Wilhelm Wundt, a German psychologist, a name you will hear multiple times while studying psychology; created the world’s first experimental psychology lab. This lab was established in 1879 at the University of Leipzig in Germany. This means that psychology as a study has been around for almost 170 years! However, as a career option it has picked up only recently. Students are now opting for careers in psychology owing to its widespread acceptance and increasing awareness.
Having pursued my masters in Psychology from Christ University, Bangalore, I’m here to provide a first-hand experience of how I went about my decision to opt for psychology.
Should you opt for Psychology
Benefits of Studying Psychology:
1.Psychology Gives Better Control On Emotions
Personally, studying psychology changes you as a person. You grow emotionally as you understand more and more of human behaviour. You are more in control of your feelings and in many ways you understand the reasons for your own and others behaviour. This in turn helps you manage your life in a more mature and structured manner wherein you will feel more equipped to pull through tough times.
2. Psychology Gives an edge while interacting
Studying psychology, gives you an edge when it comes to interactions with friends, family, co-workers and employer. You will understand how to make coexistence easier & happier. You might get over your irrational fears after doing psychology studies. In fact, by learning about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), you gain a self-help tool to correct all sorts of negative thinking patterns. And trust me, you’ll need it!
3. Psychology Offers Diverse Job Options
The kind of jobs you can get are diverse. Hence, it is important to decide what field of psychology you would want to delve into, and work backwards. This is not simple hence it’s alright if you take this decision during your Masters. For example, in my case I knew I wanted to work in a corporate and hence I decided to take up Human Resources as my specialization in Psychology during my Masters. The course was the perfect mix of psychology and the corporate world I wanted to enter.
4. Psychology Enhances research skills
In college and later, in employment, it does not matter what you majored in. Time management and research skills is something you’ll need everywhere. When you study Psychology, you are asked to look at published journal articles & studies with a critical lens. This implies understanding what is genuine and considerable versus what is phoney. You will have to analyse and critically evaluate concepts and theories thereby teaching you the importance of a thorough investigation. After all, research is what fills the gaps between the known & unknown.
Limitations of Studying Psychology:
1. A Minimum of masters degree required
To have a career in psychology, a minimum of a master’s degree is required. Depending on your area of interest for a job, more study will be required. So while studying the subject is interesting, be prepared to devote a sufficient number of years to getting those required degrees, and preparing yourself for the job.
2. Counselling is challenging
While most studying Psychology opt for counselling, it must be known that the field is not easy. Both professionally and personally, counselling requires tremendous effort and for a long time. While India has a regulatory body- Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) to obtain a license, it is not a mandate to start your own clinic. Hence there are multiple people practicing without licensing and therefore are struggling.
3. Not for emotionally weak
While studying psychology can help you grow personally, it can also make you feel overwhelmed if you are unable to manage your emotions. In that case your heart and brain doesn’t work together, resulting in you feeling bogged down. Professionally too, being a counsellor can take a toll on you if you are unable to distance yourself from your clients. “Don’t take your work home’’ is easier said than done.
4. Application is key, hence can be challenging
Psychology is a science—a relatively new one at that—and therefore there aren’t many things that everyone agrees on. Like all sciences, Psychology uses the scientific method: observing, hypothesizing, testing, and theorizing. As theories are developed, evaluated, and refined, psychologists need to comprehend the human psyche and then apply this information to their particular field of work. Therefore it’s crucial to understand the background of concepts and not just the concepts alone. For instance, Freud, Pavlov, and Erickson were ground-breaking in their particular views of the human mind and behaviour. However, these theories are questioned on many grounds today. Hence it is important to understand theories developed years ago but apply them in a manner that is applicable today which can sometimes be a challenge.
Fields of Psychology
While most of you interested in the field would’ve done some prior research on the various fields you could get into to pursue psychology – noting it down here in case you missed any.
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Further education teacher
- Health psychologist
- High intensity therapist
- Occupational psychologist
- Psychological wellbeing practitioner
- Sport and exercise psychologist
Job Options in Psychology
And here’s a list of jobs wherein your psychology degree would come of good use
- Career adviser
- Human resources officer
- Life coach
- Market researcher
- Policy officer
- Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
The brain is an incredible asset, and studying psychology can sharpen it into something powerful. You understand the brain at a deeper level (without the pain of getting a medical degree!) and develop a greater understanding of how to explore society.
Skills such as critical thinking, better interpersonal communication, empathy, recognizing and regulating your own emotions and understanding the core human behaviour will serve every professional, no matter the career.
Thus, even if you don’t want to make a career out of psychology, it is a field each one should have a basic understanding of. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Psychology 101 class now!