What was the point in studying psychology?

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imonkk
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What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by imonkk » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:24 pm

I firstly want to begin by saying this website is probably one of the most important sites for genuine career advice in clinical psychology. So thank you Miriam!

As mentioned in my previous post I was considering whether I should continue with psychology as a career path. Once again I have come to the conclusion that I should give up.

Why should anyone have to compete so much for positions that return so little? I can't even count the number of posts I've seen on here of people who have spent years of their lives trying to get into clinical psychology only to be stopped by the ridiculous competition. I sometimes wonder how many hours people have spent slogging away on low wages and scrapping through life lying to themselves that the experience they are getting will eventually help them to secure a more senior role in the future.

Why should people who are clearly competent, passionate and who have sacrificed the large amount/majority of their lives to this field have to struggle with voluntary and/or low paid work just to get rejected for band 4 AP/trainee PWP roles? And don't even get me started on the clinical doctorate minefield!

If you put that much effort into medicine you are rewarded. It's really that simple. I have come across too many bright people who should have applied for medicine and not psychology because they deserve their efforts to be rewarded with clear career pathways. It's such a shame that we have wasted so many young people's potential on this cesspit of a field.

I understand the world is not fair. But what is also unfair is the BPS not being honest with prospective psychology students. Why isn't there more being done to warn prospective psychology students of the disaster that will await those who want to get into practice?

And why does the BPS only seem to care about clinical psychology?!

Does the NHS care?
Does the BPS even care?
Does anyone care!?

But away from all the negativity I just want to thank anyone who as ever posted on here for adding to the plethora of great advice which has helped me to make my mind up once and for all.

It's just a shame I can't go back to my 16 year old self and tell him to seek advice on here and avoid choosing psychology as an A level like the plague, because he would be wasting six years of his life!

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by lingua_franca » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:36 am

imonkk wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:24 pm
If you put that much effort into medicine you are rewarded. It's really that simple. I have come across too many bright people who should have applied for medicine and not psychology because they deserve their efforts to be rewarded with clear career pathways. It's such a shame that we have wasted so many young people's potential on this cesspit of a field.
It isn't that simple. If we look at the application statistics for both medicine and clinical psychology, medicine is more competitive. 15% of DClinPsy applicants were offered a place this year, according to Clearing House statistics. Meanwhile UK medical schools on average get ten applicants for every place, meaning that the acceptance rate will be around 10%. Some people will apply again and get in on the second or third try. Others will simply give up and choose other degree programmes. The only difference between this and the DClinPsy is that the competition is happening at undergraduate level rather than doctorate level, meaning that medicine hopefuls are more likely to cut their losses and pick a different career path far earlier on in the process. It should be noted that medicine also has a higher drop-out and failure rate than the DClinPsy, which makes sense as it's a far longer path to qualification. So I don't think it's fair to assume that a bright person who does not get onto the DClinPsy would have been fine if only they'd chosen to do medicine instead. There are a lot of very capable people out there, but only a finite number of places. The admissions statistics are out there for anyone who chooses to look. I have my issues with the BPS as an organisation, but I fail to see how they're being dishonest with anyone on this.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by imonkk » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:15 am

I am currently helping my sister who wants to study medicine with her application which includes gaining work experience amongst other escapades. Luckily I work with a public health registrar who has provided me with a lot of knowledge on the application process for medicine and when comparing the specialities to the psychology career paths, there is no way anyone should be recommending psychology as a career path in it's current format. It's truly a disgrace!

We all know looking at acceptance rates doesn't tell the full story - although you are absolutely right to mention them. However, the BPS are being dishonest by not warning prospective students of the acceptance rates. Psychology is already oversubscribed, do they really need more applications to their courses? Or is it just financial greed?

Yes the acceptance rates are there for everyone to find but not everyone will find them until it's too late! And then what? You have spent several years of your life studying for something you didn't really have a chance of pursuing. At least medicine is highly respected in society so employment won't be much of an issue

And sorry to be flippant but I would hope the drop out and failure rate is lower on the DClinPsy considering the BPS and NHS expect you to give them your soul to get onto it!

