We interview Lorraine Bulliemint, psychologist at the University of Geneva, who has been carrying out work experience practices at the Canis Majoris Foundation for 3 months and has had the opportunity to explore two of the Foundation’s most important Departments.
How have your work experience practices been organized?Tell us briefly about which departments you have been working in, and what you have learned in each of them also What would you highlight about the work done in each of these?
I started my internship in the Department of Social Intervention, accompanying the therapists to the centers where they perform Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) to learn about the day to day of their work and also to learn about the benefits and techniques of AAT, a therapy I did not previously know about.I had the opportunity to observe how they worked with different users, I believe that the work they do is exceptional not only at a professional level but also because of their human quality.
In the second month, I was at the Center for Labor Rehabilitation of Getafe (hereinafter CRL Getafe), where I learned a lot about the role of the psychologist in this type of center. I had the opportunity to attend several activities aimed at users (work activities, psychological interviews, psycho-educational groups, etc). During the timeI spent there, I was able to better understand serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. I have also seen, first hand, that the work of a psychologist is a job in which we do not stop learning and this is one of the things that fascinates me about my profession.
In the last month, I had the opportunity to finish the internship at the Neuroscience Laboratory Elena Pessino Gómez del Campo Neuroscience Laboratory of the Canis Majoris Foundation, where they allowed me to participate in the projects and lines of research that they are carrying out.
Why did you undertake your internship at the Canis Majoris Foundation?
I’ve always been interested in mental illness, that’s why I wanted to be a psychologist. Before starting a stable job as a psychologist, I wanted to see other aspects and other professions that work in the mental health field and thus gain broader knowledge in this area. The practices offered by the Foundation were exactly what I was looking for. It allowed me to see the different fields of action: therapeutic, social and finally the biomedical field.
What would you highlight about your experience?
What I would like to highlight is the passion of every professional I worked with.
In the AAT, I worked with people who are very committed to their work and very attentive with the users. If I had to highlight something about them, it would have to be their warmth and professionalism. I also observed a great respect towards the theary animal, they are very aware of their welfare and care, which for me is a very important aspect when working with animals.
In the CRL of Getafe, I could see professionals who are very attentive to the needs of the users. The psychologist I was with, always had her door open in case someone needed to talk. Both, the team of therapists at the Foundation and the team at the center, work hard to achieve the objectives that each user has, according to their diagnosis.
Have you met the expectations you had before you started?
To tell the truth, I did not have many expectations because everything was new to me, I did not think I would see so many different things, yet so related to each other. At the AAT sessions, I had the opportunity to work with a team that are passionate about their work who taught me to how create sessions and direct them myself. In addition, I was also able to take care of the therapy animals. No, I did not imagine that at some point in my life I would have the opportunity to feed a Harris hawk … and it was extraordinary!
Then, at the Getafe CRL, I did not think I would have the opportunity to do evaluations by myself and that I would trust myself so much. They gave me the time I needed to explain their work and how the center worked. I never thought I would learn so much in a month.
Finally, the experience at the Elena Pessino Gómez del Campo Neuroscience Laboratory of which I must admit was the part I feared most because I have never been very good in science, but the person who showed me the projects that are carried out was very patient . I never thought I would understand DNA extraction and the different epigenetic modifications so well.