How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

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TopHatFox
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How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by TopHatFox » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:51 pm

I’ve been thinking over the past 2 years that I really enjoy being a counselor, and could definitely see myself being either a psychology researcher or therapist.

In order to practice in the field, I need at least a Masters in Counseling Psychology. The major hurdle is that I got a BA in *Geology* at a good school for undergrad, and only took like one or two psych classes. I have been a peer counselor, camp counselor, and residential counselor though. And completed sociology research over a summer.

Trying to figure out whether not having majored in psych puts me at a severe disadvantage to psych phd programs or even psych masters programs. I doubt I’d be able to get into a really good grad school (the equivalent of my undergrad), since creating a competitive application can take years, and essentially knowing what you want your 1st year of college. (6 years ago)

I do currently work at a university and can take free courses to maybe knock out some pre-requisites, but working full-time and taking classes is stressful to say the least.

Thoughts on how to re-track to psychology for grad school? As far as ERE, a phd can take 5 years. I could just work during that time and be FI by the time I’d be graduating.

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Ego
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Ego » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:42 am

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Last edited by Ego on Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:07 am

Call or email some counseling programs and ask them the exact question you posted. I suspect it varies by the program so try a few at different levels, don't just call Harvard and Yale.

FBeyer
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by FBeyer » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:59 am

Via the coaching I've done over the last couple of months, I've come to realize what a boon my subject-oriented thinking is, compared to emotions-orientation.

When a client bares their emotions, I see a complex array of lies they tell themselves, and I see a puzzle to be solved, so that this human being in front of me can be free from their shackles. I understand their suffering but I do not feel it. And I can tell what an insane difference that makes for some of the people I coach.

If you don't have a natural barrier against feeling other people's pain, you will need to develop one!

ZAFCorrection
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:16 pm

You might want to confirm whether you want to do research or counseling since it seems there is not much overlap.

I have a very little experience with neurological rehabilitation research, which I assume is similar to certain kinds of psychology research, and the process seems to consist of developing a good idea -> proposing for funding/IRB -> data collection with subjects (rote and often seems much simpler than experiments you might do in geology) -> a ton of stats/data analysis -> writing the manuscript. Intuition about how people behave/think can likely help in experimental design, but there are not likely to be any cathartic one-on-ones which counselor types seem to enjoy. But there is probably also case study stuff I don't know anything about.

But if you aren't looking to be a trailblazer right off, quantitative research is quantitative research. If you can play up a quantitative background plus enthusiasm plus basic familiarity with how people are, that seems to be a good narrative for getting into a PhD program. Assuming that is what you actually want to do.

blackbird
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by blackbird » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:33 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:51 pm
... but working full-time and taking classes is stressful to say the least.
This is a BIG red flag. If you feel this way now about taking 'pick-up' classes at the undergrad level, I would STRONGLY encourage you to re-evaluate your commitment to graduate school.

I have offered advice to you before and my thoughts haven't really changed. Graduate school is not to be taken lightly, and you should be honest with yourself about the likelihood of outcomes if you survive through to a Ph.D (or even a Masters).

Are you committed to beginning your day at 7 AM when the library opens and ending your day at 9 PM when the last evening class is over? With only about one hour of truly "free" time over the entire day? For the next 6 years?

While phenomenal itself, the financial cost of a graduate education is only part of the equation. The toll it will take on your social life and emotional well-being is not a joke.

TopHatFox
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:06 pm

@blackbird, the 4 classes I've taken thus far while working were graduate classes. The classes themselves were honestly easy for me. School comes easy for me (most subjects anyway).

I think it's the working full-time piece that really kills me.

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Stahlmann
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Stahlmann » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:24 pm

in my glorious country job as psychologist is restricted by regulations, being a couch isn't.

people do weekend bootcamps to get certs from "Next International Couching No-name Organisation" (but it has English name, so it must be good :lol:) and then... they try to fool others to pay them 50$ for ability to talk about their problems :lol:

best known [snake's oil salesman] "couch" is guy... who has started as PUA. he even had materials for picking up as homosexual. in the end it has disappeared from the internet as his "career" progressed. but.. he has good acting, because his father was... an actor.

try rehasing for x-th time knowledge from psych books in forms of YT channel and fish for your clients.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:19 pm

A couch is a piece of furniture. A coach is someone who is supposed to lead or train an individual or team.

Those darn homonyms.

