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  1. #1
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Default Anyone pursuing psych graduate or post graduate education/career?

    I have been kicking around going back to school for psychology. I am not as interested in clinical application, but more in research, although I kind-of like the thought of marriage counseling, or parenting education.

    I would so appreciate any input or feedback or even the tiniest tidbit of information you can give me if you know anything about this field.

    Regards,

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  2. #2
    Senior Member eagleseven's Avatar
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    A close friend of mine is about to start a masters program in the field. I don't know the details of the academics, but I have researched the economic feasibility of your options.

    Clinical psychology offers the greatest opportunity for a healthy lifestyle, research is more modest but feasible, while counseling will barely keep you out of poverty.

    My friend wants to study counseling, but she realizes that she will not be able to support a family well without an additional degree.

  3. #3
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    I have been kicking around going back to school for psychology. I am not as interested in clinical application, but more in research, although I kind-of like the thought of marriage counseling, or parenting education.

    I would so appreciate any input or feedback or even the tiniest tidbit of information you can give me if you know anything about this field.

    Regards,

    Aphrodite
    I'm starting a PhD program in a few months. I've technically earned an undergrad degree in psychology, but I'm not claiming my psych degree, and here's why I abandoned it.

    Psychology, in terms of it being theory of mind, is fascinating. The most fascinating thing. Hands down. However, the day-to-day study of it sucks. Psychology as an academic field is trying to gain respect because everyone sees it as a watered-down science. Because science is so powerfully respected, instead of the field of psychology doing what it does best on its own terms with some science where it's useful, psychology keeps deferring to science as the only authority figure worth attending to. Thus their journals are dry and methodological. (And I'm speaking as a lover of biochemistry who started out earning a chemistry degree. I'm a bit of a knowledge-whore ) Basically, psychology makes the thing that most fascinates me in the world into a painfully dry and lifeless shell instead of a squirmy and life-filled gooey awesomeness that I try to gather together and grasp and hold blissfully.

    I'm not lying when I say I'd rather read biochemistry articles than psychology articles--with biochemistry the data is more secure and thus greater fodder for imagining possibilities. When you foreground the hard data of psychology more than it, IMO, rightfully should be (because so much of your data is likely socialized via gender/cultural norms or insulated to small sample sizes of Western, white, middle class 18yo psych students) you get a bunch of headache and disappointment.

    If you want, PM me and I'll email you some stereotypical examples of psychology journals, which are boring to read, full of statistics, and representative of what psychologists do with their lives: gather the cattle of first-year psychology students required to participate in tests, test them, and then do statistical analysis. Psychology journals are full of numbers and data. Which means graduate studies in psychology is pretty much numbers and data. Especially when you're a tenured prof's workhorse.

    If you get into an interpersonally rewarding field like clinical psych or counseling as you mention, then yeah, it's probably pretty great. But at least in Canada, the Clinical Psychology applicant-to-slot ratio is depressing. I'm talking worse than medical school, because there's fewer clinical psych programs than medical school programs--a trend I expect holds consistent across the 49th parallel. And take it from someone with many friends with perfect GPAs, a volunteer list a mile long, and a great MCAT score: when a field is oversaturated, the qualified applicants not getting in are going "what am I missing!" and are f*cking up their self-esteem and self-image. The truth is, they are missing nothing.

    This is pretty much why people advise against entering saturated fields in academia or elsewhere. There are a lot of really bright and otherwise mentally healthy individuals with suicidal thoughts or severe depression because they invested their everything and sacrificed their relationships and resources for something that is not reaping any sort of reward. When people asked my biopsych prof why he picked our university, he said "because there were 302 other applicants vying for 3 open spots across the country and they offered me the job." Ask yourself: do you want to live a life with an external locus of control? Where you do everything in your power and are unlikely to experience much of any rewards?

    I do know some loopholes or alternative paths that you might be interested in investigating, if you were still interested enough to PM.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
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  4. #4
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    I'm starting a PhD program in a few months. I've technically earned an undergrad degree in psychology, but I'm not claiming my psych degree, and here's why I abandoned it.

