MinxC

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Hi All

I was recently talking to a former mentor about my decisions for graduate school. I felt like this wonderful person, with the best of intentions, started to utilize attending behaviors, reframed my statements and clarified my emotions in the process.

My question is:
Is it possible to not be a "psychologist" outside of therapy sessions?

The professor of my UG "Psychopathology" class stated that going to a party full of psychologists is awfully boring, as everyone is overly "reserved" & "self-conscious". Additionally, I now find that friends in other fields seek "therapeutic" advice. Most irritating, non-psychology folks tend to become appalled if you dare to take off your "helper" hat & express "colorful" sentiments. I am beginning to realize why a childhood friend, whose parents are psychologists, always jokingly said he would never become a psychologist. "He wouldn't do that to his kids."

C
 

phillydave

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Hi All

I was recently talking to a former mentor about my decisions for graduate school. I felt like this wonderful person, with the best of intentions, started to utilize attending behaviors, reframed my statements and clarified my emotions in the process.

My question is:
Is it possible to not be a "psychologist" outside of therapy sessions?

The professor of my UG "Psychopathology" class stated that going to a party full of psychologists is awfully boring, as everyone is overly "reserved" & "self-conscious". Additionally, I now find that friends in other fields seek "therapeutic" advice. Most irritating, non-psychology folks tend to become appalled if you dare to take off your "helper" hat & express "colorful" sentiments. I am beginning to realize why a childhood friend, whose parents are psychologists, always jokingly said he would never become a psychologist. "He wouldn't do that to his kids."

C

This hasn't really been my experience so far, but I do get the "What do you think Dave? You're the therapist.." And sometimes that gets tiring. As for the party of psychologists part - I've never been to such a party, but I have had lots of fun and interesting casual group interactions with psychologists. I'd say that therapists/psychologists are less uptight than their stereotyped to be, not to say they don't exist though.
 

AlaskanJustin

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Hi All

I was recently talking to a former mentor about my decisions for graduate school. I felt like this wonderful person, with the best of intentions, started to utilize attending behaviors, reframed my statements and clarified my emotions in the process.

My question is:
Is it possible to not be a "psychologist" outside of therapy sessions?

The professor of my UG "Psychopathology" class stated that going to a party full of psychologists is awfully boring, as everyone is overly "reserved" & "self-conscious". Additionally, I now find that friends in other fields seek "therapeutic" advice. Most irritating, non-psychology folks tend to become appalled if you dare to take off your "helper" hat & express "colorful" sentiments. I am beginning to realize why a childhood friend, whose parents are psychologists, always jokingly said he would never become a psychologist. "He wouldn't do that to his kids."

C
I laughed a little at this one. Look there tends to be reasons why people are attracted to psychology, a lot of it has to do with how they behave in their day to day life. It almost seems an inevitability that at some point you will "analyze" your friend. Other fields are no different, philosophers see people in terms of ethics, morals, logic etc, physicists think of people in terms of subatomic interactions, chemists in terms of enzymatic reactions, and so forth, its just who we are and why we do what we want to!

I actually think there is little wrong in (to a limit) applying what you learn from your practice as a psychologist to your real life, I mean after all the people you see in therapy are just further progressed versions of ourselves, where people get in trouble is when they take it too far.

I agree a room full of psychologists would be boring if they were all clinical of the same orientation, however throw in some animal behaviorists, some psychodynamics, some existentialists, and some mathematicians and now you got yourself a party.

I also think having friends that are challenging intellectually but not psychology-based (i.e., math grad student, philosophy etc) is ideal.

Its a matter of being mindful of your own behavior, assuming you stay mindful then you would be fine.

Oh and tell your friends to bugger off! No kidding but seriously tell them that because they are your friends you want to be their friend and not there therapist.
 

FadedC

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Hmm....well some people have touched on this but to a large extent it may be less that being a psychologist makes you want to analyze people in daily life, and more that wanting to analyze people in daily life makes you want to be a psychologist.

