Katie-Marie Jervis, BSc (Hons) Psychology
- What did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied BSc (Hons) Psychology followed by M.Sc in Clinical and Abnormal Psychology. I graduated from my Honours in 2004 and my Masters in 2006
- Why did you decide to study a Psychology degree at Swansea University?
I liked the look and “feel” of the University when I came to visit, the Psychology Department staff were friendly on the open day and it was lovely to be able walk across the road to the beach; the ocean was always going to be big part of my life! The psychology department was also ranked highly across the UK universities, so that was also appealing.
- What are your fondest memories of being a student at Swansea?
Attending my lectures and thinking “this is what I’m going to do one day”. Spending the first year at the student village and totally immersing myself in university life. I was a member of the swim team as well as the water-polo team and finally became swim captain during my final year. I spent a lot of time at the pool and have happy memories of walking home to Uplands through Singleton park after a day of study and play! The friends I met at Swansea have become life-long friends whom I remain in contact with, despite moving to the other side of the world. I also found my love for surfing after moving to Swansea. Most of my evenings and weekends were spend in the Gower learning to surf, this is what ultimately made me want to live in New Zealand!
- What was the degree and the lecturers like?
The psychology degree was interesting and the lecturers were always approachable. I remain in contact with some of my old lecturers to this day!
- What happened when you graduated?
I struggled to find work in the mental health field as the demand was high and availability of jobs was low. This made me turn my attention to the forensic setting and I started to look for work in prison. I was offered my first job as an assistant psychologist at Aylesbury Prison and worked there for 1.5 years before deciding I wanted to teach psychology. I then moved to Yeovil College and lectured there, but as I’d spent some time travelling, I always knew I wanted to live and work abroad. The surf was also calling and I wanted to work in either Australia or New Zealand. This led me to apply for work via a recruitment consultant who was looking for psychologists to work in Australia’s/New Zealand prisons at the time. I was subsequently offered a job at Spring Hill prison on the North Island of New Zealand and moved in 2008. This was perfect as it was close to Raglan, a world renowned surfing spot. I’ve surfed regularly ever since and have even entered a few competitions over this way.
- Tell us about your role in New Zealand
I have worked for the Department of Corrections since 2008 as both a group therapist (providing treatment to New Zealand’s highest risk violent and sex offenders in prison) and an individual therapist. I have worked both in a number of prisons and in the community. My current role involves me providing comprehensive clinical and risk assessments to high risk violent and sex offenders (child and adult type offenders) both in prison and in the community.
I provide assessment reports to Prison Services, Probation Services, the New Zealand Parole Board, and the High Courts. I also deliver treatment, both individually and in group, and have also been involved in developing and piloting a brief treatment programme in prison which focusses on relapse prevention principles and safety planning. I am also responsible for supervising other, more junior, psychologists and I provide consultation services to other stakeholders. As New Zealand is a Bi-Cultural society, I work in line with the requirements of the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to being culturally responsive to our Maori offenders.
This year, I am going to slow down a bit as I am about to have my first child. In line with a work-life balance (which is very kiwi) I am about to commence my own private practice as I live rurally and there is a real need for psychological support in my community. I continue to surf as much as I can and I have the perfect lifestyle, living on my partners’ organic farm by the coast close to another world-renowned surf spot, Whangamata Bar!