    Psychology, in terms of it being theory of mind, is fascinating. The most fascinating thing. Hands down. However, the day-to-day study of it sucks. Psychology as an academic field is trying to gain respect because everyone sees it as a watered-down science. Because science is so powerfully respected, instead of the field of psychology doing what it does best on its own terms with some science where it's useful, psychology keeps deferring to science as the only authority figure worth attending to. Thus their journals are dry and methodological. (And I'm speaking as a lover of biochemistry who started out earning a chemistry degree. I'm a bit of a knowledge-whore ) Basically, psychology makes the thing that most fascinates me in the world into a painfully dry and lifeless shell instead of a squirmy and life-filled gooey awesomeness that I try to gather together and grasp and hold blissfully.

    I'm not lying when I say I'd rather read biochemistry articles than psychology articles--with biochemistry the data is more secure and thus greater fodder for imagining possibilities. When you foreground the hard data of psychology more than it, IMO, rightfully should be (because so much of your data is likely socialized via gender/cultural norms or insulated to small sample sizes of Western, white, middle class 18yo psych students) you get a bunch of headache and disappointment.

    If you want, PM me and I'll email you some stereotypical examples of psychology journals, which are boring to read, full of statistics, and representative of what psychologists do with their lives: gather the cattle of first-year psychology students required to participate in tests, test them, and then do statistical analysis. Psychology journals are full of numbers and data. Which means graduate studies in psychology is pretty much numbers and data. Especially when you're a tenured prof's workhorse.

    If you get into an interpersonally rewarding field like clinical psych or counseling as you mention, then yeah, it's probably pretty great. But at least in Canada, the Clinical Psychology applicant-to-slot ratio is depressing. I'm talking worse than medical school, because there's fewer clinical psych programs than medical school programs--a trend I expect holds consistent across the 49th parallel. And take it from someone with many friends with perfect GPAs, a volunteer list a mile long, and a great MCAT score: when a field is oversaturated, the qualified applicants not getting in are going "what am I missing!" and are f*cking up their self-esteem and self-image. The truth is, they are missing nothing.

    This is pretty much why people advise against entering saturated fields in academia or elsewhere. There are a lot of really bright and otherwise mentally healthy individuals with suicidal thoughts or severe depression because they invested their everything and sacrificed their relationships and resources for something that is not reaping any sort of reward. When people asked my biopsych prof why he picked our university, he said "because there were 302 other applicants vying for 3 open spots across the country and they offered me the job." Ask yourself: do you want to live a life with an external locus of control? Where you do everything in your power and are unlikely to experience much of any rewards?

    I do know some loopholes or alternative paths that you might be interested in investigating, if you were still interested enough to PM.
    +1000% as someone who has taken uni psych and uni chem/bio

    They are so desperate to appear more like a "real science", that getting through even a chapter in a book is ridiculous! I am not exaggerating: every 3rd sentence in this mid-level psych class's text book had a fricking citation. My chem books would never dream of such things. They would cite the most captain obvious things too in the psych book: "Cancer and other stressful sicknesses have been shown to put strain a teenagers' relationships (citation, citation, citation)"... This then goes on and on and on! Its like the whole discipline has a major inferiority complex. Add this with how psychology still incorrectly applies lots of different statistics practices developed by Francis Galton (heritability studies are inherently built on flawed assumptions) to a lot of its conclusions (psychologists read more into genetics than a lot of the geneticists do!).

    So what you end up with in summary:
    1. A love affair with flawed statistics only rivaled by the eugenics movement of the early 20th century
    2. Some of the driest, most captain obvious social statements mixed in with watered down and cherry picked biology to support their conclusions
    3. A major inferiority complex

    I honestly think more actual psychological inquiry goes on in some philosophy classes/degrees.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Damn... I love you guys. =O

    I'm in the 1st Year at the moment, and it's insane how much they keep emphasising the fact that psychology is a science. That we follow the scientific method and reject all research that can't be empirically tested. We're told about how the cognitive approach in psychology was pushed down for ages because we follow the biological approach, that it just makes me think... well there's evidence of how limiting following hard approach can be. It really can suck the fun out of psychology, since they won't explore other fields.

    I want to study dreams; especially lucid dreaming. But I doubt I'll ever be able to carry out research on this considering the difficulty of looking into the matter empirically. Guess I'd be prefering some of the philosophical introspective approach, rather than saying NO. Introspection = Bad!!!!!!!!

    Anyhow I didn't add much here since you seem to be talking about graduate degrees. I am planning on going down the educational psychology path, my hopes haven't been crushed yet.

