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I Want to Chat w/ Current Dr. Psych Students

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Sharewithme, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Sharewithme

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    Hi there,

    I'm applying for Ph.D. counseling psychology programs this fall, and I'd love to talk with current students in these programs and other doc (PsyD and PhD) psych programs to get a better feel for what grad school's all about. We could chat here in this thread, through personal message, phone, text, email, FB, w/e. Please let me know if you're interested.

    Thanks,
    Sharewithme
     
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  3. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
    Psychologist Faculty 5+ Year Member

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    I'm happy to answer any questions from a faculty (and thus former student) perspective. I'd encourage you to post any general questions here. Experience is likely to vary by program, advisor, goals, etc so seeing diversity of answer will be informative.
     
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  4. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I suspect this was intended for this thread

    Keep in mind that clinical and counseling psych are not homogeneous fields. The subfields within each (and affiliated division areas) are likely to be better indicators of journals. My work, for instance, wouldn't be as well suited to JCP/TCP as other top tier journals. Folks studying college substance use may end up often in substance use journals. Those working with vocational concerns may be in career assessment, vocational assessment, etc.
     
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  5. Sharewithme

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    Wonderful Justanothergrad, thank you! What draws you to the professor profession? How does it stand out in comparison to practitioner (any setting)? Does teaching or research interest you most? Career psych is one area of counseling psych, and it's common to take tests based on interests, skills, and abilities. I think hearing real people's perspectives can be another way to feel out what areas of interest may matter most to applicants and students, and this isn't about just my learning, it's about helping people with similar questions. To start:

    What's different about day to day life in a doc program, esp. Ph.D., at an R1, R2, or R3 school, if anything?

    How would you describe the different types of advisor styles?

    Thanks.
     
  6. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I'm an R1 faculty, so I'm a researcher although, like many of my colleagues at both R1 and R2/R3 institutions, I enjoy teaching. It weighs different in terms of my expectations for tenure/promotion (with publication/grants being more weighted), but it's still a part of my job and part I enjoy. I suspect that is the general sentiment for most faculty in similar positions as mine. It's hard to compare my job to a practitioner job because it is like asking "how is engineering different than construction". Abstractly they share some similarities (time-limited exposure to individuals with the goal to change them via either therapy or education, use and promotion of psychological science on different ends of the creation/application spectrum, etc), but anything more than 'they are different jobs' is hard to nail down. I've been a practitioner as well.

    I can't speak for the differnce in R1/R2/R3 for day to day life. My experience has been R1 for both faculty and student. In general, you work a lot (your own research, your advisor's research, your TA/RA gig, your classwork, your practicum, etc) and you have an opportunity to engage in thought provoking conversations on a daily basis.

    Advisors, like people, will vary on your usual dimensions of extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness. Those traits will come into play in different ways as they encounter stress, navigate social relationships with students/faculty, organize their lab, and so forth. Some are more directive and some less some. Warmth and interpersonal involvement with the lives will vary. Feedback may be hands off or very hands on (aka, tons of edits on your writing, etc). Some folks will assign their advisee's very specific courses of study and projects that support their own research agenda while others are open to more individualized approaches.

    There is as much variability in being a student as there is in being a professor as there is in being a practitioner. In general, it depends on what you want (professionally and personally) and what you will accept to get to those goals. Plus some chance.
     
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  7. Sharewithme

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    Thank you so much for this! It's great to learn more about graduate school life. I love research, so I think an R1 would be my best fit. I wonder if practicing psycholgists can't educate and create in a uni counseling center (an environment that thrives in these). That's what I'd like to do with my practice there, incorporate research and publishing, teaching, outreach and psychoeducation, and supervisionn too!
     
  8. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    If you want to be able to do all of these things in a career in any meaningful way, R1 may not be the way to go. You're essentially at an R1 to teach and get grants. Things that can be monetized for the R1. It sounds more like you want to be at a non-profit that is affiliated with a research institution.
     
  9. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I would encourage you to be flexible with your goals and test them out. During admissions each year it is common to hear from folks say they want to do all things - research, practice, and teach. That's a hard to pull balance and most end up doing 1, or sometimes 2, of these because of feasibility .
     
  10. Sharewithme

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    Non-profits are meaningful, but they're not based in education like universities are, which is what draws me to them.

    Non-profits are too risky for me financially.

    I've been career searching for a long time, and I have yet to find any non-profis affiliated with research institutions that I'd want to work for.
     
  11. Sharewithme

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    Do you mean just state I want to work in 2 of the three - research, teaching, practice - in my personal statement?
     
  12. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I'm not sure if you have a good concept of non-profit healthcare systems. Many are affiliated with large R1 academic systems. Also, how are they risky financially? I make 5 figures more in my non-profit healthcare job than I did in the VA ,with similar benefits and shorter work hours. Also, there are a TON on non-profit healthcare systems affiliated with research institutions. I think you may be confusing small non-profit entities with large, statewide healthcare systems that happen to be non-profit.
     
