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Forensic Psychology, ADHD & Dyslexia with Amy Jayne Needham

This article has been amended from Episode 62 of The Aspiring Psychologist Podcast. If you'd prefer to listen to it then you can here.You can also watch it on YouTube here.

Dr. Marianne Trent 00:28

Hi, welcome along to the aspiring psychologist blog. I am Dr. Marianne Trent and I'm a Qualified Clinical Psychologist. It is my aim in this podcast that we illuminate different areas of psychology and where you might find yourself working or want to work one day for that matter. I also like to introduce you to people behind the professional psychology hat and so today is a really useful opportunity for us to do just that. We're going to be looking at forensic psychology as a career today, but we're also going to be looking at issues of neurodiversity, specifically ADHD and dyslexia. So, I hope you find this a really useful read, I am joined by a guest today to talk us through all of this stuff, please do come and connect with me on the aspiring psychologist community free Facebook group where we can discuss this episode and more and if you've got any questions or things you want, help from the audience to answer, then you're welcome to post in the group as well. So, yeah, hope you find this a useful chat and I look forward to catching up with you on the other side. Hi, I just want to welcome along Amy Jayne Needham, to the podcast. Hi, Amy.

Amy Jayne Needham 01:56


Dr. Marianne Trent 01:58

Thank you for joining us and you are currently a trainee forensic psychologist. That's right, isn't it?

Amy Jayne Needham 02:05

Yes, it is. Yeah.

Dr. Marianne Trent 02:07

Lovely and it's always lovely to introduce new branches of professional qualified psychology routes to our listeners. We've got lots that we're wanting to talk to you about today, but could we have a little bit of an overview of you, you know, how you got there and yeah, why forensic would be really useful?

Amy Jayne Needham 02:29

Yeah, so for me, forensic psychology, I've always been interested in sort of forensic settings. And, for me, I just think there's so much good work that can be done. There is a lot of people that were in the services that have sustained trauma, they've had lots of difficult life experiences and I think for me and it's a field where I feel like I can do the most good and as well, I just think it's really fascinating. I never have two days that are the same and I think for me, I kind of need that really sort of chaotic environment where two days are not the same. I think if things are the same day to day, I think I'd become quite bored. So, I kind of like that it is different and no two days are the same, but also, I have worked in professional, I can help people as well.

Dr. Marianne Trent 03:12

Brilliant and if people are listening and they're like, I don't even know what a forensic psychologist is and what sort of clients they'd work with and in which settings, could you give us a little bit of an overview in that area as well, please?

Amy Jayne Needham 03:27

Yeah, so I think forensic psychology is a really wide field and I think people will just think, oh, actually, you just work in prisons. So, that is true, some forensic psychologists do work in prisons and however, we tend to work with people that present any sort of challenging behaviour or forensic behaviours, but also, we can work with people on the other side, so we can work with victims, we can work with the court and the criminal justice system. It is such a wide area, so it isn't just prisons and hospitals and my preference is I like working in secure hospitals, or working more sort of like on the healthcare side but yeah, it's such a wide variety if you're interested within the criminal justice system and sort of forensic behaviour, whether it be the people that commit the crimes or kind of are involved with offending or kind of the other side, sort of working with victims and it's such a huge field, so you kind of can work wherever and also, there's forensic positions and kind of work with the community prior to the job that I'm working at now, because I currently work in secure forensic hospital, but prior to that, I worked in the community for the NHS, so I worked on the offender personality disorder pathway. So, there is a huge variety of positions, a different place you can work with in forensic psychology.

Dr. Marianne Trent 04:53

There's also quite an overlap between the relevant experience for clinical, counselling and forensic psychology, isn't there. So, I know both of my assistant posts actually, were forensic settings. So, I was an assistant clinical psychologist within forensic population, so the first was a large Psychiatric Hospital and the second was a youth prison, but I was very keen to carve out relevant clinical stuff, but within an offending population.

