3 answers

Why did you pick your field of psychological study?

Asked Chicago, Illinois

I recently took a class on different types of psychotherapy and it had me wondering why people decide on what psychological path is best for them. #doctor #psychology #therapy #clinical-psychology

3 answers

Linda Ann’s Answer

Updated

Your question is a good one as there are over 4 dozens specialties in the discipline of psychology. Learning what you are good at doing AND what really excites you (curious, passionate) are the two, key ingredients for honing in on a psychology specialty.

I pursued a doctorate in quantitative methods in psychology, with an emphasis on assessment. I was always fascinated by the predictive ability of many psychological tests (especially vocational interest inventories which I took as a high school student; it recommended that I pursue either psychology or mathematics). When I learned more about the field of psychology as an undergraduate and how important mathematics was to the creation of assessment devices I decided to go into this specialty. I was always very good at mathematics and loved it...so I combined both passions in my doctorate.

I specialized in "personnel psychology" as an I/O psychologist for the better part of my career - 23 years. I discovered later in my career that I loved teaching, as I was doing a lot of training and 1-on-1 coaching. I was blessed to find a full-time faculty position at a small, private university at the age of 53 and taught full time for 10 years. I am now retired and do a little bit of human resources consulting and continue to teach part-time - one course per semester - at a community college.

Scott D.’s Answer

Updated Gainesville, Virginia

I wanted to go into clinical practice. Psychologists get paid more than social workers and counselors. I found that I didn't like it as a full time career so I now only use it part time. It does open a lot of doors that would otherwise be closed in other fields.

Dr. Ray’s Answer

Updated Fort Worth, Texas

Dear Margaret,

I started out in college as a physics major but soon discovered it was not for me. A friend recommended an introductory psychology class and by the end of the course I had decided this is what I wanted to do. I was attracted by the idea that you could study people scientifically. I was also interested in helping people which led me to the clinical field.

Good luck with your career plans.

Ray Finn, Ph.D.