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I am currently a junior at university completing my BS in psych. I work at a psych lab and childcare center at my school. It's about that time to be making grad decisions. My gpa is currently 3.6 (due to ONE bad neuro class), and by next year it should be like 3.7ish

To start off,
I know all my options; psyd, phd, clinical phd, msw, ma, mEd, Pmhnp......I just don't know whats right for me.

I don't hate research, but I don't love it. I can tolerate it (especially if I found something interesting)... but it's not my cup of tea really. I'd rather consume it than create it. Also I'm not great with stats, math isn't my forte. But I can push through it. Like I said I'm in a lab right now

I am quite interested in the clinical side of things. I can see myself working in a group or private practice, at a hospital (inpatient or outpatient) , at a university (likely as a university therapist) , or a different type of school (hs for students with psychiatric conditions maybe). Basically I'm interested in anything with kids, adults, young adults with psychiatric, emotional, or neurodevelopmental conditions.

So.....I've thought about Clinical PhD.... but it seems like not the best option due to heavy research.....but oh boy that sweet sweet funding keeps me interested.

I've thought about Psyd.... and I would enjoy that if I can somehow figure out the cost as well as getting in (also applies to the PhD too). Still difficult to get into and then also loans and stuff. Plus the salary may not be worth the cost. Otherwise I'd be more inclined to do this one. Parents say "don't worry about costs" but they don't really know what they're saying.

I've thought about MSW..... and then there's the extremely low salary. I'm okay with not making big money I just want to be comfortable and secure for my future... not super needing to worry about bills and the mortgage......which is hard with MSW salary. Easier to get into.

I've also thought about a PMHNP (ONLY Direct Entry.... not like starting all over) . Now...... I don't really care about actual nursing.....but I would REALLY like prescriptive privileges because not only is it a good resource for treatment but also a larger salary. I would love to do both therapy and medication management somehow. Not super hard to get into. Maybe I could push through the purely nursing parts? Still expensive but easier to pay off.


I've thought about doing MSW + PMHNP, so I can get a more concrete therapy background, but that seems like a whooooole lotta work........but could be worth it????? I don't necessarily mind the time it would take but it is slightly daunting.

Help ? Advice? It feels like there's no perfect program for me.
 
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What’s the argument against psychiatry?


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The argument against psychiatry is that medical school entails much of the extremely hard science and anatomy that I both suck at and find disinteresting. I care about people's thoughts, behaviors, somewhat people's brains, and treatment........less so about their kidneys and lungs. Again though for a shorter period (likephmnp school) I could tolerate it
 
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R. Matey

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Ah...okay.

Some Psy.D. programs offer partial funding to defray the cost of attendance. I think Rutgers, Baylor, Indiana and a few others do this. Something worth consider if money is the only barrier to a Psy.D. Some psychologists can get prescription privileges in certain states, but this is controversial. You might want to check out a few of the other threads on these issues.
 
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Justanothergrad

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Wanting prescription privileges but not caring about someones kidneys may be problematic.

I don't see a clear career goal in your posts, which means that it will likely be hard for you to make a decision about what you want to do. You basically said anyone from childhood to adulthood in most settings with psychological problems. I would spend less time thinking about what type of degree you should get and more thinking about 'what would I like my days to be'. Then find someone who does what you want to do - and talk to them about what they did/how they got there. If you need to schedule and pay for an hour of time with them, do it. If it is the thing you want to do, consider it well spent consulting money.
 

ClinicalABA

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“Enjoy consuming and can tolerate conducting research” describes me and a lot of my clinical Ph.D. brethren. I’d go as far as to say that it’s the modal attitude. Why not prepare and aim for the degree that offers the highest career flexibility as well as the potential for full funding/stipend- a clinical Ph.D.? You probably don’t want a clinical scientist model program, but a solid scientist-practitioner model would suit your needs. Yeah, there’s a lot of stats and research. For many, these are hassles that must be tolerated and overcome. You just bear down and do it (and learn some valuable stuff that will continuously compliment and inform your clinical practice). You’ll also get top-notch clinical training and experience- at a minimum comparable to other psych doctoral programs (psyDs), and most likely more (in terms of clinical contact hours). You won’t graduate with 6 figure, lifestyle crippling levels of debt. Again- why would you not at least prepare for this route now? If your goals change down the road, other options would still be available to you.

In regards to prescribing AND doing therapy, my experience (cmhc’s; private group practices; hospitals) is that prescribers prescribe and therapists do therapy and rarely the twain shall meet.
 

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In regards to prescribing AND doing therapy, my experience (cmhc’s; private group practices; hospitals) is that prescribers prescribe and therapists do therapy and rarely the twain shall meet.
This is my experience as well having operated in similar settings.


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sabine_psyd

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I think you need to look up the average salaries for the different jobs and compare that with the potential debt

National median salary for an NP is $113,930 per BLS. You also need to think about whether the state in which you plan to live is an independent practice state or not.

The salary for NPs is highly region dependent. You can obtain state specific data also through the BLS. The state in which I live is not independent practice and NPs here make less than the national average; i do not know if the salary reflects that but likely so because a physician has to sign off on a certain percentage of their notes and all scripts. I know what they pay the NPs at the hospital in which I work, as the physicians and I are currently conducting interviews for NPs. Their salary is $2,000/year less than what I currently make and I have only been practicing psychology a few years.

Even more importantly, you need to get an idea of what you want your profession to look like before you jump into applying for any degrees. If you have specific questions about what my day looks like as a psychologist in a pediatric primary care clinic, feel free to send me a message.
 
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MamaPhD

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So, it sounds like you want to be a clinician. First step: pick therapy or prescribing. With all of the paths you are considering, as a clinician you will be doing one or the other the majority of the time. Though you've indicated an interest in providing psychotherapy, I'm going to focus mainly on your interest in possibly having prescription privileges. Forgive me if this is a fleeting or not serious consideration, but it's where I see the greatest potential for harm in your plan.

