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Going into psych to "figure yourself out"

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by RayneeDeigh, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. RayneeDeigh

    RayneeDeigh 5+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    I don't know how many of you are familiar with the website but I love it. Today, I came across this picture on the site:


    This got me thinking... do you guys feel as though studying Psychology makes you more able to "help" yourself, or do you feel as lost as anyone else? It also reminded me of that annoying idea that Psychologists go into the field because they have so many issues themselves. Do you think Psychology attracts people with more issues than the average bear, or is this idea based entirely on fiction?

    Furthermore, let's all submit secrets to the website! :laugh: I'll write mine on sock babies and mail 'em in.
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  3. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Therapy-ing yourself I imagine would be difficult even for an EXTREMELY good and very objective therapist. That being said, I think a part of understanding how the mind works may make you more aware of WHY you may be feeling a certain way, even if it doesn't help you to change it.

    My theory is that the prevalence of mental disorders is no higher in psychology than any other field. We just know more about them and are more open about them than most. Psychiatric illness is INSANELY high in the general population. Depression alone covers what, 1 in 5 people? And its increasing? Add in lifetime prevalence for social anxiety, specific phobias, eating disorders, substance abuse, and you're probably looking at a majority of the population rather than a minority. Given that, any profession will have loads of crazy people. Our crazy people just know they're crazy and aren't as ashamed to admit it;)

    That being said, one of the reasons I'm interested in mood and emotion is because of my history. Its not THE reason I went into psychology. But it did get me interested in the roles that emotion plays in our lives. I find it hard to believe anyone would pick their profession solely to "figure themselves out". There's MUCH easier ways to figure yourself out than spending the years and years getting a degree in clinical psych;)
  4. KillerDiller

    KillerDiller 7+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2007
    If anything, I'd say that being a psych student has given me more problems than its has helped me solve or understand. Now I even second guess the motivations and underpinnings of my own second guessing. :confused:
  5. blindblonde

    blindblonde U.S. citizen, Dutch Ph.D 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    I don't know about helping yourself necessarily... It is more like I am more aware of what my actions mean. For example, when I thought I was not going to get in anywhere, I met with my advisor last month. He said that he was looking over my CV and statement and really couldn't see any real flaws in my application and that I just had bad luck. However, I started saying "Well, my GRE could have been better, or I could have had more clinical experience, etc." As this was all coming out of my mouth, I was thinking, "Great way to show off your internal locus of control there." I knew he was right to mention the luck elements, but I just didn't want to accept it.

    So I guess it depends. I think insight is one thing, but trying to cope and deal with daily life is another. I don't think the idea of "physician heal thyself" works well here, and I know many therapists seek counseling themselves if things get too rough or things get too personal. I don't think you should expect to help yourself more just because you have a psych degree.
  6. WaitingKills

    WaitingKills Rockstar 5+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2007
    I think that there are definitely people in first and second year psych there to 'figure themselves out', but I think that these people get weeded out pretty quick, or decide that they are going to pursue psych for different reasons.

    For me, I went into psych because of my experiences when I was young... Not to figure myself out, but to help others get the help I didn't.

    I am wiht everyone else in the thought that psych can definitely give you more insight into why you act, react and think in certain ways, but virtually impossible to treat yourself. Though, throughout my masters I did learn handy techniques to help manage my OCD ;).

    On a side note, I've been addicted to Post Secret for about 2 years now. I check it religiously (hehehe, OCD :p ) on Sunday mornings. It's really neat to see what some people hide.
  7. sicologia

    sicologia 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    There are some areas of psychology that suggest applications that one may use, but certainly not to treat oneself. You would need objectivity to do this which would make this impossible. Of course, a person could take things from the readings to help improve their situation, but one can do this in any profession.
  8. GiantSteps

    GiantSteps 5+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    I am not sure if psychology students initially come into the field because they have had or have a mental problem (even a minor one). However, all the constant studying and exposure to mental illness can not help but create some type of induced/ conditioned somatoform (hypochondria) disorder. So psychologists should probably be aware of this. Although all of this seems to be more of an industry joke than a major problem.

    I think psychologists of all types should pick up helpful techniques which they can use in their own life to deal with anything from dealing with stress, to understandning social situations, to inceasing performance, to training their children and pets.

    Raynee Deigh, your secrets always scare me so I will keep away from that other website.
  9. perfektspace

    perfektspace Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Yes...particularly at the undergrad level. In the case of clinical grad students I think most are weeded out in the application process.
  10. NeuroPsyStudent

    NeuroPsyStudent 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    I'm interested to know if anyone has read studies on effectiveness of therapist based on whether they have experienced AND worked through difficulties? There is an interesting adult attachment style called "Earned Secure", for example. In some areas the best teachers are those who have had to struggle and work to gain their skills. They are better able to impart the process compared to a genius who gains skills implicitly. Could this apply with therapists?
  11. psycgurl27


    Mar 13, 2007
    In response to the initial question, I do believe that to a certain degree psychology attracts people with more issues than the "average bear." This is not just psychology but the law and medicine professions as well. I've been reading a lot about borderline personality disorder; in one book I Hate you, Don't leave me the author mentioned that prestigious, high stress/ high responsibility jobs (aka psychologist/ psychiatrist) appeals to the borderline population because they strive to gain control over others, something they lacked in childhood (as many patients were victims to abuse and neglect.) I think there is some shred of truth to this.

    From a personal viewpoint, dealing with mental illness in the family and a less than perfect family atmosphere pushed me to into the field. Having to be the communication bridge between my non english speaking parents and various mental health professionals was extremely stressful on me (I admit I was resentful that I couldn't be the normal middle/ high schooler.) But in the end, it just gave me a head start in college. I got some invaluable advice and some awesome connections. So yeah. Issues are not neccesarily a bad thing in psychology.
  12. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    I think it can be dangerous if they go in for those reasons (serving yourself instead of the patient, etc). That being said, there tends to be a natural curiousity amongst people in our field, and I think that can be a great thing.

    It is the first stop on my Bloglines subscription. Sunday = PostSecret Updates!

  13. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    One thing to add I realized I had forgotten to mention earlier (so thanks for the bump!)

    As I had said earlier, Psych disorders are sooooooooooooooooo prevelant these days.

    Really, who here can say they have not had a close friend/relative/self with unipolar depression? Hell, we all did undergrad at some point....what percent of your typical undergrad class do you think met criterion for alcohol abuse/dependency?

    I think its important to distinguish between going into psych to "figure yourself out" and going into psych "because your own experiences or those of friends/family piqued your curiosity about it". The former implies a lack of long-term commitment to the field. If you start to feel better, will you still want to be a psychologist? The latter on the other hand (and I openly confess my bias on the matter as this is the case for me) implies that your personal experiences led you to make a career choice because you think you would enjoy it, and because you can help people. That actually sounds pretty optimal to me:)

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