Psychology and Counselling | Hakan Sahin

Why did you choose to study at Roehampton?

First of all, the University is 20 minutes in walking distance from my home and had the course I wanted to study, Psychology and Counselling. The close location of the uni allowed me to see my daughter regularly, study and work at the same time as I had to pay for my Undergraduate Degree myself.   

Why did you want to study psychology?

I wanted to study Psychology and Counselling for two personal reasons. First, I have had a long struggle with anxiety and depression and wanted to know more about human psychology and to be able to conduct research to help people like myself who may choose to suffer in silence rather than ask for help. Secondly, I have a disabled daughter, Royem. By studying Psychology and Counselling I wanted to be able to understand my daughter better ad thereby help her, and children like her, with their psychological struggles through my possible future research projects. 

What are your favourite elements of your psychology degree?

My favourite element of the Psychology and Counselling degree are gaining knowledge about human psychology and different mental health disorders, and more importantly learning how to contact research. 

What’s your highlight from your time at Roehampton?

Meeting some of my tutors who are an autority in their fields: Mick Copper, Paul Allen, Jennifer Mayer, Tony Evans, Christiane Sanderson, Marco Sandrini and many others. 

How did you secure your place on the Psychology Undergraduate Research Assistant Scheme?

I received an email for the opening of the application for the scheme and applied for it. I was contacted in a couple days later to say that I am selected for the interview process. I prepared a long speech which I didn’t even use during the interview. I secured a place in the scheme, I believe, due to my second year grades being in first and articulating my passion for research well during the interview.

What projects were you involved with on the scheme? Is this how you became involved in the research?

On the scheme, for a month, I was involved with helping Marco to write a review paper titled ”Effects of transcranial electrical stimulation on episodic memory in physiological and pathological ageing” and recruiting participants for a PhD project he was supervising. My involvement with tDCS stimulation started with choosing the same subject as my third year project in my second year. I emailed Marco to say that I wanted join his ERP project and wanted more information and then we had our first face-to-face meeting during which there was discussion that we might work together over the summer if I am interested. 

Can you give us a quick summary of what the research is about, and it’s potential impact?

The research is a critical review of studies (that used at least one episodic memory test)
investigating whether transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) may improve episodic memories in healthy older adults and in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer Disease (AD). The potential impact of the research is that it suggests possible new directions for future research in the tES: ”better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the effects of stimulation, combine tES with neuroimaging and optimising the dosing of stimulation, and moreover, investigating the optimal timing of stimulation and the combination with medications to induce long-lasting beneficial effects in pathological ageing”. 

What was it like working on this research project?

It was an amazing experience for a second year student. It felt like taking part in something real rather than something theoretical we were studying through our modules. With Marco, I was in meetings with other PhD students and my opinions were valued. I was constantly exchanging emails and getting the feeling of how real research has been conducted. 

What do you want to do after you graduate? 

I wanted to do research which combine Neuroscience and Psychology and Counselling. I have a research project idea on developing a new therapeutic method combining tDCS stimulation and talking therapy to reduce treatment time for PTSD from years to months. I am hoping that  I will be given an opportunity to contact this research in PhD or PsyD doctoral programme at the University of Roehampton.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about studying Psychology at Roehampton?

This is one of the best universities to study Psychology and Counselling. Our university may not have all the facilities other universities have but our tutors are one of the most caring and supportive tutors any one can have. As long as you do your best, work hard, there always will be recognition of your endeavours. Follow your passion, it is never too late to pursue things you love and care about. This advice comes from a person who will have his second degree at the age of 45.

The University of Roehampton changes lives by helping our students to develop the confidence, knowledge and values they need for a successful and fulfilling life. We produce world-class research that helps us understand the world and change it for the better.

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