By the way, the one option you're ruling out - medical school + psychiatry residency - is the only one that will truly afford you the flexibility of doing both with a high level of competence (and to do the therapy part well you will still need additional training concurrently with or after residency).

I've also thought about a PMHNP (ONLY Direct Entry.... not like starting all over) . Now...... I don't really care about actual nursing.....
Let me stop you there in that case, and advise again this option. I would suggest that you look a bit harder into nursing and the culture of nursing before diving into a direct entry NP program. While the direct entry option is becoming ever more popular, you will be in a very different position than your colleagues who started NP training after establishing their careers in nursing and getting years of front-line experience. What you are getting as a direct entry psych NP is vastly inferior to the training of physicians. You will be able to follow algorithms but you won't really understand what you're doing the way a physician will. Prescribing psychologists will disagree with me, but I think the situation is only slightly better with psychopharmacology training for psychologists.

I've thought about doing MSW + PMHNP, so I can get a more concrete therapy background, but that seems like a whooooole lotta work........but could be worth it?????
It sounds like trying to cobble together something resembling psychiatry training all for the sake of avoiding the hard sciences? Doesn't seem worth it to me at all.

The argument against psychiatry is that medical school entails much of the extremely hard science and anatomy that I both suck at and find disinteresting.
I'm sorry, but that is not an attitude that pairs well with the responsibility of having a prescription pad. That may sound harsh, but I and others take prescribing very seriously. I have seen the many ways medicine can go wrong even in well-trained hands, but especially in lesser-trained hands. Leave the prescribing to people who are not turned off by physiology and biochemistry. Nothing at all to be ashamed of, but this isn't the work you should be doing.

Given your grades and experience, psychology could be a good fit, but you need to narrow down your interests somewhat. You don't have to nail it down precisely but like @Justanothergrad said, your interests are so wide ranging that it's hard to give you advice about what kind of training you need. I will say that doctoral training is HARD, and it's supposed to be because we grow through being challenged. Your discomfort with doing some of the hard things is something that you will have to reckon with.
 

foreverbull

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I am quite interested in the clinical side of things. I can see myself working in a group or private practice, at a hospital (inpatient or outpatient) , at a university (likely as a university therapist) , or a different type of school (hs for students with psychiatric conditions maybe). Basically I'm interested in anything with kids, adults, young adults with psychiatric, emotional, or neurodevelopmental conditions.
This to me sounds like a doctoral degree if you want the flexibility to work in any of these settings, and a Ph.D. more specifically.

I've also thought about a PMHNP (ONLY Direct Entry.... not like starting all over) . Now...... I don't really care about actual nursing.....but I would REALLY like prescriptive privileges because not only is it a good resource for treatment but also a larger salary. I would love to do both therapy and medication management somehow. Not super hard to get into. Maybe I could push through the purely nursing parts? Still expensive but easier to pay off.
I've thought about doing MSW + PMHNP, so I can get a more concrete therapy background, but that seems like a whooooole lotta work........but could be worth it????? I don't necessarily mind the time it would take but it is slightly daunting.

Help ? Advice? It feels like there's no perfect program for me.
If you don't like the nursing aspect, why even consider NP? The salary shouldn't be the main reason you pick it, and NP's can't do therapy, which was your main interest. This just doesn't make sense to me to go into something you're not that interested in as a foundation. An MSW + NP would also be a lot of work because you'd have to get fully licensed as an LCSW before entering the NP program, which would take 3-4 years minimum before the NP program if you include coursework and getting licensure hours (so, 6-7+ years total, or similar to a doctoral program+postdoc to get licensed). In addition, you would quickly discover after having both degrees that therapy as an LCSW doesn't pay nearly as well as NP, so therapy would probably fall by the wayside once you were licensed in both and saw how little you'd make per hour with therapy compared to med management.

What I'm hearing is that you want a lot of flexibility in career options and a good salary, but don't want to go to school for many years or do stats/research or do a "whoooooole lotta work." Unfortunately, you probably won't meet all of those requirements in any of these paths. If you are okay with strictly doing therapy, yes, MSW may not pay the best, but the debt load will be lighter and depending on the site, and pay could be decent enough (you could go private practice with that route, although that is also a lot of work and financial investment).

If you're willing to do the work, a Ph.D. would offer the career flexibility you're looking for.

If money is the strongest driving factor, you might want to consider other non-clinical paths altogether that pay higher salaries with fewer years of education.

As others have said, some further exploration and self-reflection on what you want your day-to-day work to be like would be helpful.
 
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Ah...okay.

Some Psy.D. programs offer partial funding to defray the cost of attendance. I think Rutgers, Baylor, Indiana and a few others do this. Something worth consider if money is the only barrier to a Psy.D. Some psychologists can get prescription privileges in certain states, but this is controversial. You might want to check out a few of the other threads on these issues.
Those seem alright. Albeit, not in great locations. This is something to consider. Even some funding is helpful. Also I know about perscribing psychologists but the states that allow that aren't really where I'd want to live to be honest.
 
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Wanting prescription privileges but not caring about someones kidneys may be problematic.

I don't see a clear career goal in your posts, which means that it will likely be hard for you to make a decision about what you want to do. You basically said anyone from childhood to adulthood in most settings with psychological problems. I would spend less time thinking about what type of degree you should get and more thinking about 'what would I like my days to be'. Then find someone who does what you want to do - and talk to them about what they did/how they got there. If you need to schedule and pay for an hour of time with them, do it. If it is the thing you want to do, consider it well spent consulting money.
This is a good idea! What's a typical consulting fee? I know I don't have very clear goals. I'm just really interested in a lot of things, unfortunately. I mean a lot of what I like falls at the cross-section of psychopathology and developmental. Stuff like looking at the emotional health and relationships of young adults who have developmental disorders.
 
