Kirsty Hill – MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology

Kirsty Hill was born with a rare genetic condition called Fraser Syndrome which means she is registered deaf-blind, as well as having other disabilities. At the age of 15 she was also diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a chronic pain that affects the trigeminal nerve which carries sensation from the face to the brain.

Having started her undergraduate studies in Psychology at Swansea University in 2012, Kirsty returned to study a Master’s in Abnormal and Clinical Psychology.

On graduating with a Distinction, Kirsty, who also volunteers for mental health charity, MIND, said: “It feels amazing to know that all my hard work has paid off. Studying at university has always been my dream and for someone who has spent a lot of time in hospitals and using the health service in general, I’ve always wanted to understand and help people with the more emotional side of health and illness.”

“When deciding upon where to study for my Masters, Swansea seemed to be the obvious choice, since it offers one of only a few MSc courses in abnormal and clinical psychology (which is where my interests lie), and is recognised as being extremely competitive, offering the opportunity to study a wide range of clinical topics. I was also enticed by the enthusiasm and helpfulness of both Psychology department staff and students.

“My course involves the study of numerous aspects within the field of clinical psychology, including understanding psychological disorders such as eating disorders, psychosis, and the psychological impact of physical health conditions, in addition to exploring various psychological treatment interventions for these disorders. Throughout my course, I have gained many invaluable skills, such as being able to produce a psychological case formulation and treatment plan, and the ability to develop and carry out my own research.

“I’ve particularly enjoyed the more health-related aspects of psychology, such as the study of how people cope with chronic illness and chronic pain.”

Kirsty’s studies have been aided by the University’s Transcription Centre, which provides accessible learning resources to print disabled students.

“They (Transcription Centre) have been absolutely invaluable in their help and support throughout my studies,” she said. “Their huge task in making all my work accessible has made me feel on an equal level to my peers and has allowed me to progress this far.”

Kirsty will now begin a three-year PhD at Swansea University. She said: “I plan to conduct research aimed at promoting psychological wellbeing in people living with a visual impairment. My ultimate ambition is to become a Clinical Psychologist, with a specialised interest in chronic health conditions.”

Find out more about the MSc Abnormal and Clinical Psychology here