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by miriam » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:58 am

Wow, you are incredibly bitter and cynical aren't you?

Loads of us had fairly short and smooth paths into clinical psychology and enjoyed every minute of it. I know plenty of people who got on two or three years after graduating and felt like they learnt loads and had great quality of life in between. In fact, many people I've supervised have got onto training in a similar timescale, and the polls on this forum say that isn't atypical. But even people who take longer often really love the work they are doing on the way, and the skills they are learning - whether in care work, AP posts, research roles or doing a PhD. We then have great retention rates, and plenty of available posts to choose between when qualified, with the prospect of career progression to salaries that are more than double the national average, whilst our work is interesting and varied. I love my job, and I have done right from my voluntary student experiences and my first graduate post.

Compared to career paths that have unsalaried training, like nursing, we are doing okay as a profession, and as Lingua says our level of competition is no worse than medicine. Plus the level of competition is a rather misleading numbers game, as AP roles are (on paper at least) more competitive than gaining a place on training - but the reality is that it is surprisingly easy to put yourself in the top 10% of applicants simply by following the instructions properly and tailoring your application to the post (see my recent blog post about how not to apply for posts in psychology).

I'm not their biggest fan, but is weird (and possibly defamatory) to claim the BPS are being "dishonest" about the prospects of employment in psychology. I can find no false claims by them, so do let me know how you have formed that opinion. The BPS aren't responsible for how universities promote their degree courses, or the odds of getting onto practitioner training. The majority of people who do a psychology degree each year go on to unrelated jobs. Little more than 1000 out of some 25,000 students doing their degree in psychology each year go on to practitioner psychologist jobs. Even the most cursory search for information about psychology degrees brings up information like
One of the UK's fastest-growing subject at degree level, and the fourth most popular subject overall, one in 24 of all graduates last year had psychology degrees. As you'd expect with figures like that, jobs in psychology itself are incredibly competitive, so to stand a chance of securing one, you need to get a postgraduate qualification (probably a doctorate in most fields) and some relevant work experience. But even though there are so many psychology graduates – far more than there are jobs in psychology – this degree has a lower unemployment rate than average because its grads are so flexible and well-regarded by business. With a mix of good people skills and with excellent number and data handling skills, a psychology degree ticks most employers' boxes – but we'd suggest you don't drop your maths modules.
I also don't understand whose "financial greed" you think is underlying recruitment to psychology courses. Universities recruit students to do a whole variety of degrees, and never promise employment afterwards (though they all publish figures about the outcomes of alumni of their courses, so these are in the public domain). The BPS make no money from either undergrad or postgrad courses, or from clinical training. The NHS spend money on clinical courses in order to fund the training and the salaries of the trainees, but they do so in order to fill a skills gap in the workforce, knowing that the retention rates are very good.

Likewise I don't know what you mean when you say that the BPS only speak about clinical psychology - they have numerous divisions and faculties that speak for each group and subgroup within the profession, they facilitate all these conflicting voices equally even though CPs are the largest practitioner group - but they are strongly dominated in numbers by academic and student members.

This thread very much feels like you feel personally frustrated in your career path being thwarted and you are retrofitting some factually inaccurate explanation for this that passes your anger off onto all the wrong targets. And frankly, if you aren't happy or making career progress, choose to do something else!
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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Mathan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:09 am

I think there’s always a point in doing psychology if you’re interested I. The subject and it’s a good general degree to have. However, in terms of the clinical career structure, it is a very uncertain one and I think it requires significant review.