I don't think people in daily life really expect you to analyze things or get upset when your colorful and non scientific though. I think most of the time when they talk about you analyzing them, they are only joking or making conversation. They might expect you to be more insightful then the average person, but that's not such a bad thing. But I've noticed a lot of these people on these boards seem to be oddly sensative to pretty innocent comments that people make as part of small talk.

Finally regarding a gathering of psychologists, I think it depends on the nature of the gathering. If you have a bunch of psychology students partying then I doubt it will be boring. If you have a bunch of professionals in an environment where they are concerned about their professional image, then it might be pretty conservative. But that's true in any field.
 

phillydave

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Hmm....well some people have touched on this but to a large extent it may be less that being a psychologist makes you want to analyze people in daily life, and more that wanting to analyze people in daily life makes you want to be a psychologist.
Yes yes yes.

Rewording that to describe myself would go something like - having an obsession with human behavior has led me to this profession.
 
Jan 28, 2010
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+1 to previous comments above. I think a lot of us are already the analytical types before we even get into psychology programs; in fact, for many of us, it's because we're the 'good listener, therapist'-types that we get into the field in the first place.

My childhood friends, most of whom I've lost touch with, seemed to come to me for advice more when I became a psyc major in undergrad and now that I've finished up my masters. Because we are students in the field, it could feel like we're expected to know all things psyc related (which we don't, but we do know more than the lay person). Ask your med school friends if the number of times people asked them about medical problems increased when they started their med school program. People are more comfortable asking someone they know for help or with tips on how to approach an issue. And if they're friends from childhood who always took you for the good listener type, they're already used to coming to you. Now they just automatically do so b/c you've got the title.

My good friends know that I'm their friend first and NEVER their therapist. I see them come to me for advice as a friend seeking guidance from another. We seem to look out for those moments because we're in the field. I wouldn't be surprise that we get asked for advice by friends no more than the average person does, yet we notice it more because we're psychologists (or soon to be). As you get further along in your training, you get better at determining whether your friends need professional guidance. If that's the case, let them know that their problems need guidance from a professional not named you. As a friend, that's the best advice you can give someone. So always remember to be a good friend. (cheesy, I know).

About the psychologist party. I'm always going to remember what a professor once told me - "Here's a way to kill a conversation: tell someone you're a suicidologist." He's actually a really fun guy at a party and an amazing suicidologist. :)
 

PsychPhDStudent

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Hahaha -- a party with mathematicians? Doesn't sound like a party to me! ;)

Okay, getting more serious. I think we tend to be more intuitive and analytical than most, but I can definitely turn off my "psychologist" hat with my friends. If I do think of something more up the psychology alley that may be helpful, I usually ask permission before offering input. My bigger problem is with dating...deciding whether I want to date someone who early on discloses they are struggling/have struggled with depression/anxiety/etc. On one hand, I don't want to stigmatize them or be judgmental. On the other hand, I see it/research it/assess it all day long, and I don't know if I can handle someone with an active or recently active problem as my significant other.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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The only time it really comes up is if I am out with friends/new people, and the topic of profession is brought up. Typically I don't mention "psychology", I usually say researcher or lecturer, as those descriptors are slightly less loaded terms. If I do mention something about psych, I tend to add my areas of focus (neuro and rehab) as they sound much less therapy related. I've been cornered before by people who wanted therapy right on the bar stool, though that was mostly my friends having fun with me.

I get hit-up for "advice" all of the time, and while my friends are usually pretty good about it, I just remind them of the boundaries and usually redirect to something else. The other thing I do is reframe, and if I do say something I don't "put on my shrink hat", but instead provide feedback as a friend.

I think it is somewhat easier for me now because I don't do much therapy (by choice), so that "hat" is more deliberately worn at set times. It felt more challenging when I was doing practica and completing 12-15+hr of therapy a week, because I was primed to think like that. I was still immersed in the learning and craft, and it was harder to leave the "hat" at home. Now I don't think much about it, which I credit both experience and exposure.

The other day my friend hit me up, and I pushed back a bit because she was insistant on asking my professional opinion, so I had to set the boundary because of ethical considerations. It has been helpful because I don't hit my attorney friends up any more for advice. I wouldn't do it in an official capacity, but I've been working on some business plans, and a couple happen to work in areas that are related. Live and learn.
 
