Sep 12, 2009
52
0
0
Status
Psychologist
Hi all-

So I am halfway through the data collection for my dissertation, I am all set to start internship in the summer, but for some reason I am feeling a bit depressed because I feel like i have no specialty in terms of clinical work and no direction.

I have no publications because i went to a school that emphasized clinical work, i have no real desire to do research in the future, but all my professors think I should be a researcher for some reason (quality of my dissertation?).

I thought I wanted a private practice but I have no specialty (trauma, abuse) etc. and it seems that I am getting a lot of negative feedback from professors for having a desire to be primarily a clinician.

Anyone else nearing the end of their program and feeling a bit depressed and lost?
 
Jun 23, 2009
133
0
41
Status
Psychologist
Yeah, but for different reasons. I actually want an academic career but much of my research has been more social psych than clinical, and I'm struggling with how to tell a coherent story when I start applying for post docs and/or jobs next year. I'm also questioning the direction I want my research to go; I've been involved with many different projects and I feel scattered rather than focused.

I hear you on the clinical side too, although feeling unfocused there isn't as much of a problem for me. I do think that if I wanted to specialize internship would be the time to do it, and then get a post doc in the area I wanted to work in. Maybe you'll be inspired by one of your rotations on internship.

Overall it just feels a little weird to be at the end of *ahem!* years of training and knowing that in 15 months, school will be over. Obviously learning will not be over (and I sincerely hope it never ends) but still. Weird.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,734
3,404
281
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
Hi all-

So I am halfway through the data collection for my dissertation, I am all set to start internship in the summer, but for some reason I am feeling a bit depressed because I feel like i have no specialty in terms of clinical work and no direction.

I have no publications because i went to a school that emphasized clinical work, i have no real desire to do research in the future, but all my professors think I should be a researcher for some reason (quality of my dissertation?).

I thought I wanted a private practice but I have no specialty (trauma, abuse) etc. and it seems that I am getting a lot of negative feedback from professors for having a desire to be primarily a clinician.

Anyone else nearing the end of their program and feeling a bit depressed and lost?
I went into big depresseive slump late last year about said chosen career, but for different reasons-mainly financial, but also a general cynicism towards the academic research world and the ENORMOUS variations in training and approaches in this field. While thats one of the great things about psychology, it is also one of the worst. I have had some difficulty coming to accept what every practiceing psychologist seems to accept with ease (and preach to their trainees)- that is, that everyone does things their own way.
 

KillerDiller

10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2007
1,560
52
271
Status
Post Doc
I thought I wanted a private practice but I have no specialty (trauma, abuse) etc. and it seems that I am getting a lot of negative feedback from professors for having a desire to be primarily a clinician.
I don't know if it helps at all, considering I'm simply a fellow student, but I don't think anyone can be expected to have a clinical specialty this early in their career. If they do, then it was at the expense of general, comprehensive training. That would actually scare me.

As for your professors, keep in mind that they must have had their own reasons for deciding to pursue academia over practice, but this doesn't mean their reasoning applies to you.
 

KillerDiller

10+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2007
1,560
52
271
Status
Post Doc
Yeah, but for different reasons. I actually want an academic career but much of my research has been more social psych than clinical, and I'm struggling with how to tell a coherent story when I start applying for post docs and/or jobs next year. I'm also questioning the direction I want my research to go; I've been involved with many different projects and I feel scattered rather than focused.
I'm in this exact same boat. I was actually talking with some other grad students about this at the last conference I attended and all of them said the same thing. It made me realize how normative it is to feel scattered and unfocused.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,456
2,419
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
Anyone else nearing the end of their program and feeling a bit depressed and lost?
I think it is normal for people to still be trying to find their path....as it can often twist and turn during graduate school. There will always be some people who come in to work on a specific area, and then they are set and make a career of it. However, there are many other people who come in for one area, and then as they develop as a professional their interests shift.

Some people get spooked because of the, "you have to have a niche" talk that many psychologists pass down to trainees. I happen to agree with the sentiment, but you still need to start from a solid foundation as a generalist. Most internship sites are generalist training sites, so you still have some time to figure it out. Hopefully when you start to look at post-docs you'll have a better idea of what you enjoy and where you fit.

...I'm struggling with how to tell a coherent story when I start applying for post docs and/or jobs next year. I'm also questioning the direction I want my research to go; I've been involved with many different projects and I feel scattered rather than focused.
That was one of my biggest hurdles during interviewing for fellowships, though I was able to tie in my clinical experience as one of the reasons I shifted my focus. I'm not sure I did a great job of that at all of my interviews, but I did well enough to get offers. I'm still working on "my next chapter", but I at least have a plan for the next 2 years.

You can explain your varied research experience as a way to "try things out", but you won't be able to get around the, "where do you see yourself in 5 years? What will your research look like?" and the like if you want to be primarily an academic researcher. Departments want someone with a plan, so they don't worry about your direction, productivity, ability to secure funding, etc.