Psychology is the study of the mental functions of people, their emotions, their reasoning, and how all of these things influence and impact their behaviour and thinking patterns. It can be taxing and time-consuming to delve into the self-awareness, financial commitment and sacrifices to partake in advance studies in psychology. So, why do it?
- Why does a person become a doctor? Perhaps to help others?
- Why does another become a lawyer? To be involved in social justice and make a difference?
- Why does someone else become a teacher? To inspire and nurture future generations? Like anything, the answer is subjective and multidimensional.
In psychology, I feel the answer is as subjective and multidimensional as it is possible to be. The concept of the ‘wounded healer’ suggests that difficulties, tragedies, and turmoils an individual has faced in their past, leads them to want to help others in a way that did, or would have, helped them at that time. For some though, perhaps the answer lies else where, perhaps a person follows in a family members footsteps, or admires a famous or inspirational psychological figure. For me, my mother’s background in psychology and my own past challenges have led me to pursue psychology as not only my career but my passion.
My advice to anyone considering a career in psychology is to first ask why they want to go into it. The commitment is extensive, an undergraduate degree in psychology will only get you so far. To pursue further career opportunities in the field then masters and doctorate study programmes have to be considered. These study ventures require commitment, sacrifice and effort. However, if seeking to help others, to make a difference to both individuals and larger populations, if you have a vested interest in social justice, mental health or the positive development of young people, then pursuing a career in psychology may just be the best bet.
Speaking as a counselling psychologist in training, I have undergone some of the sacrifice and commitment required (with quite a bit still to go). What I can say is that both, academically, professionally and perhaps most importantly personally, I have seen positive changes and developments in my life. It is a field of work and study full of possibilities, opportunities and chances to advance into numerous fields. Working in clinical settings in the NHS or private hospitals, working in therapeutic settings with individuals and groups, working in prisons helping prisons and assisting the issue of re-offending and working in schools with the mental and emotional well-being of young people are all options available to those going into psychology. The opportunities are there and with the developing awareness of the impact of mental health issues, psychologists are needed now more than ever.
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