Amy Jayne Needham 05:24

Yeah, that is true and I think Before, there used to be such a more of a difference in terms of forensic psychology, or if you kind of look in, like old school prison psychology, it used to be very separate, but I think now there's a lot more overlap between the professions and so you kind of have forensic psychologists that work in clinical settings, like in hospitals and prisons in the community, you have clinical psychologists that work within prisons, I do think the overlap between the professions is a lot less. I think, overall, we do have an understanding of what assessment is formulation, treatments and kind of that sort of approach to working with patients and that doesn't really differ too much, whether it's clinical or forensic, or what sort of population that you're working with and I think probably in the forensic aspect, there's a little bit more training around risk we do. As part of our training, we had lectures, specifically around violence, risk assessment, sexual risk assessments and because I think stereotypically, or historically, that's a bit more of a forensic sort of aspect, but my supervisors have been both clinical and forensic psychologists working in hospitals. So, there's not really been that much of a difference.

Dr. Marianne Trent 06:53

Brilliant, thank you for illuminating our listeners and awareness in those areas. Could you tell us a little bit about what your training's like and what was it really demanding that really involved? What does it take from you?

Amy Jayne Needham 07:07

And I find the training quite intense, to be honest, that there is so many different ways to kind of qualify in forensic psychology. So, I've chose to go down the doctoral route and so there is two universities that offer the doctoral route there is University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham and they kind of are based on the BPS route. So, you do stage one, which is the MSc and then you have the equivalent of stage two, which is the doctor aspect and it's kind of encapsulated all in one course and it does have a lot more of the research element and it's kind of the extra sort of research element, which is why it's the doctor route. So, some of the other routes are practitioner based routes. So, there is the BPS route, there is the forensic practitioner route at Cardiff and were there, you'd have to I'm not gonna say, I don't know as much about the routes, I think it's like a postgraduate sort of diploma sort of route.

Dr. Marianne Trent 08:09

And regardless of what route you take, when you qualify as a forensic psychologist, does that mean that you're able to register as a forensic psychologist with the HCPC?

Amy Jayne Needham 08:20

Yes, so whichever route you choose to take you are, you can still register with HCPC and some of the routes are not chartered. So, I don't think the Cardiff route, you can apply for charged it with the BPS. I'm not too sure, there's a little bit of variation and obviously, with the doctorate route, there is the doctorate aspect as well. And we say compared to like the other route, so I've had friends that have gone down their clinical route, they've gone down the educational route, it seems to be a lot more streamlined. So, you have the doctorate and that's kind of the way of qualifying whereas forensic there seems to be a little bit more sort of variation. Personally, I found the doctorate were quite demanding just because I was working four days a week and some days I was working five, because I chose to use paid placements. So, the doctoral route isn't funded and so I've used a doctoral loan to cover the cost of my course for years and the training is expensive. I will add that. So, for me, I wasn't able to do the course I wasn't able to find funded placements and so I've used assistant psychologist posts and kind of found my own sort of placements to kind of get me through the course. So, that had that added level of sort of a little bit of stress because I had to find posts, but the university was fine with as long as the post met the sort of criteria. So, they had to be with a forensic population.

So, I couldn't have like a post working so in an eating disorder The clinics it didn't have as much relevance in terms of forensic psychology and so, yeah, I had to find my place, which was quite stressful, I was working a lot of the time doing research at the weekends and so it is quite intense, there isn't sort of a lot of time in terms of, to write your reports to kind of do the extra sort of university work required. So, I find it quite difficult and we have a write up here, which is, so the placements are over two years. So, I've done for six months placements and within that time, I've done the practitioner sort of side. So, I've written placement reports of evidence competencies within the forensic psychology, so they have core roles. So, I core ones assessment and formulation, core twos, research, three is like educational is within psychological knowledge and for his training, so I've had to evidence all of that, but then obviously, I don't have the time as such to write the reports. So, all of that has been done so much kind of like in spare time. So, I've ended up using the write up year, which I'm still in now to still be writing up my thesis. So, yeah, I find it quite full on to be honest.