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“Enjoy consuming and can tolerate conducting research” describes me and a lot of my clinical Ph.D. brethren. I’d go as far as to say that it’s the modal attitude. Why not prepare and aim for the degree that offers the highest career flexibility as well as the potential for full funding/stipend- a clinical Ph.D.? You probably don’t want a clinical scientist model program, but a solid scientist-practitioner model would suit your needs. Yeah, there’s a lot of stats and research. For many, these are hassles that must be tolerated and overcome. You just bear down and do it (and learn some valuable stuff that will continuously compliment and inform your clinical practice). You’ll also get top-notch clinical training and experience- at a minimum comparable to other psych doctoral programs (psyDs), and most likely more (in terms of clinical contact hours). You won’t graduate with 6 figure, lifestyle crippling levels of debt. Again- why would you not at least prepare for this route now? If your goals change down the road, other options would still be available to you.

In regards to prescribing AND doing therapy, my experience (cmhc’s; private group practices; hospitals) is that prescribers prescribe and therapists do therapy and rarely the twain shall meet.
At first I thought so too, but then my professor scared me. She said that before i even try getting in I need to 1) up my grades EVEN MORE, 2) do at least 2 years of regular research work post uni graduation. Since I don't love research, doing multiple years of extra research work BEFORE EVEN GETTING IN is a bit overwhelming and kinda disheartening. She made it seem like I wouldn't even be able to get in unless I did a few years of extra work and then the 6ish years of actual program. Do you think I have chances of getting in? I don't know yet if I'm doing a senior thesis.......I'm leaning towards not but if I have a chance at a good clin PHD than maybe I should.....despite disliking it
 
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Feb 5, 2020
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Ah...okay.

Some Psy.D. programs offer partial funding to defray the cost of attendance. I think Rutgers, Baylor, Indiana and a few others do this. Something worth consider if money is the only barrier to a Psy.D. Some psychologists can get prescription privileges in certain states, but this is controversial. You might want to check out a few of the other threads on these issues.
This is my experience as well having operated in similar settings.


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Really? I've heard otherswise about dual responsibility. I have a family friend who is a PMHNP and she does a lot of therapy as well as perscribing.... actually more therapy than not. Maybe thats unusual though.
 
Feb 5, 2020
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So, it sounds like you want to be a clinician. First step: pick therapy or prescribing. With all of the paths you are considering, as a clinician you will be doing one or the other the majority of the time. Though you've indicated an interest in providing psychotherapy, I'm going to focus mainly on your interest in possibly having prescription privileges. Forgive me if this is a fleeting or not serious consideration, but it's where I see the greatest potential for harm in your plan.

By the way, the one option you're ruling out - medical school + psychiatry residency - is the only one that will truly afford you the flexibility of doing both with a high level of competence (and to do the therapy part well you will still need additional training concurrently with or after residency).



Let me stop you there in that case, and advise again this option. I would suggest that you look a bit harder into nursing and the culture of nursing before diving into a direct entry NP program. While the direct entry option is becoming ever more popular, you will be in a very different position than your colleagues who started NP training after establishing their careers in nursing and getting years of front-line experience. What you are getting as a direct entry psych NP is vastly inferior to the training of physicians. You will be able to follow algorithms but you won't really understand what you're doing the way a physician will. Prescribing psychologists will disagree with me, but I think the situation is only slightly better with psychopharmacology training for psychologists.



It sounds like trying to cobble together something resembling psychiatry training all for the sake of avoiding the hard sciences? Doesn't seem worth it to me at all.



I'm sorry, but that is not an attitude that pairs well with the responsibility of having a prescription pad. That may sound harsh, but I and others take prescribing very seriously. I have seen the many ways medicine can go wrong even in well-trained hands, but especially in lesser-trained hands. Leave the prescribing to people who are not turned off by physiology and biochemistry. Nothing at all to be ashamed of, but this isn't the work you should be doing.

Given your grades and experience, psychology could be a good fit, but you need to narrow down your interests somewhat. You don't have to nail it down precisely but like @Justanothergrad said, your interests are so wide ranging that it's hard to give you advice about what kind of training you need. I will say that doctoral training is HARD, and it's supposed to be because we grow through being challenged. Your discomfort with doing some of the hard things is something that you will have to reckon with.
I'm okay with doing hard things, inlcuding biochemistry and anatomy, its just that it's not what really interests me. My goal isn't to cobble together a psychiatry degree....moreso to just get by as a therapist and make a decent living while helping people in a multimodal manner. Not a psuedo-psychiatrist.
 

Justanothergrad

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This is a good idea! What's a typical consulting fee? I know I don't have very clear goals. I'm just really interested in a lot of things, unfortunately. I mean a lot of what I like falls at the cross-section of psychopathology and developmental. Stuff like looking at the emotional health and relationships of young adults who have developmental disorders.
They may do it for free, but if it is a practicing psychologist you may need to pay for an hour of their time (e.g., billable therapy hour cash pay rate).


Really? I've heard otherswise about dual responsibility. I have a family friend who is a PMHNP and she does a lot of therapy as well as perscribing.... actually more therapy than not. Maybe thats unusual though.
Thats atypical. Med bills on briefer units and at a higher rate. From an agency reimbursement rate, why pay you a higher salary to do a lower reimbursement when they can outsource that to midlevel providers for therapy and use you for med needs (esp since med issues are a lot harder to address with sufficient numbers of providers)
 
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I think you need to look up the average salaries for the different jobs and compare that with the potential debt

National median salary for an NP is $113,930 per BLS. You also need to think about whether the state in which you plan to live is an independent practice state or not.

