Educational Psychologist Maxine Caine launches Max Purpose Psychology to give clients the help they need
Max Purpose Psychology works with business owners, educational professionals and psychologists to deliver guidance, supervision and support, all with the aim of making people’s work, lives and careers more rewarding.
We sat down with founder Maxine Caine to talk more about what Max Purpose has achieved, where it’s going, and how TEDCO and the *Durham Ambitious Startups (DABS) programme helped Maxine get started.
Hi Maxine. You’ve got a lot of experience in educational psychology. Can you tell a bit about how you got started in that field?
I initially trained as a teacher and worked as one for 4 years, after which I retrained with a Conversion Diploma to Psychology. I gained experience as an Assistant Educational Psychologist before getting my MSc in Educational Psychology from Newcastle University in 2001 in educational psychology. And I’ve been working in that field ever since.
I spent 10 years as a main grade Educational Psychologist, working with young people from 0 to 25 years old. This involved identifying what young people are good at and what barriers to learning are present, from medical conditions to a range of other difficulties including cognitive and learning, social, emotional, mental health, sensory and physical, as well as communication issues and problems with interaction. I worked directly with young people as well as their parents and with schools.
My other roles have included working in a virtual school for children in care, working on adoption panel in Gateshead, and working with the Centre For Excellence and Outcomes. This allowed me to work all over the country, training, problem solving, running events and more.
What led you from this to starting your own business?
Around 10 years ago, I started working as a Senior Educational Psychologist in Gateshead. Part of the role nvolved supervising Educational Psychologists and Assistant Psychologists – all Educational Psychologists need supervision in order to be registered with the Healthcare Professionals Council.
For me, supervision and coaching are essential. I believe we’re all constantly learning and evolving, and that’s what I’m trying to do with Max Purpose. The future for my business that I’m really focusing on is about supervision and coaching. It’s about creating a safe space in which you can discuss ethical issues, accountability and problem solving. We’re often very British and not very good at celebrating success, so it’s also a place to give you a bit of a boost and focus on the positives.
You’re obviously used to being busy! Are you running the business alongside other roles?
I am still working with the Local Authority, so I’m currently balancing that and running the business. At the start of this year I dropped down to four days a week in my current job so I could focus entirely on the business every Monday. I plan to grow the business alongside my work with the Local Authority.
I think of my business as a lot of trolleys on the go at once. I give one a push, let it gain momentum, then focus on the next one, but I have big plans for where I want to go. I want to expand the supervision element with Educational Psychologists and develop more cliental with education leaders. I’m currently in discussions with a recruitment agency on group supervision work, and I’m looking into connecting with international schools to support their Educational Psychologists and Head Teachers. I’m also keen to explore the training side of things with Teaching Assistants, and explore how to support the improvement of critical incident response, which I’ve had experience with in the past.
So what was it that made you want to start your own business and launch Max Purpose?
Educational Psychologists have broad skillsets. We can work at a systemic level, do training, offer one-to-one support, work with families and more. But often, our skills aren’t fully utilised. I wanted to create a way to use my skills that helps as many people as possible. More and more Educational Psychologists are moving into private practice for this very reason.
For me, it’s about doing what I love in a way that really supports people. I often talk about the Japanese concept of ‘ikigai’, which is the idea of finding the place where your happiness, skills and values intersect. If you imagine a Venn diagram that includes what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what you think the world needs, and what you get paid for, the place where these things overlap is ikigai, and that’s where you find your purpose in life.
As someone who lives with cystic fibrosis, I’m very aware that nobody knows how long they’ve got in this world. I want to spend my moments on Earth supporting others to find their purpose and flourish. Max Purpose Psychology is the ‘ikigai’ intersection for me – it allows me to do the work I enjoy and that I’m good at in a way that helps other people.
You signed up for the DABS* programme last year. How familiar were are with the process of starting a business, and how did you find the support?
I signed up with DABS* in April 2022, and in all honesty, I didn’t know anything about starting a business. I had been considering going it alone during the pandemic, as several colleagues had done it. I sat down and googled ‘small business advisors near me’ and DABS* came up. It was as simple as that.
I spoke to TEDCO Business Advisor, Judith Wheatley, and she talked me through the process. It’s been the most positive experience ever. I’ve learned so much. My approach to it all was “shy bairns get nowt”, so I’ve been on webinars, face-to-face days, one-to-ones with the DABS* team and more.
I can’t sing DABS’* praises highly enough. It’s changed my life and given me the knowledge I need to run my own business with confidence. At the start, I knew very little about going it alone as a business, but now I feel like I’ve learned a whole new language. It can be quite isolating running a business, but DABS* showed me the importance of building up a strong network, both online and in real life.
That’s great to hear. With the business now up and running, where do you see yourself in 2,3 or even 5 years’ time?
My hope is that I will have a really good client base and a positive reputation. I want people to think, “Oh, I need some motivation, supervision or some coaching, I’ll look at Max Purpose.” I want to be a name that people associate with really high quality supervision and coaching, with a waiting list and the opportunity to grow with associates to outsource to.
Over the years I have connected with Educational from all over the country. Many of us share a dream to change the landscape for Local Authority Educational Psychologists, so that they feel like their skills are being better utilised and they can flourish in their careers with a sense of purpose.
At the end of the day, I want to help as many people as possible find their purpose. That’s what’s really important.
We couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Maxine. Contact Max Purpose Psychology today by clicking here.
*The business was supported by the Durham Ambitious Startups (DABS) programme, an ERDF-funded programme that aimed to help high-quality North East start-ups begin trading, providing premium quality support during the pre-start phase and critical first 12 months of trading. DABS was delivered by Business Durham, with support from delivery partners TEDCO, UMi and Candle Digital. Applications for this programme are now closed but other support may be available. Please get in touch to find out more.