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A bit of introspection -- comments on the forum

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by congo_man, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. congo_man

    congo_man Junior Member
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    During the “application season” for the fall of 2006, I started reading the SD psychology forum since I thought it would be a good place to connect with other applicants and to see what was happening “out there.” I have to admit that, apart from a few very sincere Q and A’s – and some heart-felt good moments (e.g. shared congrats for being accepted, and mutual commiseration for not), and some very good questions about different schools, GRE’s, “my chances at getting in” etc. – I stopped reading the forum as it wasn’t adding anything useful.

    To the contrary, I found some of the discussion threads downright depressing. I was struck, in particular, by the quasi-viciousness of the detractors of the PsyD programs – which seemed to be comprised of a few, ardent core members – who would invariably describe the “disadvantages” of the PsyD when compared to PhD (e.g. the costs of education, the problems with the free-standing schools, the black eye for the profession, etc.). Their tone, in general, seemed unambiguously… well… hostile and it made me curious about their underlying motives. It seemed to me that, if one accepts the premise that both the Vail and Boulder models are legitimate, then so be it. Move along to another topic.

    Secondly I was struck by what a vacillating and indecisive lot we are. It seems that many of us simply can’t make up are minds about the PhD and PsyD routes and – as indicated by the number of discussions concerning this topic – we are agonizing over these decision (while, I might add, being influenced by the antagonists mentioned above). If one were to dwell on this issue (i.e. past a legitimate inquiry phase in gathering facts, tips, and pointers), then that would trouble me since this see-sawing and second-guessing doesn’t say a lot about our character.

    It seems to me that this profession calls for us to be resolute and decisive – in particular for those of us who are certain about doing clinical work. Put another way, think about this from a patient’s perspective and ask yourself whether you would prefer someone who is confident and secure in their decisions, or a person who is constantly looking back over their shoulder and wishing they had a different set of credentials. That seems incredibly insecure to me and suggest an untenable position for any clinician.

    My advice is to make up one’s early in the game viz the PhD and PsyD routes and stick with it. Make an informed choice about the school selected. Don’t let the horror stories of the costs either way knock you off track. You are, after all, entering into a professional field and presumably one you will have your entire adult working life – so be prepared to spend accordingly.

    PS Foolish me. I gathered up the courage to peek into the forum last week and was surprised – and dismayed – to see the “same ol’ stuff” swirling around – couldn’t resist bashing out this note. Apologies if the tone of this message sounds “preachy” but not for the content.
     
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  3. spyspy

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    Though I'm securely set on pursuing a PhD rather than PsyD, I understand the draw of the PsyD for some. It's just not the degree for me at this point.

    I have discussed myriad situations with POIs, potential job bosses, and other professors who don't fit into the former categories, and indecision has actually come up in conversation as a normal thing. I have even been encouraged to be more flexible with my aspirations; even if I choose to pursue one career or topic in graduate school, it is very possible this could shift once I'm there.

    I don't think clients necessarily need a therapist secure in each and every decision of his/her life. I think what a client deserves is a therapist who is human. And humans sometimes lack 100% certainty in our choices. The occasional misgiving, the occasional doubt -- that is actually what leads to improvement in research and treatment. That shows us that we need to adjust who we are and what we are doing.
     
  4. sicologia

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    I appreciate your advice and find it extremely well-founded and worthy, but I don't understand how you were "surprised - and dismayed" to see the board hasn't changed much since you were last here. I've found this board to be extremely helpful. All you really have to do is accept that, in life, people will have different requests and inquiries than your own. It doesn't make them wrong or out-dated.
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    I think SDN tries to bring as much information from professionals/students/others to the table, and then let the viewers take what they want. I frequently don't agree with posters on here, but I think it is doing a disservice to discourage or censor an opinion just because I don't agree with it.

    I think what I'd like to see from the membership is an openess to discuss the options and then to let each individual decide what is best for them. There is definitely some fluctuation in topics and opinions as the membership continues to grow and change, and I'd like to encourage both current members and all of you lurkers (come join the fun!) to take a step back now and again to think about your contributions to both SDN and the community outside of the web.

