If you Want To Be A Psychologist...
1) How Much Money Does A Psychologist Make?
This depends upon the psychologist in question. Obviously, this field does not pay much unless one hustles. Meaning, more than one job such as adjunct teaching on the side or completing multiple reports quickly to earn more money. Some psychologists are in the media, publishing blogs (hello), psychological testing on the side, or private practice work to add to their income. The money is there and many seasoned psychologists have learned how to increase their revenue overtime. Relying on one company alone, such as a working at a mental health center, may not earn the income that you probably want if asking this question. Psychology professors make great money as well. Teaching is a great opportunity and if you are offered one as an adjunct or tenure professor, consider them. This year is my 1st time not teaching a course or two in a very long time but it is always there if needed. Psychology is a broad field with many opportunities which you will learn as you begin your journey in it along with what you will accept or not financially. However, remove the idea of graduating from graduate school and making 6-figures. This is social services, get for real!
2) How Long Do Psychologists Work All Day?
Personally, my work hours are considered an average work day. You must consider your personal life when creating your work schedule. I will not allow myself to work to the point of not having a personal life because it is no bueno for my mental health. I take my mental health seriously and burn-out is not good for any of us. A few of my friends, who are also psychologists, will work to the point of exhaustion per week. No matter how many times I tell them not to do this, they continue only to tell me that something in their body hurts. Then, they relax and the pain goes away. We are our worst enemies in mental health sometimes, but the body will tell us when we need to slow down. More than likely, you will definitely have a 40-hour work week and you may do a side job as well in your own time or some volunteer work. Everyone should volunteer their time and services at minimum of an hour per week to me. Of course, we all have a variety of skills and can offer numerous services to the public. When you do become a psychologist, keep in mind that your mental health matters in order to help other people with their challenges. Base your work schedule to include time off for yourself and your family. Don't forget about you.
3) What Causes A Psychologist To Quit A Patient/Client?
To be clear, we do not do this without just cause and it must comply with ethical standards. In most cases, we will not terminate a patient without providing recommendations for a new therapist. We have a duty to protect our client's from harm so we certainly do not want to abandon them. When ending a therapeutic relationship with a client, we will provide termination therapy. Why would we terminate a client? For obvious reasons such a threat to harm. Not so obvious reasons would be a threat to harm from a client's family member or an attraction to a client and a client's attraction toward us. Still, a Psychologist can seek consultation to deal with the attraction from another Psychologist to determine how to best rectify this situation. This should demonstrate to all of my readers that we try very hard to keep our clients within our care. However, there are times when termination is necessary. For example, if a client cannot not resolve an attraction to a Psychologist and it interferes in treatment goals. Another not so apparent example is when treatment goals have been met or are not working. Even when goals are not working or accomplished, Psychologists will consult with clients to determine the best course of action. We uphold our ethical duty and work toward building a solid rapport with our clients to avoid reasons for termination, if we can help it. We like you, don't worry!
If You Are Using A Psychologist...
4) I Am Attracted To My Psychologist, What Should I Do?
It happens. Your psychologist is listening to you and taking an active interest in your life. The attention feels good and the strategies work to improve your mental health which is why you feel better. Many psychologists are physically attractive and have clients who become attractive to them daily. The best thing that you can do is to remain in treatment, but tell your psychologist about your level of attraction. They can work with you to process those feelings and together, you both can determine if services can continue or whether or not you need a referral to another clinician. Treatment is not about the psychologist, but about you and this person will assist you with making the best decision. Attraction can interfere in the therapeutic relationship from you toward your psychologist and that is not what that psychologist wants to have happen in therapy. To put it plainly, you cannot sit there and fantasize about your psychologist while they are trying to work through your issues! Life happens; do not feel bad about it, just be proactive and communicative about your level of attractiveness toward that person. If you need a referral because the feelings are overwhelming and not decrease appropriately, speak to your new psychologist about them. You many not have an intimate relationship with your psychologist. NO!
5) Are Psychologists Quacks?
No. Psychology is a science. We study it for years in graduate school as other majors do and need licenses to protect the public. Not to mention, when other professionals cannot figure it out problems in a patient or client, they call upon a psychologist for a consult or to take over the care. (HELLO) This happens a lot in emergency rooms (ER) when individuals present with "strange" symptoms that stomp the ER doctors and nurses. Who do they call?
Psychologists (PERIODT - as my daughter would say)
It is due to our advanced knowledge in human behavior and mental health. We can figure it out and create a plan to treat the symptoms with the emergency room team and other professionals. What would they do without us?
Send Them Home
I am just joking, kind of, but what I really mean is no psychology is not a quack job. Do not say that to me while I am still paying for my student loans. Seriously, no other profession is called "quacks" because everyone believes that all we do is listen to folks and give advice which is why psychology is not a real field or profession to them. A car salesman once told me that he was a psychologist too and I almost took that car and drove it over him. (Not for real, but my mind went there and I did verbally blast him) My husband had to hit my leg under the table! Lol! Psychology is far more than just listening to folks and giving advice. Those who conduct therapy would be offended if you said to them all they do all day is give advice. Do you know what to do for a suicidal child? A borderline patient? An elderly person with dementia? Or, an anorexic rape victim?
I Rest My Case
6) Can You Read People's Minds
Heck yeah, that is the best part about psychology! I know what a client and thinking and what they will say before they express it verbally. Seriously? We are very good with our people skills and can have good insight into a person's challenges after an interview with them, but we cannot read their minds. At least we are not taught to do that in graduate school. Were we supposed to be taught that skill? If so, I missed it. It would be a great one to have with children because I would know what is going on in their minds when they are unable to tell me. I would use a crystal ball too. Seriously, no reading of other people's minds. How do we know what is going on with people in our care? Well, it is not due to mind reading but symptoms and a classification system that allows us to diagnose one disorder for many symptoms that may present themselves differently in each person. Think of Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD), for example. A rainbow of symptoms that present themselves uniquely in each person. Training and experience teach us to know what to look for with ASD, for example, and how to improve those symptoms. I am reading your mind right now. I keep a crystal ball at my desk!
Keep asking questions, I am reading them.
Thank you, Dr. Lisa