The salary for NPs is highly region dependent. You can obtain state specific data also through the BLS. The state in which I live is not independent practice and NPs here make less than the national average; i do not know if the salary reflects that but likely so because a physician has to sign off on a certain percentage of their notes and all scripts. I know what they pay the NPs at the hospital in which I work, as the physicians and I are currently conducting interviews for NPs. Their salary is $2,000/year less than what I currently make and I have only been practicing psychology a few years.

Even more importantly, you need to get an idea of what you want your profession to look like before you jump into applying for any degrees. If you have specific questions about what my day looks like as a psychologist in a pediatric primary care clinic, feel free to send me a message.
I'd love to chat. I plan to live on the east coast. Currently i live in MA, but I know the restrictions are tougher here. I plan to, if I go that route, move to conneticut or maine.
 
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They may do it for free, but if it is a practicing psychologist you may need to pay for an hour of their time (e.g., billable therapy hour cash pay rate).



Thats atypical. Med bills on briefer units and at a higher rate. From an agency reimbursement rate, why pay you a higher salary to do a lower reimbursement when they can outsource that to midlevel providers for therapy and use you for med needs (esp since med issues are a lot harder to address with sufficient numbers of providers)
Would that be a good reason for combining MSW and PMHNP potentially? Because MSW gets different insurance treatment? Or no?
 

PsyDr

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1) most of the reputable psyd programs will have a research component.

2) MSW training inflates its numbers by having the first year being related to general social work theory and not mental health issues. One would be wise to consider that fact when considering an msw for psychotherapy. Social workers do have an easier time finding jobs.

3)Nurse practitioners have an easy job market. Employers want them to write scripts, not provider therapy. I have never heard of one providing psychotherapy. Most don’t make too much, but some do make bank.

4) If one were so inclined, there are advanced training institutes for individuals with licensed degrees. For example: most psychoanalytic institutes offer training for psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and social workers. Same for CBT. I'm guessing there's something similar for other psychotherapist methods.

5) Getting two different degrees/licenses is a BAD idea. Insurance companies immediately get confused about which degree and why one is being billed vs the other. Consultation/liaison psychiatry has had a lot of problems with this in ER/ED settings.

6) Everything has a cost/benefit. Looking for the ideal compromise is wise. Looking for the ideal is a fool's errand.
 

Justanothergrad

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Would that be a good reason for combining MSW and PMHNP potentially? Because MSW gets different insurance treatment? Or no?
If you can provide "A" service for "X" price and if you can provide "B" service for "X" + "Y" price, but I have to pay you the same amount then I will have you do option "B" because I get the highest rate of return. There is no reason to have two degrees. It's expensive. It's time consuming. It won't encompass how you spend your time. It, at best, reduces your income.

You need to figure out what you want to do as a career on a day to day basis.
 
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1) most of the reputable psyd programs will have a research component.

2) MSW training inflates its numbers by having the first year being related to general social work theory and not mental health issues. One would be wise to consider that fact when considering an msw for psychotherapy. Social workers do have an easier time finding jobs.

3)Nurse practitioners have an easy job market. Employers want them to write scripts, not provider therapy. I have never heard of one providing psychotherapy. Most don’t make too much, but some do make bank.

4) If one were so inclined, there are advanced training institutes for individuals with licensed degrees. For example: most psychoanalytic institutes offer training for psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and social workers. Same for CBT. I'm guessing there's something similar for other psychotherapist methods.

5) Getting two different degrees/licenses is a BAD idea. Insurance companies immediately get confused about which degree and why one is being billed vs the other. Consultation/liaison psychiatry has had a lot of problems with this in ER/ED settings.

6) Everything has a cost/benefit. Looking for the ideal compromise is wise. Looking for the ideal is a fool's errand.
I understand that PsyD also includes research, just not as much. It's part of my problem in general.... nothing seems to suit me :/. I love psychology so much but part of me wishes that I knew more career wise before studying it.
 
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If you can provide "A" service for "X" price and if you can provide "B" service for "X" + "Y" price, but I have to pay you the same amount then I will have you do option "B" because I get the highest rate of return. There is no reason to have two degrees. It's expensive. It's time consuming. It won't encompass how you spend your time. It, at best, reduces your income.

You need to figure out what you want to do as a career on a day to day basis.
On a day to day basis, I'd like to provide counseling, psychotherapy, and potentially diagnostic/testing services. If I have medication as an additional resource to help my patients that'd be great but it seems like that's not something I'd be able to do. I'd like to have a nice quiet office that I can speak one on one with people. Working with people on their psychiatric issues is a really engaging pursuit for me, it's the best kind of puzzle I can find. I love kids, but some of the more interesting or complicated psychopathology seems to occur in young adulthood, with the exception of some developmental stuff (I do care about autism and adhd a good deal). I don't need completely stable patients, but I probably would want semi-stable patients or stable clients ... I'd like to not get hit or bitten or something...(so not ER probably). ). Does this information help for day to day basis stuff?
 

sabine_psyd

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I understand that PsyD also includes research, just not as much. It's part of my problem in general.... nothing seems to suit me :/. I love psychology so much but part of me wishes that I knew more career wise before studying it.
Well-respected PsyD programs, heck even those that have just decent reputations, require that your dissertation include original data you collected that will require statistical analysis to address hypotheses. You will want to be able to understand statistics enough to know how to do this; bare minimum.

