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Who or What made you want to pursue a career path in Psychology?

Being in the mental health field seems like a very fulfilling yet intimidating career to follow through with, I've always been very passionate about helping others and would like to know others' viewpoints or reasons.

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Cristina’s Answer

I have a BA in psychology. I felt drawn to the domain because I was very curious and fascinated to learn about human development and how to help others and myself. After I finished my BA I wanted to become a therapist. However, that was not possible back then for me because of the high costs and more time needed to study . Looking back, I am happy that I have decided to move to the corporate field. After my BA, I studied Human Resources as a MA an I have chosen to become a recruiter which has been a very rewarding and fulfilling profession for me. Lately, I have opened myself to the idea of pursuing another coaching and counselling diploma so I can use my corporate experience to help others to grow and become better at what they are doing in their personal or professional life. Choosing a degree a psychology has opened many doors to me and has helped me to become more aware of my growth as an individual and as a professional.

Best of luck,
Cristina
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Michael’s Answer

I actually got into the field by accident and on purpose! I had been experiencing some mental health concerns of my own for many years! I went to a program and found that as smart as I thought I was, I really wasn’t! As much as I thought I knew I found that that was not the case! In talking about my problems, i found that the person to whom I was talking had little to no compassion empathy professionalism or tact! A statement the person made, made me question their ability to be effective at this point in their career! The person told me if I did not like his methods, the only way to change them is to get on the inside of said profession. Inside I got and after twenty years, I was known as the best clinician in the field of addiction and mental health in my arena.
Be sure you are in total control of your own worldview, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams and the rest is elementary! There is no better experience than seeing others grow from your guidance! Never push and never enable! Guide and direct is all most people need to self correct. Best wishes in your future endeavors.
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Eric’s Answer

Greetings Earthling !!
Hi I too had a similar epiphany. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but who is. Psychology and healing went together for me.
I became a Registered Nurse first then went into obtain my Master's in Mental health Vocational rehabilitation and Addictions Counselor Degrees. Which means I spent my whole time learning who I was and mostly who I wasn't. I also had certain ideas but from a total different perspective. I am a Black man who had to actually swallow a lot of pride but that's not new. The journey took me actually back to God.
Because He is the ultimate Counselor,
and for some reason we as humans are found lacking and always wanting but ever afraid to challenge of what we believe.
So the real question what do you believe in how to approach some one who has had heart break, death, celebrations, and shared Joy.
Things are always in a flux, I care about people and what they go through. Having an understanding heart is the best qualifier but as they say able to detach. It is a balance into someone private life and should be treated as such instead of a number or just a paycheck.
It's a wearisome job internally it will make you question yourself frequently. That's why I posed the faith question with out God there is little understanding especially for compassion. Not one size fits all Gestalt, Neo Freudian, but it depends on what you may think of or create a better way.
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David’s Answer

Hi Alexander -- Definitely "passion" is a very important ingredient. I think it's very difficult to figure out at the beginning of your work life which direction to take, and where you want to end up. But the "guiding light" should be what you seem to be naturally or genuinely interested in. So if you're pretty clear you'd really like to be able to help other people, a career path in psychology is one way to do that. However, it turns out in the field of mental health, there are a number of career paths that will get you to a place where you can help people. So there are two main things I would recommend you focus on at this time: (1) Continue to refine you focus with regard to what kinds of people you would like to help, because there are a lot of different opportunities. For example, children, youth, adults, etc. Boys or girls, men or women, families, couples, etc. Students, incarcerated people, foster kids, people who have had traumatic experiences, and so on. You probably have some idea which of these groups, or others I didn't think of, would be of particular interest to. (2) Psychology is one of several mental health professions that involve helping people. My career took place in a "multidisciplinary" child and family community mental health clinic. That means the staff people who worked directly with children and teens and their parents / guardians included psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and child / adolescent psychiatrists. Each of these professions added something distinctive and important to the mix. The psychologists, for example did school, learning, and psychological testing and report writing, targeted behavioral interventions, and worked on some in-house research projects. Also, each profession has different education, training, and credentialing requirements. Psychologists usually need a Ph.D. (or Psy.D.) which takes quite a few graduate school years to obtain; psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D.'s) who specialize in psychiatry. Social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists usually can begin working with a master's degree (two years post BA). Please see the below suggestions.

David recommends the following next steps:

Make up a table to compare all the professions you can find that would lead to a career in providing mental health services. Compare them on degree requirements (BA, Masters, doctorate, MD, etc.), years of study, tuition costs, range of work settings, etc.
Seek out career counseling at your current school or at a local community college. This can include some aptitude testing if you want, and help with sorting and prioritizing career pathway choices. (Actually, becoming a career / guidance counselor in high school or at community college is yet another way to help people.)
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