I have been exploring the job market for a role that I could apply to that would give me the opportunity to use my experience with creativity and passion for care together to help people. After applying to one of the advertisements, I was shortlisted for an interview! It was incredibly motivating to speak to people who work in the healthcare industry and to have the opportunity to introduce myself to them.
While this has increased my enthusiasm for entering this field and developing a career in art therapy, it showed me that I have some anxieties about the future. They are mainly centred around the fact that I do not have as much clinical experience as I would like to have. While I have been working at a care home as a Receptionist since 2017, and before volunteered as a Teaching Assistant at a Polish Language School, I think I would need some support in the workplace with medical terminology.
This makes me anxious as to whether I would be able to find future jobs in the wellbeing sector, as there are always other candidates who would have had more experience in the field than me. Why should the employers choose me?
During the interview, I wanted to settle the interviewers’ hesitance on my experience by acknowledging this limitation, while showing that I am already working on developing my technical knowledge. I really enjoy learning about the connection between creativity and wellbeing through peer-reviewed journals, and published books written by past pioneers of art therapy such as Edith Kramer, and contemporary practitioners. I also have yearly training from my workplace in safeguarding vulnerable adults, and the ‘Mind the Gap’ programme which has been wonderful at teaching me the challenges of dementia.
At the same time, I have also been looking at further training opportunities I could get involved with to develop my knowledge of the mental health field. I have found a Mental Health First Aid training course that I would really love to do one day. The course costs £300 per person, so I am going to save up and plan to book a place on the course within the next 6 months.
There are also further courses I could get involved with, through the Future Learn website to get more of an understanding on mental health or save up further and complete an accredited course through the Open University. Eventually, I am really motivated to complete a postgraduate degree in Art Therapy.
Moreover, I could also network with local hospitals, to enquire whether their Occupational Therapists or Art Therapists might be available to answer some questions for me, and perhaps even allow me to shadow them for a day!
Lastly, I could also get involved with volunteering opportunities with local and nationwide charities, such as the Mind charity, to gain further experience and become more confident in my skills. I am anxious of making a mistake in the future during care, which is why I am so passionate about becoming more confident in myself, and the best way to do that in my opinion is to increase my knowledge and gain some first-hand experience.
Some of my other worries, involved more practical issues. For instance, I still don’t have a driving license! While I have a test booked for July, I am frustrated that I am finding it less accessible to travel for job opportunities.
Furthermore, I am also wondering whether my passion for getting involved with work and people, will make it more difficult for me to keep developing my identity as an artist due to less time or motivation. I think it is important to keep working on your relationship with creativity if you are using this medium to connect with and facilitate the wellbeing of others.
I will work on setting up a structure for myself after graduation to make sure I do not let my tasks and responsibilities take charge of me. I value my organisational abilities and will capitalise on these to provide myself with a structure I will be able to rely in times of stress, making sure I also make time for exploring my artist identity and fluidity.
In a nutshell, I am anxiously-excited to get started!