Should I Pursue a Career in Psychology?

Should I Pursue a Career in Psychology?

Feb 22, 2015 | 12:00 pm

The Useful Tool

A study of psychology is as beneficial to your academic career as learning to articulate clearly on paper or demonstrating good math skills. Psychology principles are often incorporated into career choices, such as business administration, nursing, public relations and hospitality. Pursuing a psychology career however, usually means narrowing your general interest to a specialized field.

If psychology was a secondary interest, the choice isn’t too difficult. You may find during your business studies, you really enjoy psychology applications, and choose the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. You may find yourself designing and administering tests to measure the skills of potential employees, or you may focus on the interpersonal relationships in the workplace, such as the qualities of leadership, group dynamics, and the organizational development of the team.

If psychology was your primary field of study, choosing your psychology career might be a little more challenging. By your third year, you will be exposed to a number of theories based on existential psychology, evolutionary psychology, self-perception and social interactions. You will have completed course work in cognitive psychology, child development and psychology disorders. You will have learned to create a hypothesis and test it. Although you may have had a single focus when you first began taking psychology, such as forensics technology, you may find yourself changing your primary field of interest several times.

The Ring of Debate

One of the first things you learn when practicing your new psychology skills is that individuals don’t always respond in accordance to the text book settings. Responses are covered by biological and environmental conditions, cognitive abilities, degree of socialization and personality type. You learn to recognize these various influences, narrowing the individual first into groups, than into the unique characteristics that define the client.

You’ll discover that even among professional psychologists there is much debate concerning the treatment for abnormal behaviors. There are psychologists who believe there is a medical base for every psychological disorder, prescribing to whole body, whole health techniques, and psychologists who adhere strictly to the nature/nurture principle, stating that behaviors are derived from their natural surroundings and degree of nurturing. Some psychologists explore conditioning and reinforcement techniques, while others take a humanist approach.

When you choose your psychology career, you’ll find that many organizations choose their psychology staff according to the degree of compliance the intern has in their approach to psychology disorders. Treatment centers may have strict rules regarding the touching, dietary intake, and degree of intimacy allowed with clients. Other organizations may search for sympathetic psychologists who are willing to pursue changes in law to more adequately protect their clients. Your choice for a psychology career will be guided by your own ethical considerations.

What to Expect with a Psychology Career

Psychology isn’t a rosy profession. It places you in direct contact with unhappy people and your primary objective is to show you care. You’ll be faced with numerous ethical and moral dilemmas, some as a result of work place policies, some you wrestle for an objective viewpoint, and some by the circumstances of the client. If you choose a psychology career in the social services, you may be confronted by crime victims, abusive cycles, childhood failure to thrive and other emotionally draining situations. As a school psychologist, you will have glimpses into the child’s private life and may have to occasionally make decisions concerning the child’s mental well-being that could even mean filing a police report and having the child removed from the home.

Psychologists do not try to carry the entire burden of their mental health care therapy on their own shoulders. All psychologists have another psychologist they can turn to as a mentor for discussing their own feelings, exploring their own thoughts and relieving stress. Psychology is a supportive network that helps you maintain your perspective and resume your pursuits of the qualities that comprise a healthy mind.