Compared to other career pathways in the NHS, the caree pathway at present almost demands that you work below your graduate pay grade for a number of years in order to get anywhere close to being able to apply for the doctarate, barring the small number of assistant psychologist positions there are available each year. Compare this to any of the other AHPs, that seems rather unfair. A person who does mental health nursing will do three years and graduate into a virtually guaranteed job at £24k+ with annual incremental increases. A psychology graduate on the other hand will have to accept a role at maybe £18k or even less (maybe more if they get an AP position) and will be required to remain in those low paid jobs for a while in order to maintain their clinical skills and experience for the doctorate, with no certainty that they will get onto it eventually. They sacrifice a number of their best working years to this and often end up delaying other life goals in order to keep their eye on this particular goal. This can be quite dispiriting, I can imagine, and I’m sure many people drop out of the race not because they’re not capable but because they are left with little option to do otherwise.

Meanwhile, they’re doing these mean and low paid jobs and they might see an AP position come up and think, I’ll apply for that and take my time over it. They finish their application only to see that the position closed within hours rather than the week or two they thought they had. So the next one that comes up, maybe they don’t take as much of their precious free time to do it because they know it’s not worth it if the job is just going to close. Meanwhile, someone with daddy’s money who can afford to intern or volunteer for free might pay a professional service to write an application for them and coach them for interview to boot.

The recruitment process doesn’t seem to take into account the working reality of people’s lives. People from certain backgrounds are placed at a disadvantage compared to those with privileges of time and money. Thousands and thousands of people cram themselves into a bottleneck of undergraduate and then postgraduate degrees with many universities very cynically using the conversions to milk naive graduates for all they can.

This is why I would advise anyone wanting a clinical role and who has an interest in psychology or mental health to pick a vocational course from the beginning. If they want to convert to psychology later, they can. It is a slightly cynical approach, I know, but Psychology is oversaturated and over competitive, with no career structure at all in the early stages. There’s a real mismatch at the moment whereby clinical psychologists occupy a niche, specialist role within the health service but for which the qualifying entry degree is a very general degree with which many tens of thousands graduate every year and from institutions and courses of significantly varying quality and suitability. This doesn’t happen in any other allied health profession and there’s something seriously wrong with it. To give people realistic expectations, I think they need to stream people for clinical training earlier in the undergraduate or postgraduate conversion stage to ensure that people graduating with psychology degrees have realistic expectations of what they can achieve with their degrees and enable them to make alternative career or academic decisions and not leave then in the wilderness for so long.

I quit a psychology postgrad because I knew that I couldn’t afford to bet on the uncertainty of doing EP or CP as I wanted a family. I bet on something else which had a more definite outcome and which has enabled me to have a family. I don’t regret that decision at all and I know I haven’t ruled out becoming a psychologist if I really want to. But I often wonder why I should have had to make that decision between certainty or uncertainty, especially given that the role I’ve gone for is considered to add equal value to the NHS and which taps a lot of the same clinical skills. Not exactly the same, I know, but very similar.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Spatch » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:54 am

Mathan, I think you make some very valid points.

I guess I would point out that other AHPs do have similar issues such as counselling, psychotherapy or anywhere else where there is a split between NHS workforce commissioner and a separate educational provider. The reason why there is a closer match between say medicine and nursing is because the NHS is actively involved in funding them (either through bursaries or MPET funding), so closely matches the supply and demand of students. This obviously isn't the case, nor should be for psychology undergrads because the NHS is not going to be happy for paying for people to go off and train as occupational psychologists or work in advertising etc on the back of their psych undergrad.

Also note that this happens in other countries for other health professions, e.g. medical students struggling to find residencies in the US because you have universities feeding into what are essentially private businesses. It's also the case in professions like law (massive oversupply of law undergrads, very few training contracts and pupiliges), academia (huge numbers of Ph.Ds, very few lectureship jobs), the arts, publishing, journalism and any area that a) is seen as desirable to work in, b)not artificially restricted in entry by government workforce planning.