Sclass
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Sclass » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:36 am

I’ve seen some shows on TV where they chase after a coach or counselor with a fake degree from a non existent online school. I don’t really support this kind of thing but it is a way if you want to be a counselor that badly. You can try it out kind of like the Peanuts character Lucy in her booth “Psychology 5 cents” without much of an investment. So long as you can stay out of jail.

A friend from high school is a marriage counselor. She has a little bolthole office in Santa Monica. I don’t recall her attending much training to do what she does. It was kind of diversion from something she did at her dad’s church. Now she does it full time privately. Seriously I don’t think she has any credentials, except that she was once married and is now divorced. Go figure, like I’d take her advice on how to save my marriage.

Look at Tony Robbins telling everyone how to live for millions of dollars. Does he have some credentials to do this? He just tells everyone the power of positivity and takes their money.

Sorry I don’t have any legit advice. But this new path sounds problematic. I can see you piling on a ton of debt. Getting tired of it like you seem to do over the years with other things. Not that it’s bad to wander, but as mentioned by others, this one will be costly in more ways than money if it doesn’t work out.

I see this mindset in my SIL. She is always researching some professional program she can go into to move into a new career. One training program leads to another and she never really settles on a discipline or career. I think if she was meant to be be any of these things it would have happened already. Hence my advice for you to just get out there and start counseling people credentials be damned. See if it sticks.

Good luck finding your way. I kind of remember sitting in a field in Siberia at your age telling a guy I was working with that I planned to be a motorcycle cop, a stock trader or a lock smith when I got back to the states. Ahhhh, to be young!

classical_Liberal
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by classical_Liberal » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:16 am

Agree with Sclass. You've spent too much of your adult life inside of academia in one way or another. Get out and smell the flowers of the real world. You don't need multiple grad degrees to succeed in it, just find something to do and do it well for awhile.

Fish
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Fish » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:55 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:51 pm
I really enjoy being a counselor, and could definitely see myself being either a psychology researcher or therapist.

In order to practice in the field, I need at least a Masters in Counseling Psychology.
This thought process seems somewhat backwards to me. You want to do (possibly) pleasant thing X, therefore you seek to acquire credential Y which is a prerequisite. You could take a more process-oriented approach, instead of being so goal-oriented. For example: “I really enjoy studying psychology so I am taking night classes. I choose classes based on personal interest and limit my course load to avoid being overwhelmed. If I keep doing this, I may earn a MS or PhD which unlocks potentially enjoyable work opportunities. But if I don’t get there, that’s ok. It was a fun hobby while it lasted.”

And whenever you lack the intrinsic motivation to perform the activities needed to earn the credential (e.g. “I really enjoy studying psychology”==false), then reassess.

EdithKeeler
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:01 am

You remind me of me when I was your age. Graduated from a good school but had no idea what I wanted to do. Applied to law school, got in, changed my mind. Started working on an mba but it was boring. Got a job as a trainer and decided to go to grad school for that. Didn’t like it. Moved, started working on an mba again—still fucking boring. Applied to law school again, went for two weeks and asked myself “what am I doing??”

All that took me to age 39, and I’ve even had moments since then where I had the thought that a certificate or degree would solve all my problems and that somehow I’d land the perfect job or career. Maybe it would have—but it turns out most of the lawyers I know hate being lawyers, and an mba isn’t what it used to be. In my job I work with people with my exact same job title with both JDs and MBAs. We do the same job.

Maybe you really do want to be a psychologist. But do your homework before investing all that time and money. Do psychologists like their jobs? What’s a typical day like? What are their pain points? In the meantime look for ways to do counseling without the degree. Volunteer on a suicide helpline or at AlAnon meetings or whatever. Do you really like it as much as you think? Especially when you do it a lot? If you do like it, can you do it without the additional tome on school?

Finally, do you spend time with a counselor yourself? Might be a good idea to help you figure out some stuff. I have one—an LCSW, not a psychologist. My insurance pays her $100 an hour. Maybe that’s a faster track for what you want to do than a doctorate.

Two guys were talking about their degrees. First guy says;
“What did you major in?”
Second guy: “calligraphy.”
First guy: “What an absolutely useless degree! Myself, I have a degree from Ole Miss.”
Second guy: “Yeah, but when you show up for an interview, you always have a degree from Ole Miss. Me, I have a degree from anywhere I want!”
Last edited by EdithKeeler on Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:15 am

I agree with the fun hobby approach. It seems to me that you might have a knack for writing grant applications, so maybe consider starting your own non-profit from which you could draw a small salary?