    I believe SDN has a unique opportunity to bring together prospective/current students, new professionals, and experienced professionals in a place to learn and share. There are associations out there, though they are still limited in their reach. This forum in particular has seen a lot of growth in the past year or so, and I think it can continue to grow, but we need more people willing to contribute. I try and start threads that interest me, but I know from talking to others offline and on PM that there are a plethora of subjects yet to be discussed.

    Even if you don't know much about the topic (but want to learn more), post a topic! Whether you are a student, current professional, or retired professional.....we never stop learning. I think a way to bring cohesion to both our forum, and also psychiatry and others....is to bring more academic and professional discussion to the table. No matter where our career will or has taken us, we all started with academia as a foundation.

    If you have read this far, thank you....and I hope you choose to contribute to our little corner of the web.

    -t
     
  6. RayneeDeigh

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    SDN's kinda like a conference, but people are less scared to say what they really think because of this crazy screen between us.

    I would never want to be 100% sure about all of my opinions. That would mean I know everything there is to know, and it would be time to die. :laugh:
     
  7. Ollie123

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    Thus is the nature of the internet forum. You can't create a forum that won't have some hotly contested issue.

    Personally, I've found it very helpful here. Yes, I think some posts quickly degrade into a PsyD v PhD debate (I've probably even contributed to a few of those myself). Some of us have strong feelings on the matter, and unless someone is deliberately posting false or misleading information I don't think its a bad thing. People need to judge for themselves, and more (truthful) information is never a bad thing. If someone can't differentiate opinion from fact this is the wrong field for them anyways;)

    I'm also going to have to strongly disagree that this profession requires people to be resolute and decisive. Very few intellectually challenging professions require that. I'd much rather have a therapist that was second-guessing himself, going back to do further research, acknowledging the possibility that the initial diagnosis was wrong, etc. You have to be able to COME ACROSS as decisive when seeing clients since they need to be confident that your plan will work in order to improve, but coming across as decisive is very different from BEING decisive.
     
  8. RayneeDeigh

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    The moral of the story is: We're decisive about the fact that we need not be decisive! :hardy:
     
  9. KillerDiller

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    I'd also prefer a president like this. But I suppose that's a different thread for a different forum :p.
     
  10. RayneeDeigh

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    haha when I replied I was thinking that exact thing.
     
  11. Ollie123

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    LOL.
    I was thinking the same thing when I was typing it too. I decided it was best not to mention that though;)
     
  12. kojo

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    You make some good points.
     
  13. lusyd

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    I basically agree with the OP, however this forum was built up the level it is at now by providing some room for argument. Go the psychiatry forum if you want to see what overmoderation does to free speech. Yes the PsyD/PhD thing is old and tired as are many other topics, but it is that drama that keeps people here and brings in new members, not the hand holding, hugs and we understand your pain stuff. My 2 pence.
     
  14. psychwanabe

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    Congo_man: I am sorry that you have found SDN to be a depressing experience. My visits to this site have had just the opposite effect. It was my connections to the posters here that helped me cope with the stress and trauma of applications. I also found the debates (irrespective of my position) generally helpful and informative.

    I disagree with your comments about the indecisiveness of this group. First, bear in mind that a large majority of the people applying for grad school and posting on SDN are just coming out of undergrad and are in their early twenties. This is certainly still a time in life when we are all exploring, learning about ourselves, and indecisive. It's supposed to be! I am not in my twenties, but I, too am indecisive at times. The decision I make will change my life, and that of my family, forever. It's good to question everything and vascillate prior to a final decision. When you weigh both sides evenly (which, in my book means being indecisive for a period of time) you will likely make a better decision. I think what it says about the character of the group is that we are dedicated to making the best choice: therefore, a lot of thought goes into the decision.