I think some diploma mills that are still open allow students to do some sort of lit review in lieu of original studies and that gets the students out of having to know statistics outside of what’s required for class
 
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sabine_psyd

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On a day to day basis, I'd like to provide counseling, psychotherapy, and potentially diagnostic/testing services. If I have medication as an additional resource to help my patients that'd be great but it seems like that's not something I'd be able to do. I'd like to have a nice quiet office that I can speak one on one with people. Working with people on their psychiatric issues is a really engaging pursuit for me, it's the best kind of puzzle I can find. I love kids, but some of the more interesting or complicated psychopathology seems to occur in young adulthood, with the exception of some developmental stuff (I do care about autism and adhd a good deal). I don't need completely stable patients, but I probably would want semi-stable patients or stable clients ... I'd like to not get hit or bitten or something...(so not ER probably). ). Does this information help for day to day basis stuff?
I have worked in many acute inpatient settings and have never been hit or bitten. I worked on adult units as a practicum student and adolescent units during practicum and internship. A lot of the adolescent boys, and some girls, were larger than me. I had a kid throw a box of crayons at me while calling me the B word. That’s the biggest extent. I have seen other staff get attacked though and patients attempt to attack each other.

Best defense is verbal de-escalation and using your nonverbal cues to de-escalate agitated patients. And ideally don’t get yourself in those types of situations by using certain safety precautions afforded to you in those types of settings. Also know the signs that someone is getting agitated, even if they occur quickly.
 

MamaPhD

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I'm okay with doing hard things, inlcuding biochemistry and anatomy, its just that it's not what really interests me. My goal isn't to cobble together a psychiatry degree....moreso to just get by as a therapist and make a decent living while helping people in a multimodal manner. Not a psuedo-psychiatrist.
There are a lot of ways to get by as a therapist and make a decent living. Again, it depends on your career goals. You can do a direct entry master's program and become a psych NP in 3 years. Mind you, that is the same amount of time as a clinical social work program, but in that same amount of time you are learning two very different skill sets. This will help you launch a career more quickly, but it will limit your competence and mastery compared to those who spend at least as many or more years honing those skills in supervised training. So it's a trade-off.

On a day to day basis, I'd like to provide counseling, psychotherapy, and potentially diagnostic/testing services. If I have medication as an additional resource to help my patients that'd be great but it seems like that's not something I'd be able to do.
One alternative to doing all the things is to work in a clinic alongside other types of clinicians, including those who are experts on the medical management side. In fact, everything else you're describing sounds like working in an outpatient psychiatry clinic would be a good fit. If you want to do testing, you will need the skill set that psychology provides, and especially the statistical and psychometric training. But if you are mostly interested in providing therapy, and want to start your career sooner, an MSW would be a reasonable path. All the different professions have their strengths and limits. The more competencies and skills you want to master, the longer you'll be in school. It is a tough decision. Best of luck.
 
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Well-respected PsyD programs, heck even those that have just decent reputations, require that your dissertation include original data you collected that will require statistical analysis to address hypotheses. You will want to be able to understand statistics enough to know how to do this; bare minimum.

I think some diploma mills that are still open allow students to do some sort of lit review in lieu of original studies and that gets the students out of having to know statistics outside of what’s required for class
I wouldn't want a diploma mill. Ugh. I'm prepared to do research it just overwhemls me and kinda scares me... but if I don't want to be near poverty, and if I can't get through nursing school... I guess it's my only option. :/ ... that if I can even get into one... think my chances are any good? (lab, MAYBE thesis, i've had a research internship that was for a summer and I've worked with a visiting professor and for a short while a grad student but she ghosted me and graduated...so we never finished the project). All those years doing work I don't fully enjoy seems exhausting but maybe necessary
 

PsyDr

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1) It's an hourly job. Income = billable hours worked X hourly rate collected. You will not get close to 100% billable hours. If you're wise, you'll look up CMS (i.e., medicare)'s rates for psych services. It would be a very smart exercise for a student to look up what CPT codes can be billed, and how much one could make. I'm not going to spoon feed it, because the process is very important.

2) There's basically three things mental health can do: Assessment, Therapy, Medication. Some professions can do more of these than others. See #1.

3) If you work for someone else, they will always want you to do the part of #2 that pays the most. You can love a lot of things, but money rules the day. Even if you go into PP.

4) Some places are inclined to hire people because of regulatory standards (e.g., Hospitals generally need to hire MSWs because JCAHO requires discharge plans, and that profession is uniquely suited to that duty.). That does not mean those professionals are doing what they want (e.g., individual psychotherapy).

5) If you prescribe, your ability to have a "quiet office" would be lower than a standard therapy office. I'm sure you've seen a fellow students freak out when they are running low on adderall. Guess who gets those frantic calls? Now expand that concept to people who are highly anxious and demanding an immediate fix, people who with sleeping problems, etc.

6) Completely anecdotally, I don't believe the APA salary surveys for general psychologist incomes. I am positive some of the higher numbers are not reported.

7) Lifestyle should be really considered. Day to day life, your ability to geographically move, etc. Some careers are easier, some harder.
 
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1) It's an hourly job. Income = billable hours worked X hourly rate collected. You will not get close to 100% billable hours. If you're wise, you'll look up CMS (i.e., medicare)'s rates for psych services. It would be a very smart exercise for a student to look up what CPT codes can be billed, and how much one could make. I'm not going to spoon feed it, because the process is very important.

2) There's basically three things mental health can do: Assessment, Therapy, Medication. Some professions can do more of these than others. See #1.

3) If you work for someone else, they will always want you to do the part of #2 that pays the most. You can love a lot of things, but money rules the day. Even if you go into PP.

4) Some places are inclined to hire people because of regulatory standards (e.g., Hospitals generally need to hire MSWs because JCAHO requires discharge plans, and that profession is uniquely suited to that duty.). That does not mean those professionals are doing what they want (e.g., individual psychotherapy).

5) If you prescribe, your ability to have a "quiet office" would be lower than a standard therapy office. I'm sure you've seen a fellow students freak out when they are running low on adderall. Guess who gets those frantic calls? Now expand that concept to people who are highly anxious and demanding an immediate fix, people who with sleeping problems, etc.

