I have personal trouble with use of animals in research, but it is common and can lead to incredible findings. This response to Dr. Decker’s petition was thorough and well thought-out, confronting many of the myths of current day animal research.
Okay so there are so many things I want to post about and I know I have asks to answer but internship apps and dissertation and being a grad student and my actual life are keeping me very busy. Be patient with me!
“Just because your pain is understandable, doesn’t mean your behavior is acceptable.”
Comments like “Wow, she seriously needs some help” or “She’s a danger to herself!” are not going to help anyone pursue treatment. They’re going to make people feel scared, ashamed, and alone, none of which helps motivate the sometimes difficult, not always successful process of getting help. Imagine if a friend said to you, “Dude, you seriously need to check yourself in to a psych ward.” Now imagine if instead they said, “Hey, I’m worried about you. What’s going on?”
The lack of compassion in these articles makes me think that, as much as we may “care” about what celebrities do and what’s going on in their lives, we don’t care enough to actually worry rather than shrug or gleefully watch. We certainly don’t care enough to give them any privacy while they sort out personal issues.”
So I don’t have a whole lot of information about the research side of things, but here’s the little I know:
There are always groups, companies, and corporations looking for evidence that their product is effective. That might be medication, an intervention protocol, an assessment tool, etc. Researchers are the ones that gather that data, by working with a population, testing materials, crunching stats. Fun stuff. You can look through most academic journals to see what kind of psychological research is being conducted.
Many research positions are attached to schools and universities. So, researchers might run a lab where they teach other students how to do research, in addition to regular lab responsibilities.
I’m not sure where to find those jobs, as I’ve never had much of an interest working as a researcher. Probably in a similar way as any other job: websites like Career Builder, word of mouth, referrals…
If any research folks have more insight, please enlighten the rest of us.
I’m quite research oriented, so I’ll chime in.
Generally psychologists develop what’s called a program of research while in graduate school. This means figuring out what area you want to research during your career, often including 1-4ish specific topics/questions/methods that you plan to become an expert in, as well as beginning to develop a history of research in that area. Usually these specific topics overlap or have some clear relationship to each other.
The most typical thing a psychologist would do in research is get some sort of job affiliated with a university, a hospital, a medical center, a VA, NIH, NIMH, or some other large institution to either open their own research lab or to collaborate with another researcher in a lab. In this sort of job they can pursue their program of research using funding from the institute they work in as well as other sources of funding they get from grants and other collaborations.
Other people might take jobs pursuing particular sorts of avenues of research, like working in other people’s labs or for specific research entities. For instance, lots of people at NIH and similar research institutions do their own research, but many others work for other psychologists or researchers, because it’s such a huge institution.
It is certainly possible do things like working for private corporations to do research, although whether you actually end up getting to do science in these instances varies. Doing consulting and similar sorts of work is probably the best way to go here, rather than being an employee of the corporation.
As far as duties, they will vary quite a bit based on job title and type of research. My research is clinical research, so my version of “data collection” is often “conduct a therapy group” or similar. For other people it might be “inject a rat with steroids” or “interview freshmen about their attitudes towards casual sex.” People who only do research will spend a lot of time writing grants, writing publications, presenting, collaborating, creating procedures, do data collection (although probably postdocs and RAs will do the majority of data collection) and data analysis. Most people will have other responsibilities, including administration, mentorship, teaching, and clinical work.
I can’t give individualized treatment or diagnostic advice. I really encourage you to seek treatment with a competent professional in your area if you are concerned.
(I know you know I can’t give treatment advice, I just put that at top of every ask I get like this.) It seems to me you have three options:
- keep things the way they are
- tell your current doctor you are unhappy and want to change your treatment plan
- find a different doctor and come up with a new treatment plan
This is your treatment, and your decision to make. What I think is important is that you understand that you get a say about your treatment plan. You get a say about which doctors you are seeing and what sort of treatment you are engaging in and what your treatment goals are and so on. If it’s not working for you, you get to say so and your treatment providers should get on board and help you figure out what would work better. And if your treatment providers don’t get on board- then they’re not the ones for you, and it is okay to find somebody better.