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The professor of my UG "Psychopathology" class stated that going to a party full of psychologists is awfully boring, as everyone is overly "reserved" & "self-conscious".

I agree with FadedC. It depends on the nature of the gathering.

But, I know a lot of psychologists who can party with the best of them.

It's about being a well-rounded individual. If you're one dimensional and only talk about psychology, you're probably going to be a bore at parties.
 
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If I hear one more "uh oh! I better watch what I say since you're analyzing me" comment.... UGH! I typically repsond with, "well, I'm specializing in working with children. "Well, I act like a child sometimes." Maybe I should say abused children then?

My mom asked me for advice (based on my schooling) and I responded with "the answer is within you, young jedi" and left it at that. I really wish I would have told her what my real opinion on the situation was.

I've noticed that I analyze the people close to me. Like my parents/significant others. I just try to figure out WHY WHY WHY do they do those mean things? Or people that I know who had great childhoods but are alchoholics. I just have this need to know the whys of things.

Someone close to me is a recovering alcoholic. So when I cool down and stop being pissed off about the new "incident" I sit down and do "therapy". Instead of me saying, "well, this is what YOU will do" I say, "how do you feel?" "What changes would you like to make?" "What steps can you take, since you don't want to go cold turkey?" Etc. etc. (He decided to have 3 beers a week, and not drink at night.)
 
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my favorite is when I'm out at a bar, meet someone that smokes, and I tell them I do smoking cessation research. First question: "you're going to tell me to stop smoking right?" Followed by, "Do you not like people that smoke?"

Depending on my mood and I guess how late into the night it is (i.e. if I've had too much to drink), sarcasm is the response of choice. I get weird looks when I ask them for a cigarette or try to be funny by walking away saying it was nice to meet them but I'm allergic to smoke. You need to have a sense of humor after a while.

In all seriousness though, I tend to run into smokers and friends of smokers, and being knowledgeable about cessation methods, it's hard not to give information. People tend to ask questions about what works and what doesn't. Ask Advise Refer. Give them the information about where to get started and accept the fact that questions like 'what do you do for a living' are always followed by the same questions.
 
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I was talking to a professor about this the other day. She said that I might find that actually being a therapist will actually give me a break from "playing therapist" in friendships/other relationships because (1) I will have a better sense of professional boundaries and (2) I will be a therapisty +/- 40 hours a week so I will have my fill of it.

To the "you aren't analyzing me are you?" (she is psychodynamic in orientation) questions she claims to say the following:

You're really not that interesting
-or-
My services are worth more than you're currently paying me

(Needless to say, she's feisty!)
 
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Girlfriend's father: "did you see the article about head injuries in the NFL"?
Me: "yeah, and its really interesting because...TBI...cribiform plate...axon shearing...pugilistic dementia..."
Girlfriend's father: "Sounds serious - the weather is clearing up"
Ahahahahah! This is absolutely the story of my life!
 

Occlumentia

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What if a friend/family member was seriously distressed? Would you breach that boundary and put the "therapist hat" on? What if something was causing them chronic anxiety that they didn't know how to deal with, for example?

I find it hard not to think about certain traits present in my family, although I do so in private and don't often share these thoughts. With friends I'm much more openly empathetic than I imagine I would ever be with patients, and also give my opinion and occasionally advice (which, again, is most likely not something I would do when conducting therapy).
 

AcronymAllergy

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What if a friend/family member was seriously distressed? Would you breach that boundary and put the "therapist hat" on? What if something was causing them chronic anxiety that they didn't know how to deal with, for example?

I find it hard not to think about certain traits present in my family, although I do so in private and don't often share these thoughts. With friends I'm much more openly empathetic than I imagine I would ever be with patients, and also give my opinion and occasionally advice (which, again, is most likely not something I would do when conducting therapy).
Personally, I'd recommend that they see someone if I were starting to notice any signs of significant distress. However, I would not attempt to conduct any therapy with them myself, other than possibly drumming up some motivation to get them to schedule an appointment. And even in that respect, I'd approach it more as a friend than a mental health professional.