I guess there is also a broader philosophical issue about the fact that the goals of the discipline being focussed on the demands of the client/services/society and those restrictions, rather than on fulfilling the desires and career aspirations an individual psychology graduate who wants a clear and easy pathway into a job, or to grant me a Band 9 head of service role (because I have worked hard and done my time, right?). If you go down a very restrictive route and make psychology like medical school, very few people will be able to study the discipline, and the related areas such as education, business, government and academia will suffer for not having people from a psychology background. I personally, believe that having a very broad base of people with a basic grounding in psychology helps society in numerous ways, and to restrict it to a small caste could be quite damaging especially in the context of a knowledge economy when multiple areas would benefit from those skills.

This is not to defend the current career pathway or say it is perfect. It's just that this is a really complex situation and there is no simple magic bullet to this. I would personally go down the route of challenging the belief of "If I don't do a DClinPsy I am a failure, and all these skills and experiences are worthless" -but that's just me.
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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Spatch » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:23 am

We all know looking at acceptance rates doesn't tell the full story - although you are absolutely right to mention them. However, the BPS are being dishonest by not warning prospective students of the acceptance rates. Psychology is already oversubscribed, do they really need more applications to their courses? Or is it just financial greed?

Yes the acceptance rates are there for everyone to find but not everyone will find them until it's too late! And then what? You have spent several years of your life studying for something you didn't really have a chance of pursuing.
I have heard this come up from time to time and it has always made me curious. How would this 'warning' be best done and what should the message be? Should the BPS go around schools with the message "Hey kids, psychology is great, but don't even think of trying to become a clinical psychologist because it's a rough ride!". The consistent message I get from undergrads is lecturers are talking about the difficulty of getting onto a DClinPsy and having to get experience, and this is mirrored by the prevailing message online and career services. A couple of seconds googling would quickly throw this up, ClinPsy.org.uk has been around for years and Facebook groups are open about the competition. Personally, I have never seen anywhere that says the process is simple or straightforward, but please do link if you have any.

I used to think this was due to an information gap somewhere in the system, and I was quite keen to lobby the BPS to provide clear, promotional material about the pathway to chartership. However, on discussing this with much older and wiser folk, I came to realise it's not that the information isn't out there, but it's human nature to think that warnings won't apply to them. Much like gambling or X factor, undergrads hold to the belief that they are going to be the exception. They have got this far through A-Level and degree (which are also talked about as being competitive) so they are surely going to beat the odds this time. We believe that we are 'the special', that systems can be perfect in always selecting the most worthy and will somehow validate everyone's struggle. I think that this is why people often react with fury when the hard reality of numbers and an escalating arms race of qualifications and experience plays out. It's not that you didn't have a chance of pursuing it- it's just that it was the same chance as everyone else.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Mathan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:54 am

I agree to a degree. I do appreciate the differences. But I think that psychology is in some ways over promoted to people wanting to take a clinical route because of the prestige it attracts. It’s often the career of choice to people who don’t want to take the tough A level sciences and do medicine but want a similarly well paid career with the prestige attached. Many of these people will never get there and you could make an equal argument that the health service loses out on people who would be able to make excellent contributions in the AHPs and mental health nursing but who are attracted early to a very elite and specialist career. And maybe if they’re chasing prestige, they probably shouldn’t be doing CP anyway, I know is the obvious counter argument, but my basic point that the AHPs and MHN do end up losing out I think still stands.
If you streamed at, say, year three of undergraduate or did an integrated masters or something like that for the clinical psychology route, and gave people a choice of other clinical routes or academic routes at undergraduate psychology, this could benefit the NHS and people studying psychology. As I said, it’s an excellent degree to have and not everyone doing it wants to do clinical psychology. But a significant proportion of those studying it do. The problem of too many graduates for too few jobs is an issue in almost every disciple but is particularly acute in psychology because anyone with a 2.1 in psychology can do it and there are several tens of thousands of those graduating every single year. Compare that to, say, PT or SLT where the number of graduates each year slightly undershoots the number of jobs available and you see the problem. The latter are graduating with specialist skills and won’t struggle but psychologists graduate with very general skills and have to then start grinding towards a specialist training scheme. Psychology graduate are thus quite vulnerable in a way that other science graduates and health graduates aren’t. If there were a way for a certain number to gain specialist skills earlier and feed directly into the NHS early on, I think this could go some way to solving the problem.