Dr. Marianne Trent 11:20

It sounds it, it sounds it, but what it also sounds like is the end is in sight Amy.

Amy Jayne Needham 11:26

Yes. So, I we have two thesis, I'm not sure the plural is, but I have two. So, I have finished my clinical one, which is kind of our practice portfolio, which is our practical skills and I was fired earlier this year and I've just got amendments to write and I'm currently in the process of finishing my research. So, each thesis comprised of six chapters and I'm just writing like my last sort of chapter and I have got the discussion, which is chapter six, but in my head, that's a small chapter. So, it's just an overall summary. So, I've got one actual full chapter to write and then it's on to the discussion.

Dr. Marianne Trent 12:13

Amazing and then you're thinking about applying for qualified roles?

Amy Jayne Needham 12:20

Well, I'm currently in a qualified position. So, some posts will kind of be open to trainees that are either at the end of their training, or within so many months of qualifying and so my last post was in as well was for a qualified and they were kind of just offer extra sort of support. And I guess, because we're my roots a little bit different, I have like this sort of, like interim period. So, I've finished all of my core roles, I've kind of evidence, all the stuff that I need in terms of my clinical work, that because I'm doing the doctoral route, I don't get my HTPC registration, I don't fully qualify till I finish the research side of my course as well and so I've kind of finished and had all my clinical work signed off, but whilst I'm kind of writing up my research, I'm qualified but not qualified, if that makes sense. I mean, like this interim period.

Dr. Marianne Trent 13:23

I'm with you. So, I'm a bit of a middle ground.

Amy Jayne Needham 13:25


Dr. Marianne Trent 13:26

And then does your pay go up once you are fully HCPC registered as well.

Amy Jayne Needham 13:31

And so a lot of positions either, so I work in a private company at the moment and what they do is they kind of pay you in terms of your core roles. So, because I've obviously submitted evidence for the core roles, I'm just paid at the top of like a trainee band and then obviously, once I qualify and I've got my registration or that sort of stuff, I would move on to a qualified salary and within the NHS, I know sort of the more they will say, like band six until qualified or they will call it like a preceptor ship psychologist role. So, it's, for those that kind of near the end of training and looking sort of to be in a post for when they qualify.

Dr. Marianne Trent 14:10

I'm with you, that's really useful to know and in terms of timeframes. So, you probably know or might know that site, that clinical psychology, you tend to apply in autumn and then hope to get interviews in spring and then it starts in September. Is there any sort of predictable pattern for forensic or was it all just like throwing up things in the air and seeing what happens?

Amy Jayne Needham 14:35

So I guess it depends what route you want to go down and I think within the prison service they have, like National sort of recruiting drives where they recruit so many forensic psychologists and there's a waiting list. I'm not obviously very familiar with that sort of route, but I know that they do have that and I've seen people post about that and with the BPS through it I'm not too sure I know that they have revamped it a little bit because it used to be like kind of like how long is a piece of sort of string, it would be when you've completed evidence for core role, you'd move on to the next But they've kind of like added, like deadlines and timeframes, because that was one of the issues. In terms it was taking people such a long time to train and I think for me, that was one thing that deterred me from the BPS route was because I feel like I needed that sort of structured sort of timeline of this is when you have to get this done. This is when you have to get that done just to keep me on track and so for the BPS, I'm not actually sure there is information sort of, on their route, I think if to look at if you look online, with the, with my route, it's a similar sort of thing in terms of I applied, I think, in February sort of time, and then I kind of had the interview and that sort of stuff and I was offered a place then for September and it was September, obviously, like that it follows like an academic term and so I've saved from it, it is a little bit similar to the clinical I had I did my application, I had an interview, obviously, from the outcome of the interview that I was offered a position to start in September and I think for the other routes, because at work, we have other trainees as well and they're on the Cardiff route and they had interviews, I think they do one or two intakes and it's a similar sort of thing you will apply through the university, you have an interview and then depending of the outcome start, obviously when they turn time starts.