6) Completely anecdotally, I don't believe the APA salary surveys for general psychologist incomes. I am positive some of the higher numbers are not reported.

7) Lifestyle should be really considered. Day to day life, your ability to geographically move, etc. Some careers are easier, some harder.
I guess scratch that quiet office part, I was maybe being idyllic. I just meant not chaotic like an ER. I'd be fine with the level of chaotic-ness described here. In terms of moving, I can move from my current situation, but I wouldn't want to be moving my home constantly throughout my life all the time. Initially yes that is okay though. I'm generally just really scared of the MSW pathway because everyone around me says that do not make a decent living and generally aren't secure financially. I feel that I could easily get into an MSW program though. Living on the east coast.... I probably want to be making at least 80,000 per year given the cost of living here (I think?)
 

MamaPhD

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I guess scratch that quiet office part, I was maybe being idyllic. I just meant not chaotic like an ER. I'd be fine with the level of chaotic-ness described here. In terms of moving, I can move from my current situation, but I wouldn't want to be moving my home constantly throughout my life all the time. Initially yes that is okay though. I'm generally just really scared of the MSW pathway because everyone around me says that do not make a decent living and generally aren't secure financially. I feel that I could easily get into an MSW program though. Living on the east coast.... I probably want to be making at least 80,000 per year given the cost of living here (I think?)
Well, if you really want to get a ballpark idea, look up a few cities on the east coast. Get on Indeed.com and see what entry-level therapist jobs are paying. Then get on Zillow or whatever and look at housing costs. The rule of thumb I have read elsewhere is to spend no more than 25-30% of your gross income on housing.

On the other hand, if you want to work sooner but income is a higher priority, nothing is stopping you from going the NP route. Or you could consider other psychology-related careers. If you don't need to do therapy but like the idea of working with organizations, teams, etc., a graduate degree in I/O psychology is quicker than clinical, and those jobs tend to pay well.

You are doing the right thing by thinking about earning potential at this point in your education. Too many people avoid this or just assume it will all work out somehow.
 
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Well, if you really want to get a ballpark idea, look up a few cities on the east coast. Get on Indeed.com and see what entry-level therapist jobs are paying. Then get on Zillow or whatever and look at housing costs. The rule of thumb I have read elsewhere is to spend no more than 25-30% of your gross income on housing.

On the other hand, if you want to work sooner but income is a higher priority, nothing is stopping you from going the NP route. Or you could consider other psychology-related careers. If you don't need to do therapy but like the idea of working with organizations, teams, etc., a graduate degree in I/O psychology is quicker than clinical, and those jobs tend to pay well.

You are doing the right thing by thinking about earning potential at this point in your education. Too many people avoid this or just assume it will all work out somehow.
Unfortunately for me, I have very little interest in large corporate involvement that would happen with things like I/O. Teams would be alright, but I tend to not like giant corporates and companies. My mother is a mortgage broker so I bet I could talk to her about housing stuff more
 

R. Matey

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I'm prepared to do research it just overwhemls me and kinda scares me.
I think the key to overcoming this is finding something you're passionate about and learning how to study it. I used to be terrified of math in high school. In college, I found purpose in it and grew to really love it. I think if you could overcome this, you might find some real enjoyment in doing research either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program.
 
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I think the key to overcoming this is finding something you're passionate about and learning how to study it. I used to be terrified of math in high school. In college, I found purpose in it and grew to really love it. I think if you could overcome this, you might find some real enjoyment in doing research either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program.
I really hope that's true. It's mostly the stats and analyses that make me worry. That and I have ADHD so I'm REALLY driven by interest so when I find a task too boring (as I often do with research, as mentioned through the thread) I tend to do less well with it.
 

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I really hope that's true. It's mostly the stats and analyses that make me worry. That and I have ADHD so I'm REALLY driven by interest so when I find a task too boring (as I often do with research, as mentioned through the thread) I tend to do less well with it.
Perhaps this could be a research interest for you. I used to work in a lab studying kids with ADHD. Many psychologists (and just researchers in general) become interested in a topic because of a personal connection.
 
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R. Matey

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I think being stats competent is really important, but you don't have to be an expert. On projects that I've worked on, I've been tapped as the stats person because of my interest in psychometrics. Most of my colleagues have strong enough skills as students to get through statistics, but don't have the interest to specialize in it. That's okay, they're experts in things that I'm not. There's no reason you couldn't get through these classes with enough knowledge to read the literature critically and incorporate it into your clinical practice.
 

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First of all, it’s refreshing to see someone at your place in your education/career path ask a question here, get answers that may not be exactly what you wanted to hear, stick around and ask good follow-up questions, and evolve your view based on the feedback you get. It doesn’t always go that way around here!

As many posters have mentioned, you have a lot of options. I think you are in a position where you need to make a decision about the next few years. You could bear down, work really hard (on the GPA and your research experience), refine your clinical (and, in turn, research interests), and make yourself as competitive as possible for a funded clinical psych doctoral program. While the short term opportunity costs may be high, the long term financial costs will be less and career flexibility will be highest. Don’t worry too much about the stats and research classes. If you’re reasonably intelligent and willing to do some work and seek out help where needed, you can get through them (remember, in grad school “B=Ph.D.”). Any research you’d do will likely be in an area of significant interest to you, and you’ll be pretty into it. If it doesn’t work out getting into such a program, you’ll be well positioned for one of the other type of degrees mentioned above, plus you’ll have developed some really good school, work, and life habits that will serve you well.