I don’t know, rambling a bit I know. But I get a little frustrated when I see people deciding to do psychology at undergrad with a clinical career in mind and never even considering alternatives because they a) don’t know they exist or b) think they lack prestige. And I get very worried when I see people doing it without any kind of a plan B. So many people on my psych course had exactly the same career in mind and comprised between them probably three clinical psychology cohorts-worth of people. They were accepted on the basis that they wanted to do clinical psychology or educational psychology and they had the means to pay the fees. There was no filter on who could do the course or on who should do the course other than a 2.1 minimum entry requirement, which a lot of courses drop to a 2.2. Very little career support was offered either and the only former graduates we saw or could talk to were pre-selected for having been successful. That’s the story for many conversion and undergraduate courses across the country.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by mungle » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:01 pm

Mathan wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:54 am
I It’s often the career of choice to people who don’t want to take the tough A level sciences and do medicine but want a similarly well paid career with the prestige attached.
I actually find this rude, presumptive and juvenile.
Most of us CPs pursued CP because we wanted to carry out the role of a CP, not because we actually wanted to do medicine but wanted to avoid "tough A level science".
1. CP, or any other health profession, is not a substitute or second choice for medicine. If someone wants to be a medic, then go apply for medicine.
Personally, I am fascinated by the mind and the literature and have no desire to reduce people to diagnoses or be limited to assessment, prescribing and sectioning. Whilst psychiatry is a valid career choice it is not for me. I prefer rich, deep therapeutic relationships, working form contextualised formulations etc. My passion is around quality of life, understanding people in all their complexity and being with people in the dark. I also love that CP develops and uses expertise in research, service development, teaching and offers a wide and varied career.
I can also see why some people may love medicine and am very glad there are so many willing to take that path. It is great for someone passionate about the human body, understanding the biochemistry of medicines and who wants briefer interactions with patients of a different but no lesser quality.
2. I wonder what makes you think some A Levels are tougher or somehow more worthy than other subjects? My guess is, the comments originate from a rather narrow world view that A Level grades are the be it and end all and that science is good, humanities and arts are easy.
3. I've encouraged past colleagues to go to graduate medicine when that's what floats their boat. For me personally, psychology is more fascinating. Horses for courses.

Also, let's not lose sight of why we are ultimately paid to do our roles - it's about how we can best help the client/patient. If we could spend more time focused on that and less on trying to decide which is the better/harder/more prestigious profession.

As for the point about the career path - yes, there is great uncertainty in it and there are other careers in mental health. I would encourage anyone to carefully research and evaluate their career path and be honest with selves about their strengths, wishes and needs. People can have equally fulfilling careers in many other roles e.g. mental health nursing, youth work, occupational therapy, medicine, social work, researcher etc.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by miriam » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:27 pm

Mathan wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:54 am
It’s often the career of choice to people who don’t want to take the tough A level sciences and do medicine but want a similarly well paid career with the prestige attached.
Speak for yourself. That's a pretty patronising generalisation. My A-level results (in 1992 before grade inflation and A*s) were Maths - A, Physics - A, Biology - A, Further Maths - B. I could easily have done medicine (or engineering, or maths, or a physics degree, as my physics teacher wanted), but I was more interested in psychology. I didn't give a rat's backside about the prestige or the salary. I thought it was the most interesting job I knew of, and had the potential to make a difference to human suffering. I'm grateful that it pays well, but that wasn't a consideration in my early career choices.
Mathan wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:09 am
Meanwhile, they’re doing these mean and low paid jobs and they might see an AP position come up and think, I’ll apply for that and take my time over it. They finish their application only to see that the position closed within hours rather than the week or two they thought they had. So the next one that comes up, maybe they don’t take as much of their precious free time to do it because they know it’s not worth it if the job is just going to close. Meanwhile, someone with daddy’s money who can afford to intern or volunteer for free might pay a professional service to write an application for them and coach them for interview to boot.