Dr. Marianne Trent 16:40

Brilliant. Thank you. I know, when I was working in an inpatient hospital, I was working with trainee forensic psychologists and it wasn't a doctoral route at that stage. I don't think not that they were doing anyway and they found it really difficult because it seemed like constantly, the goalposts were changing, they might be in the middle of a placement or in the middle of the unit and then they'd suddenly rewrite what they wanted, or what the expectations were and they'd have to sort of start again and it just sounded incredibly frustrating for these trainees. Is that still going on or is it become a bit more uniform?

Amy Jayne Needham 17:15

I think because my route, I was through the university and all the routes kind of have a same sort of thing, but they're all really different. So, when I'm hearing that the trainees at work talking about what do they call them? SOPs and I'm not sure what that is, is something of proficiency and I'm like, I don't have this, what's this? Like, I feel like all the roots have their own sort of way of going through it. And so I'm not...

Dr. Marianne Trent 17:46

Not in uniform and fair and consistent, which is always good to hear, but yeah, other opinions may be available, depending on which route people are doing there.

Amy Jayne Needham 17:57

I think does have like a little bit of variation in them, but I do have to say like, mine was quite, we had a handbook, which was kind of laid out, I knew that I had the four placements, I knew I had to do placement report. So, it was kind of it did feel very structured and laid out which I think for me, I needed that structure. So, that's kind of what drew me towards that sort of that sort of training route.

Dr. Marianne Trent 18:18

Probably brilliant. Thank you. So, we are connected on LinkedIn and got chatting about your love of your love of rodents, really, but also, more recently, you've been sharing your journey about ADHD assessment and treatment as well. Could you tell us a little bit about how you first started thinking about ADHD and what that's been like for you?

Amy Jayne Needham 18:47

Yeah and so for me, I've always kind of known I had ADHD, I was stereotypically when you think of like a boy child with ADHD, I was very disruptive. I was having like, meltdowns in supermarkets. I was when you think stereotypically of what ADHD is an inner child. I was kind of that child, I was really disruptive. So, I think from kind of like, really early on, my mom knew I was a little bit different to my sister. She was like, she's, she's a little bit of a challenge at times.

Dr. Marianne Trent 19:25

Doesn't play with rats, I'm guessing.

Amy Jayne Needham 19:28

Well, actually, it's only when I moved out from home, I had rodents, but I've always had pets. I've always grew up with pets.

Dr. Marianne Trent 19:35

So just very different types of people.

Amy Jayne Needham 19:39

Yeah and I think I enjoy growing up. To be honest, I think in terms of the sort of assessment and diagnosis of ADHD, especially within girls and women has improved a lot from when I was a child. I think my mom My mom spoke about when she taught me for an assessment, I think it was around four and so I mean, I'm 30 now, so 26 years ago and she, she just said that they wasn't kind of sure I was really disruptive and so she kind of sought support from her friend who was she was a teacher, but she taught children who are kind of disruptive and she went to the pupil referral unit and so I kind of, she had a lot of support in terms of like behavioural interventions, in terms of structure, keep myself really busy and so I've kind of grew up, sort of knowing that I was a little bit different.

Dr. Marianne Trent 20:41

So you can fulfil the diagnosis for at that stage, it's something you came back to?