EdithKeeler
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:29 am

I wanted to add: it’s easy to think that going back to school is The Answer. (And maybe it is, but just make sure before you invest a ton of time and money).

But when we graduate from college, especially if we’ve done well, I think The Real World of 9-5 can be hard to navigate. We’ve been in school forever, we’ve done well, we understand how it works, how to navigate the system to make good grades, make friends, learn stuff, have fun, etc. Most of us had a lot of freedom in school.

Then you graduate, to a job where you’re tied to a desk all day (no freedom!), the people you see every day aren’t so much like you and have other stuff going on (so harder to make friends), and you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing half the time. So it’s really easy to fall into the idea of “I’ll just go back to school.”

So I’d encourage you to really explore why you might want to do this. Maybe it really is what you want to do, but it would behoove you. I think, to dig deep. Research, have a few sessions with a counselor, etc.

FBeyer
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by FBeyer » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:43 am

Stahlmann wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:24 pm
... they try to fool others to pay them 50$ for ability to talk about their problems :lol:
Your ignorance is showing!

We charge at least 165$ per hour. 8-)

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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by jacob » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:44 am

EdithKeeler wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:29 am
But when we graduate from college, especially if we’ve done well, I think The Real World of 9-5 can be hard to navigate. We’ve been in school forever, we’ve done well, we understand how it works, how to navigate the system to make good grades, make friends, learn stuff, have fun, etc. Most of us had a lot of freedom in school.
This! And it's not just college vs 9-5 but also college vs the research apprenticeship that is the phd.

When I wrote my msc thesis one of my office mates was a newly recruited phd student who had excelled in the type of undergraduate classes in which one solves a closed-end problem (all the information needed is always in the previous chapter(s)) within an hour or two and then had the rest of the evening/weekend off to marvel at one's cleverness.

He lasted 6 months before the frustration of doing actual research dealing with open-ended questions that required round-the-clock focus got to him. I'm suspect that the habits he had honed to perfection during his previous schooling was part of the problem. For classes you have the option of failing a question and all it will do is to deduct a point and lower the grade. In research, such a failure essentially means you're stuck until you figure it out. There's no professor or teacher's manual to give it to you. You're just stuck and you have to try and try and try again with something new until it resolves. It's hard to understate how huge this difference is on selecting those who succeed.

Undergraduate success: super smart, superior time/class management, great memory retention (At least short/medium term)
Graduate research success: reasonably smart, very creative, high frustration tolerance

tl;dr - If 9-5 is the problem, I don't think grad school is the solution, because that's more like 10-midnight.

Jean
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by Jean » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:03 pm

My phd experience was the opposite. We knew everything from the begining, while undergrad and master project were actually filling gaps in scientific knowledge.
To me a phd seems a little bit like getting a tinder date pregnant.

TopHatFox
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:25 pm

I got a 159 Verbal and 156 quant on the GRE (lowest is 130 and highest is 170 for each). The average scores are 150 verbal and 153 quant, so mine are above average. I probably should've studied more for quant, but verbal was 100x more enjoyable. Also got a 3.40 GPA at a top college.

Only one problem: it turns out that clinical science psychology doctorates have a 2-10% acceptance rate and require 4-7 years of school. I think someone said on here that just having a job and a partner is as good as it gets, and after 2-3 years of trying different jobs and partners, I'm genuinely starting to think they're right. There are no easy solutions and the idea of a meaningful job almost seems like an oxymoron.

I may just try to find a job that has more counseling than paperwork after the MPA in April 2020 is done and call that good enough. There are a lot of jobs that say "Masters Preferred" even if one is definitely not required for the actual work. Moreover, the concept of vying for a handful of spots in a pool of 500, working really hard for 5-7 years to finally be able to earn an income, and then another year to get licensed in a single state seems...I don't know, like a huge opportunity cost at the very least. Is this giving up or working within reality?

ZAFCorrection
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Re: How to re-track to Psychology Doctorate?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:13 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:25 pm
Moreover, the concept of vying for a handful of spots in a pool of 500, working really hard for 5-7 years to finally be able to earn an income, and then another year to get licensed in a single state seems...I don't know, like a huge opportunity cost at the very least.
Beware the reality distortion field if you discuss this with an academic. They'll eventually tell you with a straight face that doing a postdoc (low pay, massive workload, zero job security, high career stakes) is a privilege. Run fast; run far.

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