Those kinds of dual-role relationships just don't end well.
 

zenman

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The other day my friend hit me up, and I pushed back a bit because she was insistant on asking my professional opinion, so I had to set the boundary because of ethical considerations. It has been helpful because I don't hit my attorney friends up any more for advice. I wouldn't do it in an official capacity, but I've been working on some business plans, and a couple happen to work in areas that are related. Live and learn.
Did you hear about the doctor who was complaining to an attorney at a party about getting calls from his patients after hours? The attorney said he always sent a bill to people who asked for professional advice outside the office and that usually took care of the problem. Next day, the doctor had a bill waiting in his mailbox.:laugh:
 

cara susanna

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What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny.
 

futureapppsy2

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What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny.
Try owning a Great Dane--apparently, EVERYONE thinks that "do you have a saddle for that thing?" is fresh and original commentary. :rolleyes:

There have been a handful of distinct times where I've been talking to faculty, and suddenly become *very* aware--due to the way in which they've said some (fairly inconspicuous) thing--that they are trained clinical/counseling psychologists. It's a tad creepy, actually.
 

Buzzwordsoldier

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What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny.
That reminds me of my own favorite comeback -- laugh a little but then keep it rolling into and past the uncomfortable phase. It can be any sort of laugh...then stare.

:smuggrin:

Giving 'em a friendly, "just kidding," afterwards is totally optional.
 

Markp

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What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny.

Standard response: "Not unless you're planning on paying me for it."

Mark
 
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Standard response: "Not unless you're planning on paying me for it."

Mark
That's fantastic. Do you know of any snarky one-liner response to people's statements/attitudes such as, "Oh, you're a psychologist, you must be able to read my mind"?

I've come across an unexpected number of people who confuse "psychologist" with "psychic." Education fail :thumbdown:
 

Markp

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That's fantastic. Do you know of any snarky one-liner response to people's statements/attitudes such as, "Oh, you're a psychologist, you must be able to read my mind"?

I've come across an unexpected number of people who confuse "psychologist" with "psychic." Education fail :thumbdown:
Yes, but it was a short and disappointing read.

Yes, I can. No, I don't want to repeat it.

It was a blank sheet... perfect and simple at the same time.

No one can read that, it's too much of a mess in there.

Yes, but I fell asleep halfway through it.

Mark
 

PsychPhDStudent

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That's fantastic. Do you know of any snarky one-liner response to people's statements/attitudes such as, "Oh, you're a psychologist, you must be able to read my mind"?

I've come across an unexpected number of people who confuse "psychologist" with "psychic." Education fail :thumbdown:
"Hey, do me a favor...stop undressing me for once!"
 
Feb 18, 2010
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Try owning a Great Dane--apparently, EVERYONE thinks that "do you have a saddle for that thing?" is fresh and original commentary. :rolleyes:
:laugh:

"started to utilize attending behaviors, reframed my statements." I've worked with a person who does this ALL the time. It's somewhat annoying, and although I know he means well, it is patronizing.
 

Aura5

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(From FadedC) "Hmm....well some people have touched on this but to a large extent it may be less that being a psychologist makes you want to analyze people in daily life, and more that wanting to analyze people in daily life makes you want to be a psychologist."

^Yes yes yes.

Rewording that to describe myself would go something like - having an obsession with human behavior has led me to this profession.

Add me to the list of people who echos this sentiment wholeheartedly! That IS a big reason why I want to be a psychologist. Not the entire reason, but a big reason since I spend half my doing it anyway.
 

loveoforganic

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There have been a handful of distinct times where I've been talking to faculty, and suddenly become *very* aware--due to the way in which they've said some (fairly inconspicuous) thing--that they are trained clinical/counseling psychologists. It's a tad creepy, actually.
:laugh: Early into getting a research position with my current PI, I'm pretty confident I picked up on him discretely probing with a "normal" question that just wasn't worded quite normally. Maybe I read too much into it though :p
 

Shatani

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Hi All

I was recently talking to a former mentor about my decisions for graduate school. I felt like this wonderful person, with the best of intentions, started to utilize attending behaviors, reframed my statements and clarified my emotions in the process.