You could eschew all this and go for a social work or lmhc degree, and still be well positioned to do most (but not as much) of what you want to do. You’d probably make less doing it- especially with the lmhc- but still have the potential for a pretty good quality of life. For reasons discussed ad nauseum in other threads, you probably want to do everything you can to avoid a loan-financed psyd from a free standing professional school (FSPS). That path works out ok for many people, but’s it’s a HUGE financial risk and I see no compelling reason for that to be a top choice. If it gets to the point where the only program that will admit you is a huge cohort “pay to play” FSPS, then maybe this isn’t the best field for you.
 
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First of all, it’s refreshing to see someone at your place in your education/career path ask a question here, get answers that may not be exactly what you wanted to hear, stick around and ask good follow-up questions, and evolve your view based on the feedback you get. It doesn’t always go that way around here!

As many posters have mentioned, you have a lot of options. I think you are in a position where you need to make a decision about the next few years. You could bear down, work really hard (on the GPA and your research experience), refine your clinical (and, in turn, research interests), and make yourself as competitive as possible for a funded clinical psych doctoral program. While the short term opportunity costs may be high, the long term financial costs will be less and career flexibility will be highest. Don’t worry too much about the stats and research classes. If you’re reasonably intelligent and willing to do some work and seek out help where needed, you can get through them (remember, in grad school “B=Ph.D.”). Any research you’d do will likely be in an area of significant interest to you, and you’ll be pretty into it. If it doesn’t work out getting into such a program, you’ll be well positioned for one of the other type of degrees mentioned above, plus you’ll have developed some really good school, work, and life habits that will serve you well.

You could eschew all this and go for a social work or lmhc degree, and still be well positioned to do most (but not as much) of what you want to do. You’d probably make less doing it- especially with the lmhc- but still have the potential for a pretty good quality of life. For reasons discussed ad nauseum in other threads, you probably want to do everything you can to avoid a loan-financed psyd from a free standing professional school (FSPS). That path works out ok for many people, but’s it’s a HUGE financial risk and I see no compelling reason for that to be a top choice. If it gets to the point where the only program that will admit you is a huge cohort “pay to play” FSPS, then maybe this isn’t the best field for you.
I really appreciate all of the feedback. If I might inquire, how much catching/preping might be expected, if I were to go this route (either work wise or experience wise) ? One of my professors told me that I would need to work about 2-3 years in research work post graduating uni before I even would get a chance at getting into a clinical phd program (may be slightly easier for psyd I understand). While that not 100% a dealbreaker, I'd really like to not have to do extra years in that line before even getting in. About how much higher would I need to get my GPA up ?
 
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deleted1017236

I really appreciate all of the feedback. If I might inquire, how much catching/preping might be expected, if I were to go this route (either work wise or experience wise) ? One of my professors told me that I would need to work about 2-3 years in research work post graduating uni before I even would get a chance at getting into a clinical phd program (may be slightly easier for psyd I understand). While that not 100% a dealbreaker, I'd really like to not have to do extra years in that line before even getting in. About how much higher would I need to get my GPA up ?
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), from the folks I know, most people do extra years before getting in. In my (research-heavy) program, 1-2 years of research experience during college and then another 2 years in a post-bac research assistant/lab manager job (with one of those ideally being in an area of research that you can tie to your grad research interests) is the standard expectation. Another (perhaps correlated with time) metric is productivity (posters, presentations, papers), which also takes some time if you are newer to academic writing/work.

Re your overall GPA, I don't see a 3.7 GPA as being too low, but might recommend looking at where your lower grades are. If they are in Psych/Stats courses, that may be more concerning.

I would also like to echo the sentiment that many people in PhDs feel the way you do about research. It can certainly make a PhD more grueling at times, especially if you are in a less balanced program, but it's not unusual and certainly doable, if that is the route you end up choosing! I also hated statistics in college, but once I learned about stats in the context of clinical assessment, it was an entirely different story for me.
 
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ClinicalABA

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I really appreciate all of the feedback. If I might inquire, how much catching/preping might be expected, if I were to go this route (either work wise or experience wise) ? One of my professors told me that I would need to work about 2-3 years in research work post graduating uni before I even would get a chance at getting into a clinical phd program (may be slightly easier for psyd I understand). While that not 100% a dealbreaker, I'd really like to not have to do extra years in that line before even getting in. About how much higher would I need to get my GPA up ?
I’m going to defer to some of the folks around here with more current knowledge of the specifics needed to be competitive for a funded Ph.D. program. GPA in high 3’s and a few years of research experience seem to be the standard rec, with extra “points” for getting your name on a publication, poster, or presentation. It’ll be some work, no doubt, but now is the time to do it!
 
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I’m going to defer to some of the folks around here with more current knowledge of the specifics needed to be competitive for a funded Ph.D. program. GPA in high 3’s and a few years of research experience seem to be the standard rec, with extra “points” for getting your name on a publication, poster, or presentation. It’ll be some work, no doubt, but ones the time to do it.
Does during-college experience not count for much? So far I've done about a year of basic literature review/ RA help for a visiting professor freshman year, some short term work with a grad student before she left (ghosted me lol) summer-fall of sophmore year, been at a lab for sophmore year and this current year, had an RA internship at a school this past summer, and then I have a potential internship for this summer as well. So even with this there's still extra years? Wowie. Guess if I did decide to go that way I'd need to do a senior thesis for sure. This sure is unfortunate.
 
Feb 5, 2020
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Unfortunately (or fortunately?), from the folks I know, most people do extra years before getting in. In my (research-heavy) program, 1-2 years of research experience during college and then another 2 years in a post-bac research assistant/lab manager job (with one of those ideally being in an area of research that you can tie to your grad research interests) is the standard expectation. Another (perhaps correlated with time) metric is productivity (posters, presentations, papers), which also takes some time if you are newer to academic writing/work.

Re your overall GPA, I don't see a 3.7 GPA as being too low, but might recommend looking at where your lower grades are. If they are in Psych/Stats courses, that may be more concerning.