Amy Jayne Needham 20:47

It was when I was in secondary school, so it was kind of like, everyone sort of knew even at school those like, Amy has definitely got ADHD, like, she doesn't sit still, she constantly talks like, I was always sat on my own on the desk, because whoever was sat next to me, I will just talk, I'll be really disruptive and so I had kind of, I had an assessment, I think I was around 13 or 14 and that kind of came, they suggested that I had ADHD and then there was something around do I want to be? Do I want to go to a different school? Do I need to be sort of like go to a special school? And my mom's like, no, she is fine. Like, I think that was kind of the way it's progressed a little bit. It's if you have this diagnosis, you have to be educated differently, where she was like, no, she's fine. So, I, I then at the school kind of provided some extra support, if it was, because I kind of wasn't on like a CD sort of borderline, I was achieving kind of really well at school, they didn't know what to do with me if I'm being honest. They were like, well, she doesn't need a teaching assistant. She is just a bit chatty. So, they, I don't know what I had this person, I don't know what I did with them. I just kind of it was like an hour a week, but I had that whilst I think it was in, through GCSE, but then it was actually my PE teacher was like, Amy, I think you've got dyslexia and he was like your written work is good, but like you can't spell and so it wasn't until I went to university where I actually had a lot of formal assessments. So, through, I had to do an extra year at sixth form because I was a little bit disruptive. I didn't go to some of my classes and I failed one year and I kind of obviously, then redid a lot of things at a level and for university, I was like, right, I probably do need to have formal assessments and have a look at what sort of support can be offered. Because I've just kind of coasted through education because I can see because I was still achieving like relatively good grades, I got like A's and B's and I until I was at sixth form, it was a lot more kind of self-directed. There wasn't too much of a problem as such, like she's disruptive, but can get that cancel achieve and so when I went to university, they did like a formal assessment, it was through the Disabled Students Allowance and they are really, really good. So, I had a dyslexia assessment, they kind of looked at everything and put all of the things in place in terms of what support I needed at university and whilst I was at university I had then an undergrad uni, and then I had another formal assessment for ADHD and that's kind of the one which then is used, I can say is now I've been seeking extra support, but it was from the stuff from the university and from the second sort of diagnostic opinion with what they use, so that and again, but that was all through university. So, I found that quite helpful.

Dr. Marianne Trent 24:07

And so initially, you were sort of making lifestyle changes and giving yourself more structure and routine, I'm guessing. More recently, you have decided to explore medication options, haven't you?

Amy Jayne Needham 24:20

Yeah and to be honest, I was offered medication while I was completing my undergrad and I think it's something that I've always been really anxious about and I think as well, a lot of people with ADHD, me especially you kind of internalize your difficulties and kind of feel like you're not as good. So, it's kind of like and you're trying to mask things and compensate and show that you're the same as everybody else and I think for me taking medication at that point, as well as admitting that there is something wrong or admitting that I'm not as good. I know that's not true, but that's kind of how it felt at that time. So, because I was able to kind of sort of manage Should I say I didn't take medication then and it was more so in terms of completing my doctorate and I think it was, I work full time, I do a full time course and I bought a house with my partner. So, I've got obviously adult responsibilities. And I think it was just everything together was just too much for me to kind of manage with. I try and obviously use behavioural strategies, I try and structure my day and things like that. I try and get a good night's sleep. I say try. It doesn't always work, but I think it got to the point where I was like, actually, I'm going home from work and I'm just completely exhausted and I'm just so burnt out, like, I go and sit on the sofa and I'd be like a taco of quilts and like, I need to be left for an hour.

Dr. Marianne Trent 25:52

Like highly functional, but at what cost and the cost was all your own personal deficit.

Amy Jayne Needham 25:58

Yeah and I actually this is not helpful. So, I say I initially started the medication thinking actually, if it helped me get through my doctorate, I do need to take it then again after, but actually, I found it really helpful. It just kind of help in terms of not feeling chronically overwhelmed or burnt out.

Dr. Marianne Trent 26:20

Okay, that's good because I think there's probably quite a high correlation between ADHD and colleges, I believe. I definitely think I've got traits of ADHD for sure. So, how has it been then? Taking meds? I remember seeing you talking about headaches and stuff initially.

Amy Jayne Needham 26:38

Yeah, I think one of the things that I did notice was increased temperature. So, I am always generally quite warm when I take my medication, like I'm wearing a t shirt today, but increased body temperature, like I did have headaches, I have quite a fuzzy head, but one of the things I would do is I'm really bad for forgetting to drink and I'd go throughout the day and I wouldn't have drank much and I think as well, that was part of it, I felt a lot better, because I will kind of make myself drink, I'll have like a bottle of water and I'm like, right, I need to I need to drink as much as this as I can. when I'm sat down at my desk, I will drink and so I still do notice, like, the main thing is that my increased body temperature, but the rest of the stuff, I think, I don't know if I'm just learning to tolerate it, or I've just become used to it, but it hasn't. Other than that I haven't been too bad. I know, some people have really struggled to eat or feel sick and I haven't really noticed that I think maybe I don't eat as much crap, but I think that's because when I'm bored, I'd like right, what can I do? I don't eat some chocolate just because it's, you get that obviously, then then whatever chemical is released from eating chocolate.