My question is:
Is it possible to not be a "psychologist" outside of therapy sessions?

The professor of my UG "Psychopathology" class stated that going to a party full of psychologists is awfully boring, as everyone is overly "reserved" & "self-conscious". Additionally, I now find that friends in other fields seek "therapeutic" advice. Most irritating, non-psychology folks tend to become appalled if you dare to take off your "helper" hat & express "colorful" sentiments. I am beginning to realize why a childhood friend, whose parents are psychologists, always jokingly said he would never become a psychologist. "He wouldn't do that to his kids."

C
i dont think its possible to turn off an analytical type thought process, but its certainly possible to not "be the therapist" in your regular life. i do it all the time. i may think "serious oedipal issues" when talking to a guy, but thats usually just a fleeting thought :D

what i find annoying is that ever since i got into this field, little things that ive always said in a joking manner, people now want to take seriously! i mean, ive been using the phrase "you have issues" since like 8th grade....its akin to Martin Lawrence saying "you so crazy!" but all of a sudden, the same people ive always said that to are now looking at me like, "what do you mean??!? :(" and im like come on! you have issues, is not a diagnosis, get over it!

but regardless, i dont let my day job impede my ability to speak my mind cuz although i am a therapist, first and foremost i am a person. a foul-mouthed person at that. :laugh:
 

Shatani

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Hahaha -- a party with mathematicians? Doesn't sound like a party to me! ;)

Okay, getting more serious. I think we tend to be more intuitive and analytical than most, but I can definitely turn off my "psychologist" hat with my friends. If I do think of something more up the psychology alley that may be helpful, I usually ask permission before offering input. My bigger problem is with dating...deciding whether I want to date someone who early on discloses they are struggling/have struggled with depression/anxiety/etc. On one hand, I don't want to stigmatize them or be judgmental. On the other hand, I see it/research it/assess it all day long, and I don't know if I can handle someone with an active or recently active problem as my significant other.
its funny, my friends have DRAG advice outta me....i am not a fan of giving advice at all.
 

Shatani

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I was talking to a professor about this the other day. She said that I might find that actually being a therapist will actually give me a break from "playing therapist" in friendships/other relationships because (1) I will have a better sense of professional boundaries and (2) I will be a therapisty +/- 40 hours a week so I will have my fill of it.

To the "you aren't analyzing me are you?" (she is psychodynamic in orientation) questions she claims to say the following:

You're really not that interesting
-or-
My services are worth more than you're currently paying me

(Needless to say, she's feisty!)
those sound like my responses! i usually say, "you couldnt afford me." and "im off the clock." or if im annoyed, "in order to analyze you i would have to actually be thinking about you."
 

Shatani

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That's fantastic. Do you know of any snarky one-liner response to people's statements/attitudes such as, "Oh, you're a psychologist, you must be able to read my mind"?

I've come across an unexpected number of people who confuse "psychologist" with "psychic." Education fail :thumbdown:
i think if you just said "education FAIL" or "ignorance for the win!" and walk away, that might work! lol
 
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"What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny. "
SO TRUE cara susanna

A lot of you have been saying that you very rarely/almost never give advice...I don't know, it's different for me. A lot of my friends who have a slight issue now and then would never go to a psychologist and thus rely on friends to help them out with a quandary. Isn't that what friends are for? Don't you expect the same out of your friends? Maybe its different when you become a licensed clinical psychologist, but for now, if I refused to give my close friends advice, it would be a problem for them.

That said, I know there is a difference between advice and therapy, the latter of which I would never do, since I am not qualified to do so. And when/if I become a clinical psychologist, I know it'll be the same as well.

Thoughts?
 

