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Caroline Browne

Caroline Browne profile pictureClinical Supervisor, Belvedere Health Services LLC, New York

PGDip Social Work

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I liked Middlesex's location and its accessibility. I was sponsored by the Home Office and upon review of the programme available at Middlesex, I was also comfortable with the academic options on offer.

What course did you study?

I studied for a PGDip in Social Work where I focussed primarily on working with offenders as I was training to become a Probation Officer.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

At the time I was employed as a Probation Service Assistant by Inner London Probation  Service  (Probation Trust) and was eager to take the next step towards becoming a trained Probation Officer.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

I distinctly remember my placements (internships). I worked in drug rehabilitation services for Turning Point in Hackney, London, and also at Dagenham Probation Service. The placement at Dagenham was awesome! I had a great practice teacher called Yasmin Lahki. Her encouragement and feedback helped me to become the social worker that I am today. As a woman of colour she was an inspiration to me. Until that point, I had no idea of the potential I had or that I could even aspire to having a seat at the table and becoming a respected voice in this professional area.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I used to love the group supervision. My group was small and we came from very diverse backgrounds. I still have a picture of us all just before we all graduated and went our different ways.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Looking back I see that I struggled with confidence and had some self-esteem issues. I rarely asked for help. Now there's no shame in my game! I ask for clarification and advocate for myself without any problem.

My advice for students would therefore be to plug into the various types of support available at Middlesex and ask, ask, ask until you get an answer or the help you need to make it work for you!

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

It enabled me to realise my dream and become the professional I always dreamed of becoming. 

After graduation, I went to work for Hertfordshire Probation Service and worked there for nearly five years as a Probation Officer before being seconded to a youth offending team.

I then got married, started a family and ended up living in Dubai before moving to the United States in 2000. I began specialising in residential treatment here in the USA in 2002, working with adolescents and families impacted by family courts and the child welfare system. Without my academic background, experience and faith, I would have fallen by the way side.

Why did you choose the career you studied for?

I have always had an interest in injustice and social policy. I went to work as a Probation Officer because I wanted to represent black professionals in the criminal justice system and provide another point of view.

What are the pros and cons of working within your professional field?

I have had my share of setbacks. Working in a new country has meant that I have had to start over and over again. This has meant having to prove myself professionally and take entry level positions and lower pay. This said, working in a new country provides the opportunity to grow professionally and understand a new work culture, policy and systems. This has been invaluable.

Due to my qualifications, I was able to obtain a working visa for six years. I am a licensed social worker, recently promoted to the position of Clinical Supervisor. I feel valued as an employee and I have ambitions to continue my career as a licensed psychotherapist. I am particularly interested in contributing to the field of trauma systems therapy and addressing domestic violence.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I was extremely fortunate to be hired by the London Probation Trust after graduating with my BA as this placed me on a clear career track. Having a solid BA and student placements under my belt helped me to get ahead of the curve.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

Becoming a licensed social worker in New York, USA and a permanent resident.
My social work qualifications from Middlesex played an instrumental part in obtaining my licensure.

What does the future hold for you?

I have completed three years of social work supervision at a busy urban mental health clinic in Yonkers, New York and I am now preparing to take a clinical exam. After this, I hope to spend another three years under the supervision of a psychotherapist so that I can either start my own practice or work in a group practice.

I would also like to do some teaching or practice teaching in the future, perhaps if the opportunity presents itself provide UK social work student(s) with an internship in the USA.

As mentioned before, I am interested in the field of trauma. My current job as a Clinical Supervisor provides me with the opportunity to work individually and in group sessions with clients diagnosed with chemical dependency and traumatic brain injury.

I also have the opportunity to supervise and model culturally sensitive social work practice in the field of mental health

The future for me is one of contributing towards a future of hope and non-violence.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Find a good mentor, widen your scope of practice and do everything to get more experience and knowledge of your craft. Most of all, be passionate about your field!

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