Dr. Marianne Trent 27:58

You're getting that stimulation, you know, more stuff in you no more. Yeah, all of that and I know some of the clients I've worked with when they've started taking meds have been like, oh my God, have other people been like this all the time and I just didn't know, have you had that level of kind of or not so much?

Amy Jayne Needham 28:18

Yeah, I guess, my head is really busy, so I have lots of thoughts and sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with them. So, it'll be like one thought and then another and then another and that has slowed down a little bit. So, I'll be writing something about writing a sentence and like, the next pick up the next bit and I just can't keep up and or I'll be having a conversation with somebody and then something will pop into my head or I'll be distracted by something and I'm fully gone. Like, I really struggled to filter what my attention goes to it will be something in my environment. I'd be like, Okay, it's there. It's there. Someone's talking over there and I think with the medication, it's quieter. Like I don't notice as many sort of thoughts. I feel like it it feels quiet. I don't know how to explain it more than that.

Dr. Marianne Trent 29:09

I think that's the thing I struggle with most is that I'll come on to the laptop for a very specific reason or I'll open a new webpage because I'll need to, for example, do something on LinkedIn or send a message to someone or do something on my mailing list software, but my homepage is it's just a random feed of news and things. I don't even know what page it is, but it's really interesting and it's got like new breaking news headlines and stories from around the country and locally and sometimes 10 minutes will go by and I'd be like, Oh God, I still haven't done that thing and yeah, so I think it is about being really boundaries and recognizing when the thoughts come that want to drag you in different directions and then being a bit like hold on a minute. No, you can do that later.

Amy Jayne Needham 30:01

Yeah, definitely and I will, I'll go into the kitchen and I'll go in for a cup of tea and then I'll see something on the way like I've left a plate here, I'll pick that plate off and I've gone into the kitchen, oh, I might have some chocolate coins, or I've done something else and then I'll come back and I forgot my drink and I'm like, What should I go in for my tea, go back and get a cup of tea and it's just my attention can go everywhere, but I do feel like it is a lot easier to kind of focus on what I what I need to focus on rather than being so distracted by everything and I think just the ability to be able to sit and do something. So, I use an app called forest. Because I really struggle to sit and do my work. My phone is my enemy. I'll be like, oh, I can go on LinkedIn. I can go on WhatsApp, oh, this Tiktok, I'll just watch two videos, like an hour later. I'm like, oh, that was helpful and so this app disables everything and I grow like little tree, but if I go on to the apps, it will kill my tree and I'll have a dead like a wilting tree, my forest really don't want a wilting tree, my forest. So, it will stop me from kind of going off topic because I can't but I will notice I'm picking my phone up and it'll say, stop fooling. Like get back to what you're doing your phone is distracting you, but I'd set it for 15 minutes and then I'd be still picking my phone up but I can set it for I could probably set it for about half an hour to 45 minutes now and I've had it where my time has gone off and I'm still kind of doing my work and going from being able to concentrate probably 15 minutes to like an hour. So, it has made like a positive difference. Yeah.

Dr. Marianne Trent 31:57

And how does that crop up for you when you're in client sessions or when you're doing clinical work with people?