I would also like to echo the sentiment that many people in PhDs feel the way you do about research. It can certainly make a PhD more grueling at times, especially if you are in a less balanced program, but it's not unusual and certainly doable, if that is the route you end up choosing! I also hated statistics in college, but once I learned about stats in the context of clinical assessment, it was an entirely different story for me.
They're actually mostly in a neuroscience course, a history course (yeah I shouldn't have taken that) and somewhat in my research methods course. I usually very much struggle in math but my stats grade was actually decent, though i had to really overwork myself to get through it. For my psych classes in general I usually get A-'s in them. If I did go this way, I'd absolutely avoid the research-heavier programs.
 
Oct 1, 2018
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A couple other thoughts. I notice you didn't mention Counseling Psychology PhD programs. Those may be worth looking into as well. I think on average they produce more clinicians than researchers and you can find some well-funded ones. However funding will most likely correlate with research expectations. Also, I don't know how possible this is, but I wonder if you could find a program with an advisor who is an expert in qualitative (or mixed-methods) research to give you the chance of doing research with less of a quantitative focus.
 
Nov 18, 2019
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Does during-college experience not count for much? So far I've done about a year of basic literature review/ RA help for a visiting professor freshman year, some short term work with a grad student before she left (ghosted me lol) summer-fall of sophmore year, been at a lab for sophmore year and this current year, had an RA internship at a school this past summer, and then I have a potential internship for this summer as well. So even with this there's still extra years? Wowie. Guess if I did decide to go that way I'd need to do a senior thesis for sure. This sure is unfortunate.
I went to a PhD program straight out of undergrad. It's do-able, but I was definitely one of the few. A lot depends on products. Do you have publications? Presentations at national conferences? Any other proof of productivity? Those are the big deciding factors above and beyond GPA/GRE.
 
Feb 5, 2020
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A couple other thoughts. I notice you didn't mention Counseling Psychology PhD programs. Those may be worth looking into as well. I think on average they produce more clinicians than researchers and you can find some well-funded ones. However funding will most likely correlate with research expectations. Also, I don't know how possible this is, but I wonder if you could find a program with an advisor who is an expert in qualitative (or mixed-methods) research to give you the chance of doing research with less of a quantitative focus.
I know about counseling programs, but I didn't feel that it aligned with my interests as much. Don't counseling programs tend to focus on more non-psychopathological elements?
 
Feb 5, 2020
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I went to a PhD program straight out of undergrad. It's do-able, but I was definitely one of the few. A lot depends on products. Do you have publications? Presentations at national conferences? Any other proof of productivity? Those are the big deciding factors above and beyond GPA/GRE.
I currently don't have publications or presentations. If I did a senior thesis I'd have to present that in the end, and I suppose it could be published.
 
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deleted1017236

Does during-college experience not count for much? So far I've done about a year of basic literature review/ RA help for a visiting professor freshman year, some short term work with a grad student before she left (ghosted me lol) summer-fall of sophmore year, been at a lab for sophmore year and this current year, had an RA internship at a school this past summer, and then I have a potential internship for this summer as well. So even with this there's still extra years? Wowie. Guess if I did decide to go that way I'd need to do a senior thesis for sure. This sure is unfortunate.
It's hard to say what "counts" and certainly not everyone does a post-bac. I might encourage you to think about your experiences not just in terms of time but also the quality and narrative... some questions to consider:

how do these experiences relate to what you want to do in grad school and beyond (clinically, but also in terms of specific research interest if you want to go for a PhD)?
what parts of the research process do you have experience with? how independent were you?
have you had an experience of developing a question, answering it, and then communicating that to the scientific community?
could you develop a poster or something else that demonstrates productivity, ideally prior to applying?
what would any of your supervisors be able to say about you in a letter? could they speak to your potential to complete a phd/dissertation?

Most of all, as others have said, I think a good question to ask yourself, is what do you want to focus on? You have widespread interests and I would guess experiences as well, so reflecting on those may also be a good starting point for you to decide on what to do or continue with next. If you do decide on a PhD (research light or heavy), you will need to develop an area of focus/expertise to some extent, which maybe you don't feel ready to do yet, in which case, post-bac might be beneficial to you.
 
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I currently don't have publications or presentations. If I did a senior thesis I'd have to present that in the end, and I suppose it could be published.
What are you doing in your lab right now? Are there ways you could get involved in presentations and publications?

Unfortunately, those will be the biggest things holding you back from a funded position right now. Most people applying will have a track record of productivity, even if it's a short one.
 
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What are you doing in your lab right now? Are there ways you could get involved in presentations and publications?

Unfortunately, those will be the biggest things holding you back from a funded position right now. Most people applying will have a track record of productivity, even if it's a short one.
Right now I'm basically doing RA grunt work; checking data, being trained to run participants through tasks, recruitment, handling run sheets, updating codebooks. But there is an option to do a senior thesis, and if it's good then it could be published. I was avoiding trying to do one, but it seems like it could be worth it now.
 
Nov 18, 2019
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Right now I'm basically doing RA grunt work; checking data, being trained to run participants through tasks, recruitment, handling run sheets, updating codebooks. But there is an option to do a senior thesis, and if it's good then it could be published. I was avoiding trying to do one, but it seems like it could be worth it now.
It sounds like a good idea. Does your lab go to conferences?
 
Oct 1, 2018
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I know about counseling programs, but I didn't feel that it aligned with my interests as much. Don't counseling programs tend to focus on more non-psychopathological elements?
So if you're interested in psychopathology in your clinical work, you could go to a counseling psych program that has practicum placements in the types of settings that have more severe psychopathology. I was able to do that.

If you're interested in doing psychopathology research, I'd say that's going to be an advisor by advisor question. You might find a counseling psych advisor who studies multicultural factors related to psychopathology.
 
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