  6. #6
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    This is a painful thing to read... I believe Cleancutenfp said one time in ventrilo how he was just disgusted how arrogant his fellow med students were, like they were already doctors and talking down to the general population.

    This is a really sad concept. Trying to live up to the expectations of apples when you're an orange won't make anyone happy.. and many people like oranges just the way they are.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member eagleseven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    This is a painful thing to read... I believe Cleancutenfp said one time in ventrilo how he was just disgusted how arrogant his fellow med students were, like they were already doctors and talking down to the general population.
    They need practice so they can be proper assholes when they graduate.

    I'm convinced the application process for med school weeds out the people who care more about helping people than the money and prestige.

  8. #8
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Thanks, Guys. Very enlightening. Yeah, Userhername and Babylon, I think I really prefer more hardcore science, then letting that lap over into psychology, instead of going at it the other way.

    Do you know anything about neurodevelopmental psychology? Do you work with animal testing a lot in that field? My areas of interest are:

    -Ego and ego development
    -How early child rearing practices affect the mind/persona of a child/individual
    -Our genetics and personality

    To hit the highlights. So, when I've looked into it specifically, I came up with a few different psych areas: Psychodynamic (which is falling out of favor, tho I don't really care), developmental, and cognitive? not sure. I'm all over the map with it. So I guess what you're saying is that psychology is just in the grey area between hard science and philosophy and trying to make its mark in there.?
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    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


  9. #9
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    So I guess what you're saying is that psychology is just in the grey area between hard science and philosophy and trying to make its mark in there.?
    Well, no. That's what we're saying it should be. But in our experience, it's not. At all.

    Instead, like Babylon says, it tries to get science funding and credibility, and thus pretends to be a science over and beyond what it is, which results in some sketchy things (like taking genetic data more seriously than geneticists do, and using that information to fuel their research and conclusions).

    Their statistical data is gathered from too small and too homogeneous populations to gather "hard data"--yet psychologists foreground these numbers because they're playing the science game instead of accepting and affirming that psychology deals with the psyche, which is more philosophical and unanswerable than the field will admit.

    Not to mention the socialized norms that they "explore" and "account for," which is impossible to do because of the subject matter. So while the statistical research is valuable in its own right, it should not be the bottom line because there's too many things that will never be answerable because ultimately they're philosophical truths that ebb and flow and register different meanings in different times and places and worldviews, not Science Truths that can be anchored and stable across generations and views.

    Based off of my experience, Babylon's recommendation to explore philosophy if you want to enter into the academic conversation of psychology is not made in jest. I'm basically doing the same thing: I'm getting a PhD in what is technically "English," though I've only taken one 3 hr course in undergrad and hate literature (I'm not studying any literature in grad school). Basically, I'm studying neuropsych through another lens that is housed within an English department.

    Yeah, I've read a lot of bio/neuro/language research. If that's what you want, don't go via the psychology route. Go biochemistry or neurobiology or speech language development (bearing in mind Chomsky/Pinker/etc. that language is what separates humans from animals and thus is the core route to knowing our human condition), or enter into the humanities and philosophize neurological concepts and movements like me.
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    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    So I guess what you're saying is that psychology is just in the grey area between hard science and philosophy and trying to make its mark in there.?
    It's shifting more and more towards neuroscience; it doesn't really aim to answer philosophical questions specifically. Instead it appears to focus more on seeking the likehood of behaviour, and whether there is any significant relationship between several variables. But since behaviour is so broad... the experiments often end up having to examine one specific variable in order to try and establish a link. Which is also the reason psychology sometimes produces extremely 'obvious' research conclusions, giving psychology the impression that it's just 'common sense'.

    For example: One of my lecturer was looking at the relationship between belief in good luck and ambiguity seeking behaviour/avoidance behaviour. For most people, they'd conclude that it's obvious that people who believe they are lucky are more likely to have faith that things will turn out fine. Yet, the research is being conducted to establish a direct link specifically... even though it feels like there are plenty of other research journals that point towards similar conclusions. They're changing the variables slightly and doing research based off that. It's very zoomed in I suppose... but I imagine all research is like this perhaps.

    Behaviourist Approaches/Cognitive Approaches. Links can only be established if there is evidence. Mind you, my perspective is of an undergraduate... things might become more expansive further down in the education route?

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