Amy Jayne Needham 32:04

And I think it's definitely because it's work that I'm I kind of prep in and kind of stuff like that I'm Okay, but I struggle more in sort of like long meetings. So, if we have like, ward round and it's like three hours and we've got, we see in six people and to have like, I'm just gonna go to the toilet a minute, or when there's a gap between when we've seen people, or sometimes we'll have like a meeting before ward round or like, day and I'd come back and for me on my ward round was at the end of the day. So, I'd come back up and I'd like it's five o'clock, I've got an hour and I literally wouldn't be doing anything that functional, it'd be, do I need to type something? Or do I need to tidy my desk or I need to sort some files because I'd literally fried and so I found the meeting side a lot harder, but again, that's been a lot easier and with the medication, I still kind of get up and walk around and like, I'm just gonna go to the toilet, because it just breaks it up a little bit more, but I think that's where it kind of affects us as long meetings.

Dr. Marianne Trent 33:18

Oh, hey, hated meetings. Honestly, the way to kill my soul was to invite me to a meeting and often I used to find that meetings could have just been an email as well, like, this didn't this didn't need to happen and obviously when your is slightly different in forensic services and when you're trying to make team decisions as well, because you need to have that MDT input, but it is really tricky to have that sustained attention and to hold all these different ideas and different opinions in mind and they are long, you know and that's why when I was in psychiatric hospital, they used to get nice biscuits for us to make that attention more likely, but I definitely did have a slightly enlarged waistline when I was working in services with nice biscuits.

Amy Jayne Needham 33:59

I do have to say, the psychiatrists on our ward, she always brings lovely biscuits and there's always nice teas and coffees and I'm like, yeah, this is a good wardrobe.

Dr. Marianne Trent 34:14

Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Thank you so much for sharing your insight and information so freely and warmly with us. Is there anything I haven't asked you, Amy that you think would be useful for the audience to know, or that you wish I had asked you?

Amy Jayne Needham 34:31

I guess for me, one of the things which I found helpful is being a lot more open about having ADHD and neurodiversity and I guess for me, it's one of the things that I've always kind of been a lot more kind of resistant about sharing due to kind of, I guess it's the fears of the negative connotations of ADHD and especially working in forensic settings. I'd be like we work with patients who have ADHD do they think that I'm going to do something people who employ me think I'm gonna do something important? You think it's gonna affect my ability to do my job and I think this is something I was really kind of concerned about and was kind of a barrier to me kind of being a lot more open, but actually, I found kind of the opposite. So, I've shared that I have ADHD and dyslexia with my team and my supervisor, he's incredibly supportive and actually, it's been really beneficial because at least that kind of like shared and understanding of, say for example, if I go to a session and or I'm doing sort of group work with it, or work with somebody else, just kind of that extra help, we got everything because I might forget it and I think sometimes symptoms of ADHD can be perceived negatively and I think if people aren't aware, it could be perceived as I'm just not prepared or I'm not, I don't care about doing work with other people, because I've forgotten the materials I've not prepped and which actually isn't the case, like sometimes I've just generally genuinely forgot, or my organization isn't as good, but I found it been really helpful sort of being open and sharing that with my team and they've actually said, well, actually, no, it's really beneficial. Because you have that added insight in terms of how ADHD affects you, is there any way that I can alter sessions and make them a bit more sort of user friendly for patients who can't focus for an hour? so yeah, I found that it has been positive being a lot more open with my team and I do get that sometimes there is also the flip side, you may not have such a supportive work environment, but as a whole, I've found more people are supportive than not supportive.

Dr. Marianne Trent 36:42

Good, I'm really pleased to hear that and I guess this is some of the considerations for the pathologizing nature of certain kinds of conditions, really, because it doesn't make you any different. It's a framework for understanding the things that you struggle with and the things that are more effortless for you and actually, as we increase people's knowledge and understanding about a variety of presentations, including ADHD, people to understand that this is an area, you know, in forensic psychology that you're highly interested in and so you're going to have more ability to be able to do those tasks and see things through from beginning to end. Whereas if there's something you really have no interest in, then that's going to be really much more of a struggle to make yourself engage with and make yourself follow through on.

Amy Jayne Needham 37:33

Yeah, I think that is one of the things that I struggle with the most if it's something which I don't like, or it is boring, it is like pulling teeth, but I guess, if it's something that you're interested in, I don't know, like I can sit and go through stuff I can, like, plan something for hours and if it's something that I'm interested in, like you've got my full attention.