Shatani

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"What gets me is that people think the "Are you analyzing me!?" question is so fresh and funny. "
SO TRUE cara susanna

A lot of you have been saying that you very rarely/almost never give advice...I don't know, it's different for me. A lot of my friends who have a slight issue now and then would never go to a psychologist and thus rely on friends to help them out with a quandary. Isn't that what friends are for? Don't you expect the same out of your friends? Maybe its different when you become a licensed clinical psychologist, but for now, if I refused to give my close friends advice, it would be a problem for them.

That said, I know there is a difference between advice and therapy, the latter of which I would never do, since I am not qualified to do so. And when/if I become a clinical psychologist, I know it'll be the same as well.

Thoughts?
i generally hate advice because the reality is, people know what they want to do already! lol...i dont give advice cuz i honestly dont think people want it. and most of my friends dont ask for advice....we talk about lots of things all the time, but its never like, "im having this problem what should i do?" i have a reframing habit, though! when my friends are being ridiculous about something, ive been known to bust out a "so, what youre telling me right now is...."
 

Aura5

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I think some people do want advice. If they trust you/value your opinion and are maybe looking for some guidance. But not everyone, and not all the time even for those who do. I know I get annoyed with advice sometimes since it seems like someone's trying to fix something without just listening which is what I want.

But I have experienced people who actually want advice, or will put something out there hoping for a response (even if at other times, get annoyed at advice).

Good ol' people and their contradictions!
 
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This question might sound silly, but I'm considering all different avenues a PsyD can take in his/her career. If you have a PsyD do you necessarily have to be a "therapist". If not, what are other options? I applied to PsyD programs because i'm interested in practicing Psychology (as opposed to applying to PhD programs and focusing mainly on research) but I'm coming to realize that I don't necessarily want to practice as a therapist in my early career. Have I made a mistake in applying to PsyD programs? After all this work of applying and actually getting in, I'm having serious doubts about this path now which feels strange to me because I was so sure of myself going into the application process. Thoughts?
 

psychmama

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This question might sound silly, but I'm considering all different avenues a PsyD can take in his/her career. If you have a PsyD do you necessarily have to be a "therapist". If not, what are other options? I applied to PsyD programs because i'm interested in practicing Psychology (as opposed to applying to PhD programs and focusing mainly on research) but I'm coming to realize that I don't necessarily want to practice as a therapist in my early career. Have I made a mistake in applying to PsyD programs? After all this work of applying and actually getting in, I'm having serious doubts about this path now which feels strange to me because I was so sure of myself going into the application process. Thoughts?
I'm finishing up a psyD program, and I can tell you that there are plenty of PsyDs who concentrate on something other than therapy. I know some who primarily do assessments, and I have a few PsyD contacts who focus more on consulting to organizations. I know one PsyD who does training and psychoeducation-type stuff. Then there are PsyDs who move into administrative positions in various agencies, hospitals, schools, etc. Lastly, there are a few from my PsyD program who teach and/or do research as their main gig -- less common than in PhD programs, but definitely possible depending on your interests, and the type of research/ training you pursue while in grad school. :)

Also, you may just be experiencing "cold feet". It's difficult to know how you'll feel about practicing therapy until you've had a few semesters of experience with it. You may find you do like it after all -- if not there are certainly other options. In fact, I think psychologists are well-suited to many non-therapy positions because our training is quite extensive and broad.
 
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Shatani

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I'm finishing up a psyD program, and I can tell you that there are plenty of PsyDs who concentrate on something other than therapy. I know some who primarily do assessments, and I have a few PsyD contacts who focus more on consulting to organizations. I know one PsyD who does training and psychoeducation-type stuff. Then there are PsyDs who move into administrative positions in various agencies, hospitals, schools, etc. Lastly, there are a few from my PsyD program who teach and/or do research as their main gig -- less common than in PhD programs, but definitely possible depending on your interests, and the type of research/ training you pursue while in grad school. :)

Also, you may just be experiencing "cold feet". It's difficult to know how you'll feel about practicing therapy until you've had a few semesters of experience with it. You may find you do like it after all -- if not there are certainly other options. In fact, I think psychologists are well-suited to many non-therapy positions because our training is quite extensive and broad.
plus understanding people and knowing how to deal with them benefits you in ANY field.