Who is Dawn-Marie Armstrong?
I am a self-determined, passionate young woman born and raised in the lovely Caribbean Island of Barbados. Coming from the humble community of Bush Hall, I always knew the importance of an education and having written my secondary education at the Combermere School, a stone’s throw away, I am adamant that my love for sport was fostered there.
What does a typical day for you look like?
There are no typical days as none are ever the same. At this point, routinely, I study during the night and rest during the day. This is only changed when I am due in at work on mornings or at school, which is now once a month.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a Sports Psychologist.
For my practice, Sport Psychology entails the delivery of individual and team support, which includes Mental Skills Training (MST) to enhance performance and well-being. With the ongoing debate on Mental Health, I believe it is my duty to optimise the mental wellness of my clients to ensure that they are equipped to thrive in their daily lives.
Initially, I was seeking to pursue a career in Forensic Psychology after completing a Criminology course in my final semester at UWI. However, on my final day, I was advised by a sector professional that there were postgraduate Psychology programmes available in Sport and they felt that it was a good fit for me with my sporting background. Funny enough, at that time of completing my studies at UWI, my first trip to the UK was as an overseas pro cricketer. It was then that I began my search and applied to Northumbria University for the Master’s in Sport and Exercise Psychology a year later. Since then, I often wondered what my life would’ve been like had I continued as a cricketer, but I’m satisfied that I have made the right career choice.
Tell us about your temporary transition from Barbados to Scotland.
It’s not my first time living in the UK and though I expected the transition to be similar, it has been vastly different. At the time of my Master’s, everything with the exception of placement visits was classroom-based and it was the typical pursuance of a degree. Now, in completing Doctoral studies, the majority of my work has been practical. I have been working and progressing efficaciously but that hasn’t gone without its challenges; professional and otherwise.
We know you’re currently pursuing your PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology. How has that journey been so far?
A Professional Doctorate (Prof. Doc.) is very different to a PhD. Unlike the latter, where one topic is investigated over a period of time; a Prof. Doc. requires several submissions across competencies to determine fitness for practice (e.g. Continuing Professional Development (CPD); Consultancy). It prepares one for applied work, whilst a PhD., allows you to smoothly transition into academia. Though the Prof. Doc. does entail some research, it is weighted equally with other aspects of practitioner development.
I waited five (5) years for this opportunity so I’m happy to be here and to have evolved in many respects but I’m ready for this chapter to be closed. I’m prepared to reconfigure my co-ordinates and embark on a new adventure to broaden my horizon and build on future prospects.
What are your plans when you return to Barbados?
I plan to explore further opportunities in academia with the hopes of contributing to sport policy development in the near future. I have thought about pursuing a political career and will consider it more seriously in due course. I’ve always been a leader and a pioneer in some respect and I believe that I can add great value in service to the country and its people.
Any advice for our readers who may be interested in pursuing a career in Sports Psychology?
Take your time! It takes years to develop the professional skills to practice effectively and, in the profession, you’re always learning. I’ve learned a lot more about people, the world and my place in it, since my return. You must be committed to learning and growing as an individual.
What do you miss most about home?
The food! I would say my family, but they’ve all visited me with the exception of my older brother. It seems as if he can never get time off work but I’m working on that.
Where can our readers find you online?
I am usually on social media and I post most of my professional content on Instagram and Twitter (@sportpsychdoc & @sportpsychdocuk). I can also be found on LinkedIn building my professional network and exploring new opportunities.