survived the gruelling and yet exceptionally rewarding challenges. I wish I could bottle the emotion I experienced in the moment I knew I would be graduating with my peers. I also gratefully recall the moment that I took a deep breath and emailed my MA Art Psychotherapy application to USW."