How to prepare yourself psychologically for work placements

Work Placements


Update, 10/4/19 – I’ve just updated the ‘Preparing Psychologically for Work Placements‘ document to version 5. I’ve added a fair bit of content and as such have updated the post below.  

Work placements are a critical component of many degrees. They are chances for students to see what working in their chosen area involves.

I remember my clinical placements in psychology as both highly nerve-wracking, but also incredibly valuable. One of the places I did my work placement ultimately became my employer after my training.

A while back I prepared some materials for 3rd year students who were about to go out on work placements. I’ve updated those materials (now up to version 5). You will find them attached to this blog post.

The document highlights 6 things you could focus on to ensure you get the most out of your work placements

They are as follows:

  1. Clarify what you want to get out of the placement and put things in place to make that happen
  2. Clarify what kind of impression you want to leave at the workplace
  3. Get your own health and wellbeing in check
  4. Engage in appropriate levels of self-care
  5. Take the time to self-reflect on what skills you are developing on placement
  6. Ask yourself if this is a job you can imagine yourself doing

I’ve gone into a fair amount of detail within each of these areas, so that you have at your fingertips a lot of what you need in order to prepare yourself for placement. As such I don’t apologise for the length of the document, but I do suggest you put aside a bit of time to digest it all.

Please note: I DO NOT EXPECT YOU TO DO ALL OF THE THINGS SUGGESTED IN THE DOCUMENT. Trying to do everything outlined in the document would be counter-productive.

However, what I do hope you get from this document are some ideas about the different (and relatively simple) ways that you can prepare for your placement. Use the ideas that are helpful to you, ignore those that are not.

If you have any questions about what is written in this document, feel free to email me (

Also feel free to share this document with fellow students who you think might benefit from it.

Finally, if you have some suggestions on how to make the document better, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can take criticism 🙂

Click the image to access the pdf.


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