Hello everyone. I've found myself wondering what sustains us in each subfield of psychology. What do you find fulfilling about your role? Your work? What drew you to that field? What meaning do you draw from it?
As you noted this is going to vary based on setting/specialty. In terms of my clinical work, I work on an acute psychiatric unit and provide brief short term solution-focused intervention. We don't do miracles. That's not real. But we do see small incremental change at times, and those changes are really something to behold. In terms of my forensic practice, I absolutely get off on the detective aspect of performing forensic evaluations of any form. Reviewing records, interviewing collaterals, synthesizing all of the relevant data into a meaningful whole is something that legit gives me a dopaminergic rush. Since I went out on my own, the pay has been, well....a positive reinforcement as well lol.
1) Psychology is kind of a sweet spot between responsibility and expertise. I don't have a call schedule. Yet the demand for my services are high.
2) In the best of times, I am paid to pour over academic subjects I find interesting.
3) While neuropsych is generally focused upon illnesses that have horrific prognoses, there remain times where I can help people. Maybe that's an elderly lady who wants to hold my hand when I discuss her future needs in a family session even though her adults kids are right there. Maybe that's a patient who trusts me so much that he recognizes my eyes when he is awakened during neurosurgery. Maybe that’s in just listening to someone who committed crimes so horrific, that no one wants to see the remorseful person underneath.
4) Sometimes the honest ones teach me things about being a decent human being. I've learned a lot from adults with severe TBIs. Maybe that means I'm reminded that even if your cognitive abilities are on the floor, you're still capable of knowing when someone is being mean. Or how being a friend is both simple and complex. Or when older patients give me unsolicited life advice.
5) Outside of the meaningful, sensitive, not fully dead inside stuff.... it's not a bad way to make a living. At the heart of it, you're paid to talk to people. That’s the profession. You walk into a room, and have a conversation. If I can get paid for talking to people... cool.
6) Specific to me, there is incredible personal freedom in the career path. (Don't try to replicate. I have no idea what I am doing. Seriously). Being self employed in the profession shifts all the responsibility to me. There is no one else to rely upon, or blame. But I can also choose to try to apply my trade in a lot of different areas.
7) Every few years, I get complacent. I start to run out of things to learn about on my own. Occasionally I get self assured. Then I run into someone who is ridiculously better than me in whatever area. Then it's off to the races again. Maybe that's a subject area. Maybe that's how to do business. Maybe that's in how to interact with people. Maybe it’s doing rounds with a medical specialty that I didn’t ever think of. It's a fascinating way to work.
8) There is a balance between seeing where people are, and where they could be. And balancing expectations thereof. Maybe that's a comment on other professionals, maybe it's a comment on patients, maybe it's a comment about the self.
9) Most things are very very simple. Occasionally, there is a complex matter.
10) Patients/litigants/defendants/claimants teach me all sorts of unique things. I find it fun to learn about that stuff. I’ve been taught about different professions, different types of music and art, cooking, sex, cultures, political stuff, and even parts of popular media that I have no interest in.