Jul 7, 2010
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Psychology Student
Hey all,

I think I am having an identity crisis regarding future goals/programs applied to...and it may be a little too late, considering I've sent in most of my apps. I need a little advice. I am finishing up my MA in clinical, and ever since I arrived to the field of Psychology, I always wanted to be a clinician. I worked in a lab undergrad, and got an RA position in my MA program, but research was always something that I did only because I knew I had to. I knew it would "look good." I always had my sights set on a University based PsyD program, where clinical work would be the focus. Now I am coming to the end of my third semester as a MA student, and have spent 1 semester as a clinical practicum student at a research site. Although I primarily do counseling at this site, I have also gotten involved/exposed to a variety of different research projects. As time progresses, I feel more drawn to research. I feel excited and intrigued by research. Don't get me wrong, I love doing clinical work. However...it really isn't what I thought it would be. I also feel much more excited about taking on patients that are part of a research study, rather than those who are just seeking counseling (outside of a study).

I have applied to only 4 PhD programs, and 5 PsyD (since the PsyD degree was what I always thought I wanted). Now I am all confused. My ideal job would be one in which I can do both clinical and research work. Is this possible with a PsyD? Are my expectations unreasonable?
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,774
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Psychology Student
Probably depends a fair bit on the PsyD program. Some of them have lots of opportunities for research and would likely be excited to have a student who wants to get involved. Other schools I have NEVER actually come across a paper from one of their faculty members, which makes me wonder what their faculty are doing.

It may depend how much research you are looking to be involved in. If you want a professor job at a major research institution...that is probably going to be tough. If you are just looking to stay involved in research in some capacity (e.g. a VA with some research opportunities, a staff psychologist at an academic hospital, etc.) then I don't think its an absolute barrier.

Just make sure opportunities are available to you, and you take advantage of them. This is perhaps more likely at a PhD program, but not exclusive to them.
 
OP
S
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Probably depends a fair bit on the PsyD program. Some of them have lots of opportunities for research and would likely be excited to have a student who wants to get involved. Other schools I have NEVER actually come across a paper from one of their faculty members, which makes me wonder what their faculty are doing.

It may depend how much research you are looking to be involved in. If you want a professor job at a major research institution...that is probably going to be tough. If you are just looking to stay involved in research in some capacity (e.g. a VA with some research opportunities, a staff psychologist at an academic hospital, etc.) then I don't think its an absolute barrier.

Just make sure opportunities are available to you, and you take advantage of them. This is perhaps more likely at a PhD program, but not exclusive to them.
I am not interesting in going into acamdemia/being a professor at all. I am looking to stay involved in research, much like you described. Perhaps even opportunities to run my own studies out of an academic hospital. I suppose I am just confused for now. I do know that 1. I do enjoy clinical work. but 2. I enjoy being involved in research much more than I thought I would.

I also know that I couldn't spend my entire work week doing applied clinical work.

PsyD programs I am applying to are Rutgers (top choice), IUP (also a high choice), and a few university based (and unfortunately unfunded programs), which seem to have less research coming out of them.
 

Existenz

Clinical Neuropsychologist
5+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2010
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My ideal job would be one in which I can do both clinical and research work. Is this possible with a PsyD? Are my expectations unreasonable?

absolutely doable, especially when working at a larger VA network site.
 
OP
S
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Thank you for the advice, everybody. I am hoping to get into one of my top choices (any university with ample research opportunities), but unfortunately I do not think I applied to enough of these. Oh well...there's always next year! I don't want to get stuck with a degree that cannot help me attain my career goals.
 
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Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,774
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Status
Psychology Student
Remember that you get to "interview" the schools at the same time they are interviewing you. I think you are taking the right approach...an extra year is not much in the grand scheme of things, and is probably less time than you have to spend trying to make up ground if you go to the wrong school.

Make sure wherever you go has faculty with active labs, publish quality research (i.e. in journals people actually read), and that you have access to appropriate coursework (e.g. multiple stats courses...ANOVA/Regression only gets you so far these days). There are plenty of happy middle-grounds where you will have such opportunities, but won't be expected to spend 40 hours a week in the lab doing basic science work with no obvious clinical implications.

I think as long as you go somewhere with opportunities like that available to you, and you take advantage of them, you will be fine for the kinds of positions you are gunning for.