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One on One... with Pat Lindley

Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society

09 August 2013

One alternative career path                                               Occupational psychologist is my third career. It has followed being a full-time farmer’s wife and mum, then a teacher and lecturer in literacy working in the community and in the prison service both with youth offenders and with high-security prisoners.

One of the threads through that path
A love of reading and curiosity about its development in individuals, and an even greater curiosity about the validity of how reading ability is measured.

One thing that you would change about psychology
All psychologists should know about the theory and methods of testing to the level of the EFPA Test User Standards (level 2). It is so important in understanding individual differences in psychology.
I would change the undergraduate curriculum to see the knowledge and skills outlined in the EFPA Test User Standards (as opposed
to the requirements of the limited number of qualifications provided for test users) included in the undergraduate psychology degree regardless of any future of specialism. Those who chose not to test in a future career would then make the choice from an informed position.

One misunderstood thing about testing
The belief that you can always find a solution to a problem with a test. Knowing when not to test is as important as knowing when to do it.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Be curious.

One hero/heroine from psychology past or present
Professors Ann and Alan Clarke who, by being curious, changed thinking about mental disability by providing a focus on managing ability and emphasising what people can do, rather than keeping
a focus on disability and its diagnosis.

One cultural recommendation
How could I have lived most of my life in proximity to Huddersfield and not choose Handel’s Messiah sung by the Huddersfield Choral Society?

One hope for the future of psychology
Psychology is a relatively recent discipline and my hope is that it continues to build on its strong beginnings and becomes an even more accessible and recognisable profession. It has so much to offer.

One thing the BPS could do better
Be more inclusive in its membership of the Board of Trustees by setting up structures for greater turnover of individuals on the Board and facilitating the greater inclusion of practitioner psychologists. The Society can only benefit from new approaches, wider expertise and a broader skill set at the top.

One psychological superpower
To be able to remove the myths about psychologists
and their psychological superpowers!!

One final thought
I am so lucky to have been given the gifts of health, optimism and curiosity, and I wake up each morning so glad that I am an occupational psychologist. The work is so diverse and it’s a great career.

Online only questions and answers...

One regret
I have no regrets simply because regretting cannot move you back in time to change things. I believe in accepting, learning and moving on. Sometimes the acceptance has been hard but the learning has been positive.

One challenge you think psychology faces
The majority of the general public does not understand what psychology is or what psychologists do. Occupational psychology is making extraordinary progress in clarifying what it is that makes it different from the other specialist areas of psychology and what it can offer to the public. I do not doubt that the other specialist areas are doing the same thing. The next challenge for us all is to clarify what unites us and what defines our common base as psychologists so that we can present an integrated and coherent definition of psychology and psychologists to the public.

One ‘first’ in my career
Being a member of the first cohort of the Open University Psychology Graduates to get Graduate Basis for Recognition from the Society

One moment that changed the course of your career
There was never that single moment. There have been continuous threads that have moved me from one career to another almost seamlessly as opportunities for development and learning and choice of occupation have opened up.

One person who inspired you
Can I have two? Professor Judith Green who was my professor in the Open University and my examiner for my PhD, from who I learned how cognitive psychology could enable an understanding of reading and provide methods of assessing related abilities. Professor Alan Clarke, who believed in me, mentored me and enabled me to see that I could become a good psychologist.

One important point about the European context
I interpret the European context as the European psychologists and psychology societies. The important thing about the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) and the European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology (EAWOP) is that they provide a forum in which all European psychologists can discuss, negotiate and implement mutually beneficial ways of managing parity of psychologists in Europe. In particular I would highlight the emergence of the standards for ethics and the qualifications (EuroPsy, the EuroTest and Specialist Certificate in Psychotherapy) that have emerged and that provide a common framework for European psychology and psychologists.

One great thing that psychology has achieved
A culture of scientific, evidence-based research and practice.