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  13. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    An R1 institution would be a good fit if you wanted to focus your career predominantly on research. An academic medical center could be a good fit also, and it might afford you more opportunities for clinical work and teaching.

    I'm not totally clear on your question about university counseling centers, but some faculty affiliated with UCCs do research, and some UCC also do some teaching and supervision. But the focus in that setting is predominantly on clinical service and to some extent outreach and psychoeducation. The problem with UCC positions is that they tend to be poorly compensated relative to the workload, especially in a climate of increasing demand for services and increasingly high acuity in student populations.
     
  14. Sharewithme

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    Yes, I was confusing these.

    I value healthcare, but if I wanted to work in a hospital, I'd go for my M.D., not Ph.D. This is just my personal interest.

    Glad you're doing well in your job btw.
     
  15. Sharewithme

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    Regarding the R1s, there are always exceptions to the rule, or the primary ways of working in these environments, at least over time.

    Regarding the UCCS and poor compensation, every career has it's not so perfect qualities. I LIKE working hard, so keeping busy is actually rather appealing...
     
  16. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    In terms of the jobs that you are describing and wanting to do (research, teaching, supervision), a large number of those types of jobs exist in hospital settings, such as AMC's. I'd advise keeping an open mind and gaining some more experience about the different careers that exist out there for psychologists. I think there are a lot of misconceptions here.
     
  17. Sharewithme

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    Some more questions:

    1) Are there rankings for different kinds of teaching that goes on in universities like there is for research (e.g. R1, R2, and R3)?

    2) What is more accurate to check the kinds of graduate courses offered, a program training manual or graduate school catalog? Also, I sometimes have difficulty finding the total number of credits required to graduate. Is there a set place to look for this info if a program website doesn't state it outright?

    3) What are the roles/duties faculty have across counseling psych programs? I know there are program chairs. Do chairs typically teach less or have less RAs and TAs then other faculty due to taking care of other features for the program (such as APA accreditation)? There are training directors. What are the APA requirements for the kind of training experiences PhD counseling psych students need to get their degree? What if a student liked to train in a particular setting? What associations are training directors part of? Besides chairs and training directors, what other team players make up counseling psych doc programs? Thanks.
     
  18. Sharewithme

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    Academic medical centers would be more appealing to me than non-academic medical centers. Fast paced, pathology (including pathology-alleviation and elimination) oriented settings don't interest me. These are hospital environments. Also, clearly universities have more opportunities to work with college students than hospitals, and I like the developmental stage of college students. I'll keep an open mind, though I also have a clear idea based on work and volunteer experience of what I want and am determined to get it. In all of this I am writing for me personally, I know you and others love hospitals, and this is why positions in hospitals exist, for people like you to fill them and do the job extremely well.
     
  19. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    It's not so much a love of the hospital setting as it is availability of jobs that have certain components and also happen to pay well. It's fine if you want a very specific job setting, as long as the awareness that those jobs are limited and the job search will be that much harder.
     
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  20. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    Okay, it doesn't sound like you're interested in advice about career paths. I realize that you started this post seeking information about grad school and the convo morphed into a discussion about various work settings.

    Back to the question about graduate training. If you are interested in working with college students as a researcher and/or clinician, you'll likely find plenty of opportunities a grad student. You won't be able to avoid college students in graduate school as long as you attend a university-based training program. They will be your likely research participants, you may be able to teach them, and if you attend a program that offers a UCC practicum, you will work with them clinically. Since there are many programs that will provide you with this kind of exposure, your task is to narrow your interests to specific topics you'd like to study or specialize in, and decide whether you want to pursue a more clinical or academic path.
     
  21. psych.meout

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    It sounds like you want to work with a healthier (e..g, "pathology oriented") late adolescent population in a setting that isn't "fast paced" and are thereby fixated on UCCs as your avenue to do this, but this doesn't necessarily mesh. As others have mentioned, the demand for services at UCCs is increasing, as is the acuity. Thus, you are going to be progressively even more rushed to see patients with more serious pathology and comorbidity than you are expecting, but without the remuneration commensurate with your work (as opposed to, say, an AMC or VA).

    Furthermore, hospitals and other medical settings don't necessarily imply worse pathology. You should look into specialties like health psychology.
     
  22. Sharewithme

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    Thanks. In addition to the Insider's Guide 1-7 practice-research training ranking of graduate programs, which is excellent, what are other ways to identify if programs would train me well for a more clinical or academic path?
     
  23. Sharewithme

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    I hear you. I just really like the university campus environment: Education, option to research, teach, and practice, the majority of cases practice wise primarily are with healthier problems.
     
  24. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    The program web site itself will usually give you a general idea. Often, balanced programs will explicitly mention that their program is appropriate for students with interests in both research and clinical practice. The more heavily research-focused programs will explain that their main goal is to prepare students for research careers, or some advise students seeking a primarily clinical career to apply elsewhere. Clinically focused programs (mainly PsyD programs) will usually align themselves with a "practitioner-scholar" model and will make it pretty clear that they are focused on training future clinicians.
     
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