Dr. Marianne Trent 38:01

Brilliant and if someone's listening to this and thinking, ah, I wonder if I might, you know, this rings a bell, you know, this is resonating with me. There are adult neurodiversity services in the UK. Isn't that is that the best thing to do or do people go to their GP, what would be your advice?

Amy Jayne Needham 38:21

I think one of the difficulties with the NHS services is they do have incredibly long wait times and I do know that is a difficulty for people who obviously I wanted to seek support. So, I already had a diagnosis. So, when I went through the service and they was just able to look at my previous notes and all the things and I still had to wait around five or six months and I think for a diagnosis, I think the waiting times there it is. So, I'm Nottingham Sure and I think it's around 18 months for ADHD and over two years for autism and I would definitely recommend kind of going to seek the support if you need to, I do think it's beneficial and there is always the option to go private, but the difficulty I found is that some NHS services will not accept private diagnoses and so obviously mine was through the NHS. Anyway. So, they was obviously they was quite happy to accept my diagnosis, but they said as Well, if I had gone privately and I had a private diagnosis, they would have had to reassess through the NHS. So, I don't know if that's just my service, but I think that's something to be aware about. Because these documents are expensive, the medication is expensive, it's not through the NHS. So, I definitely would recommend going and seeking that extra support and if you can persevere I would go through the NHS just because I'd hate for somebody to spend 1000s and then still have to go back through the NHS and one bit of advice I would recommend is if you are within education is to go through either Disabled Students Allowance or or to go through your university to the GP, because I found that a lot quicker. That's how I got my diagnosis.

Dr. Marianne Trent 40:10

Thank you. Recently, I'm aware of some clients that had gone for assessment for ADHD via a psychiatrist actually and once they was diagnosed and had started and tolerated medication, the NHS did then agree to do, you know, an actor to issue their prescriptions to take over their care. So, it might well be a difference, depending on where you live, but yeah, I think, if you can afford to go private or someone to help fund that private, it's definitely worth exploring. Yeah, because it can be transformational and when we're looking, especially at aspiring psychologists, you know, 18 months is a long time to wait, isn't it when you're trying to progress your career and get on with your life?

Amy Jayne Needham 41:01

Yeah, definitely and from one of the private services that I looked at, they had that sort of option in terms of when he was on a stable sort of dosage of medication, see what they will transfer you back to your GP and so I think it is solely dependent on kind of your location, what your GP or NHS service locally, will provide. Because if I found it really hard waiting six months and so I can't imagine how difficult it would be to wait the two years and then you've got it is such a long time. So, yeah, I do. I do sympathize with people going through that process.

Dr. Marianne Trent 41:41

Absolutely. Thank you so much for your time today. Amy. I am so looking forward to seeing when you become Dr. Amy Jayne Needham on LinkedIn. Sure you are as well.

Amy Jayne Needham 41:52

Thank you.

Dr. Marianne Trent 41:53

Wow, wasn't that lovely? Amy wanted me to let you know that she had a poorly mouse with her because she's a rodent mama and so she was having to keep an eye on half a brain on this mouse who keeps hurting themselves accidentally. So, yes, she really enjoyed the chat with us but she was slightly mouse aware at times as well and so if you've got any ideas or thoughts or insights into this episode, or it's evoked anything for you, then come and chat with us in the aspiring psychologists community group and let us know how it felt for you how it landed for you and if you enjoyed the episode, please do take a moment to rate and review it on Apple podcasts and if you're watching on YouTube, which is a possibility is Dr. Marianne Trent then please whilst you're there, like the videos subscribe to the channel and why not drop a comment in there to let me know how you found it. I will look forward to catching up with you for our next episode of the aspiring psychologists podcast which is available at 6am every Monday morning thank you so much for being part of my world and I'll catch up with you very soon take care.

To download your free supervision shaping guide click here
To check out the books by Dr Marianne Trent including The Clinical Psychologist Collective with an account by a Forensic Psychologist head here.


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