PhD/PsyD First generation, career changer - Advice?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psyguyry, 09.26.14.

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  1. psyguyry

    psyguyry

    Joined:
    09.26.14
    Messages:
    14
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    Hola.

    I'm a bit of an odd case, and I'm looking for a little advice. I'll try to keep this short and sweet:

    I'm first generation. I've had my BA in Communication from USC for 10+ years (just turned 33.) Recently discovered that my GPA is low (3.08) because of some personal difficulties back then. I'm about to finish up a post-baccalaureate certificate for counseling and psychology through UC Berkeley Extension with a 4.0 GPA, and I'll probably take a few extra courses just because. Looking to apply next year, for a Fall 2016 cohort.

    Will have 2+ years volunteering for a crisis/suicide line as a counselor/trainer, and 3+ years as an Associate Director of Client Experience at a well-respected non-profit in a tangentially-related healthcare sector. Will have excellent letters of recommendation from a PsyD, an MFT, and an LCSW. Plan to take GRE's soon and will not settle for scores under 85%.

    I have zero research experience.

    Would ideally like to specialize in abnormal psych (psychotic and personality disorders) with a balanced mix of private practice, consulting in a hospital/institutional setting, and possibly forensic psychology and/or psych. test administration.

    I would love a fully-funded program but realize that I'm not a viable candidate for most PhD programs due to my lack of research experience. Honestly: I'm somewhat resistant to finding a research opportunity because my primary interests aren't in-line with research being conducted in the area, plus I need to work full-time (until I get to grad school). That said, I'm certainly not opposed to research if it's an absolute necessity. (Qualitative studies or small-n designs regarding the efficacy of psychotherapeutic techniques would be interesting.) I also understand that I may not be competitive for any kind of funded PsyD programs. I'd be willing to take on debt because I'm 100% certain that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life (although of course I'd rather not.)

    Advice? Feedback? Suggestions for programs? Anything you might offer will be greatly appreciated.

    And thanks so much, everybody on these boards. This is such an incredible resource.
     
    Last edited: 09.26.14
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  3. edieb

    edieb Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Aside from neuropsychology, very, very few (any?) hospitals call in a "personality disorder expert" or a "psychotic disorder expert." Most hospitals do not even use psychologists, but rather hire a bunch of master's level counselors to do therapy. If you want to be a consultant, you would be much better off becoming a M.D. rather than a Ph.D. In addition, very, very few hosptials use psychological testing, including neuropsychological testing. You would be better off getting your LCSW. Although your aspirations are noble, I think you should educate yourself to the realities of the healthcare system. I had the same fantasies and ideals before I started graduate school
     
  4. psyguyry

    psyguyry

    Joined:
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    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    Maybe "specialize" and "consulting" were the wrong words. I guess what I meant was that my primary interests are the psychotic and personality disorders. Working with them in PP and perhaps in an acute care facility or other institutional setting, in whatever capacity, would be great.
     
    Last edited: 09.26.14
  5. Sanman

    Sanman O.G. 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,106
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Working with them in an institutional setting is a possibility, but most state run psych facilities are stretched for budgets ad th pay sucks. Forensic jobs (prison work) will expose you to plenty of both. PP is not that realistic as both of these groups have difficulty holding down jobs and you can't run a PP taking Medicaid. If you choose forensics, things are doable.
     
  6. psyguyry

    psyguyry

    Joined:
    09.26.14
    Messages:
    14
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    Thanks for the feedback. So I'm definitely leaning towards forensic for the more complex and interesting cases and I could always do PP if I ever want to do something less intense or any kind of depth work. Any other suggestions for how to get there?
     

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