    The thing about an internet forum, I have learned, is that you often read the "inner thoughts" of another. Therefore, it's not that we are abnormally indecisive, it's that you just don't normally hear the indecisive thoughts of everyone else around you! :p
     
  15. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member
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    I think underlying motives are often rather blatantly stated, at least from me. It isn't so simple as Vail and Boulder model programs being legitimate, it is the presence of for-profit businesses infilitrating training in psychology to an unprecedented degree in comparative doctoral level fields (e.g., law and medicine). Yes, I agree it's depressing, though for a different reason than you. Besides, argument makes things more interesting.
     
  16. edieb

    edieb Senior Member
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    You have to be very resolute in your opinions to post on here. Otherwise, it could be very depressing to here so many people who are saying you are wrong or that you're crazy. For instance, if I were using information from studentdoctor.net to decide whether or not I should pursue a psy.d., I am sure I would change my mind over that chosen career path However, we all know the ppl who get that degree survive and many prosper!
     
  17. Ollie123

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    Missed that. I don't think most people care about Boulder vs. Vail models. I don't even REALLY think PsyD v PhD is the issue for most, so much as professional school vs. university affiliated. However given that professional schools typically offer PsyDs, and rarely offer PhDs, that usually is where the confusion comes from.

    I have yet to see anyone here make the argument that a Baylor or Rutgers PsyD is a bad thing. Though it may come across that way, I don't think people mean to bash the degree itself so much as the type of institution that most often provides the degree.
     
  18. Duckygirl

    Duckygirl Back on the saddle
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    Woah, woah, woah. First of all, Congo Man, I didn't find your post "preachy," I found it uninformed and overly suggestive (ie, not knowing if you want a PsyD or a PhD = a future poor clinician). As an undergrad who majored in psych and graduated among the top in my class...I would say that I had virtually NO guidance from professors or other professionals about career education or graduate education. It was all self-sought. I remember sitting in on a presentation from Alliant university, and most of the students not knowing the difference between clinical psych and other areas of psych, and knowing even less about the difference between the PhD and the PsyD. Not every university is educating its undergrads on their future career options. My point here is that I think it is reasonable for people to explore different avenues, until they find a good fit. I applied to both kinds of programs, and discovered quickly that one was definitely not for me, but I wasn't really sure either. I did a lot of research on both programs, but didn't really make up my mind until I interviewed and saw the observable differences in programs. I also think that we can blame some of this tummult onto the field of psychology for its lack of support for both of its models which it created.

    And anyway- patients won't care where you got your degree from and whether or not your are a PhD or PsyD. That is a professonal debate, not a public one. A scholarly, experience clinician is a scholarly, experienced clinician. When was the last time you heard of a patient calling an intake coordinator and saying..."Hmm....I only want Dr. So-and-So if they're a PhD and not a PsyD..." Or similarly as ridiculous, a client asking their therapist during an intake, "Did you waffle about which degree to get? Are you sure you picked the right one? Your previous indecisiveness is making me nervous...perhaps you're not the right Doc for me..." <--- This doesn't exist.

    To add to my thoughts...think about other fields of doctoral training...I have a friend who is a 3rd year medical student who still hasn't decided which specialty she'll go into. Psychology is not so clear cut. I think Raynee said it best when she said, "The moral of the story is: We're decisive about the fact that we need not be decisive! :hardy:"

    If you don't like what you see out there on the forum, do as T4C suggested and start posting. You too can discuss.
     
  19. JockNerd

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    I don't think anyone should base their next 5 years of education and future career on internet forum postings. Seems kinda crazy!

    I totally agree with others' postings on the first post. It's great to make sure you're on the right path and not blindly rush forward with your first plan. Indecisiveness isn't a sin either.

    I love the SDN forums. I wish I'd found them before I did my applications last year.
     
  20. sicologia

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    AGREED! If you do some investigation into a program through first hand contact, you'll likely get a better, straighter, and more defined answer as to what it is you're deciding to pursue. If you have issues whether you should apply to a certain model of psychology (Boulder vs. Vail), you're unfortunately missing the point. The program that can help a budding psychologist mold his/her growth and not force one to become a cardboard cutout of the actual model. After all, psychologists are, first and foremost, people too. Everyone needs to go see for themselves what they may be getting into.
     

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