Dr Jo Mitchell
In 1994, at Oldham 6th Form College..
After finishing high school in Rochdale, I was introduced to Oldham 6th Form through my Dad, John Mitchell, who worked as Assistant Director of Economic Development at Oldham Council at the time. My Dad had been involved in regeneration and economic development projects in and around Oldham, and felt that OSFC held promise as a higher education establishment.
I entered into Psychology for the first time in 1994 as an A Level Student at OSFC. I was drawn to the syllabus, and the intrigue of the subject, but at that time I was expecting to carry on with music, which had been my passion from a young age.
Initially, the psychology lessons were a bit of a surprise. Really? Did they pretend to electrocute people in the 1960s to prove a point about obedience and conformity in human behaviour (Stanley Milgram 1963)? My mind was opened to a whole new way of thinking as the syllabus progressed. Essentially, I learned that there are patterns of behaviour all around us, that people do strange things in groups, and that there are always different ways of looking at things. I was beginning to stop accepting things for how they ‘appeared’ to be and started asking deeper questions. I was becoming more socially aware and I just wanted to learn more.
OSFC had an outstanding Psychology department at the time. I remember that you could often hear a pin drop as the teachers introduced a new area of psychology to us. It was always fascinating, and I felt that wave of excitement you get when you learn something new. It was then that I decided to make a career of psychology; to enjoy something this much must mean that it’s worth having in your life!
In 2017, at Orange Psychology in Oldham..
I’ve now been an Educational Psychologist since 2004, following a 3 year BSc in Psychology at Cardiff University, a PGCE at Swansea University, 3 years teaching, and 1 year MSc in Educational Psychology at Nottingham University. I later went back to University to get a Doctorate in Applied Educational Psychology, graduating in 2011 from Nottingham.
I have worked in a range of organisations including Local Authorities, Social Enterprise, and Private Practice as an Educational Psychologist. But it was only recently, in April 2016, that I decided to set up my own practice Orange Psychology, back where it all started in Oldham. The aim was to bring together everything I had learned to date, and to create something which was based upon the principles that I believed in including; the inclusion of children most vulnerable, using creativity in psychological practice and the promotion of inter-professional collaboration wherever possible.
Orange Psychology has a unique multi-psychological model of service delivery which includes access to Educational, Counselling, Forensic and Clinical Psychologists. We work collaboratively with schools and children’s residential care homes to support those most vulnerable. I link with my team of 6 Associate Psychologists on issues like joint training, project work, and collaborative case work issues. We also offer each other informal peer support to problem solve complex issues together, and share resources and professional development ideas.
I am constantly excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities of Psychology, a feeling which began in that OSFC Psychology class and never left! I feel extremely lucky to have found my passion and vocation in life.