This is your life, and your treatment, and you get to advocate for yourself. No- more than that. You have to have advocate for yourself. I know it’s tough, because you’re already going through a hard time. But you have the power to make things better for yourself- you are the only person who has the power to make things better for yourself. But it is tough, and sometimes you’re going to have to fight really hard in situations where you shouldn’t have to (like when providers get lazy or complacent). But I really think you should keep fighting, even if you are the only person who’s doing it, because you deserve it. You deserve to have somebody on your side. You deserve to feel better. Best wishes, anon.
Hi! Let’s take this one at a time.
How long does it take to get a pysch degree? I am interested in maybe becoming a psychologist, focusing on clinical work with teens and children.
In order to become a psychologist specializing in clinical work with teens and children, you would typically:
- Get a four year degree (BA or BS), probably in psych, maybe in child development. During this time, also get research experience in psych, and some clinical exposure. (4 years, more if needed)
- (Optional if needed) get some research experience and/or a Master’s (1-3 years)
- Get a PhD or PsyD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. School Psych in an option if you want to focus on school/education related issues. (5-7 years, including a 1 year internship)
So total from where you are now, it’s 9-14+ years. It’ll take me 10 years to go from my freshman year of college to graduating with my PhD. It is a long haul. Of course a significant amount of that time is college.
If you go the school psych route, you can get a PhD or a EdS, which is a shorter degree. You might also consider other master’s level degrees which include clinical training.
Would you say the career is rewarding? Is it worth it?
Well, keep in mind that I’m a grad student, so I can speak to where I am now, as a fifth year applying for internship, but I can’t speak to how I’ll feel in 10 years once I’ve been out in the field for awhile.
I do think it’s a rewarding field. I don’t regret my decision at all. I’m very excited about what I do with my days now and I’m very excited about the possibilities for my future. There is a lot you can do as a psychologist- lots of different sorts of responsibilities, lots of different work settings, lots of flexibility, lots of room to grow. I get bored easily so I like having a job that is challenging and includes lots of different pieces and activities. I like having my mind active all the time. I like feeling like I’m doing something worthwhile.
It is frustrating. It’s hard. Grad students are super broke. There’s no certainty. There are long hours. Clients often don’t get better. They stop showing up. They don’t see you as a person. That’s tough, sometimes. It can be isolating. Burnout is super common. Research can also be really tough- it’s hard to work on something for months or years and then it doesn’t yield anything significant.
For all those reasons I tend to say that spending all this time in school and training is only worth it if you really love it. I love it, so it’s worth it. If you’re only so-so, and something else would make you equally happy, it’s probably better to go the other route.
What kind of person is best suited for this job?
All kinds of people make good psychologists, but here are the traits I think of:
- Being cognitively flexible. This means not seeing things only in black or white, but seeing the most subtle and ambiguous shades of things. It also means being able to change your mind based on facts and new information.
- Being thoughtful.
- Being curious.
- Being passionate.
- Being ethical.
- Being determined and hard working.
- Being able to think critically.
- Being able to think critically about yourself, and take steps to improve things. If you’re going to be a therapist, you’re going to be awful at first, and you need to be able to watch your tapes and go to supervision and deal with that reality so you can get better.
- Able to be methodical and organized when needed.
- Able to create and maintain boundaries.
- Able to engage in self care.
- Able to separate your own emotions from situations when needed.
I hope that’s helpful!
You’re not ignorant, and it’s really cool that you’re curious and exploring new things!
The concept of schizophrenia has evolved over time. Bleuler was the first to use “schizophrenia” in 1911, although he was modifying Kraepelin’s “dementia praecox.” Bleuler’s version of schizophrenia has a fair amount in common with what we think of schizophrenia today. He focused primarily on thought disorder symptoms, but also was the first to conceptualize “positive symptoms” and “negative symptoms.” I’d say the biggest difference is at that time, people, including Bleuler, tended to think this was a brain disorder that could not improve and would almost inevitably get worse. They had little hope that people with schizophrenia could get better with treatment, or function within society. Today we know that people can and do recover and can function very successfully.
People have tried- in the past and more recently -to use psychoanalysis to improve symptoms associated with schizophrenia. It is not an effective treatment, however. Psychiatric rehabilitation is the frontline psychological treatment for schizophrenia, often including cognitive behavioral individual therapy. I hope that’s helpful!