The recruitment process doesn’t seem to take into account the working reality of people’s lives. People from certain backgrounds are placed at a disadvantage compared to those with privileges of time and money. Thousands and thousands of people cram themselves into a bottleneck of undergraduate and then postgraduate degrees with many universities very cynically using the conversions to milk naive graduates for all they can.
This has no basis in reality. Nobody is having professionals write applications or being coached to do interviews by paid employees of their wealthy parents. And most people who do voluntary work or who tailor applications are doing so around paid work in care roles, retail or service industries. Most of us write application contents in the evenings, and then cut and paste from them into applications to get them in before they close.

The only financial impact I've seen evidence of in the profession is whether people can afford to do a postgraduate course, and whether they can afford to cover their living expenses in low paid or voluntary work for a protracted period of time, particularly if they have dependants. But there are plenty of creative ways round these barriers and I've seen people from all kinds of backgrounds succeed in clinical psychology (with very few coming into the profession from super-wealthy backgrounds or private education). That's not to say there aren't issues - and I'm obviously one of the people working to reduce the value of insider information and levelling the playing field for applicants without personal networks - but just to say that this seems to be another example of retrofitting rumours to personal experiences as if they are facts.
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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Mathan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:58 pm

I agree it is juvenile. The reason being a lot of people make that decision when they are still Fairly juvenile. Teenagers who want to help people but who also want prestige often look at medicine first and then psychology. I speak from my own experience of my psychology A level group and careers advice in school. Medicine was presented as an option and then clinical psychology. In that order, basically, and half the A level cohort had CP in mind. The AHPs didn’t get a look in. I also speak from teaching hundreds of people over the last ten years, many of them in psychology. The vast majority of them will say that they want to be clinical psychologists and they nearly all professed to be bad at science. I’m always quite flabbergasted by it really because what is psychology if not a science? Many of them are aware of alternatives and many more of them still turn their noses up at the idea of doing something like MHN because they feel there’s less earning potential or prestige attached to it. I’m not saying it happens with everyone, but it is a factor in many people’s decision making, given the age at which they often make these decisions.

I myself enjoyed psychology and always have done but I’ve never actively pursued it beyond my one year of part time psychology conversion (in which I was tracking for a distinction) because of the practical problems associated with pursuing it as a career. I could spend five years potentially going nowhere in pursuit of psychology or I could spend 3 to 5 years actively going somewhere with it. I made a safe bet and, as I say, I don’t regret it and I’m heading into a profession that taps many of the same skills and is effectively applied psychology in many respects. I couldn’t say if a failure to understand people’s motivations and thoughts has hindered me because I’ve never actively pursued psychology In terms of the doctoral route or otherwise. Given that my work history and future professional direction both depend on skills in just those areas, however, I’d make another fairly safe bet that they wouldn’t if I’d tried.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by miriam » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:37 pm

Mathan wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:58 pm
I could spend five years potentially going nowhere in pursuit of psychology or I could spend 3 to 5 years actively going somewhere with it.
I wish people would stop these rumour mills. Good candidates usually succeed in much shorter time periods than the ones who hang around to moan about it being impossible (and the ones who come back bitter saying that it's impossible even though they never actually gave it a proper try). They just don't want to brag about their easier experience when others are finding it tougher. Just look at our pinned polls of timescales and numbers of applications. Look at the facts:
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=8809
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=8733
The truth is that people typically get onto training on their first or second application, around 3 years after graduation. There is a tail of people who take longer, but that is often because they chose to do a PhD or take a career detour, and less than 5% of successful applicants persist for more than four attempts.
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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by grizzlybear06 » Mon May 04, 2020 4:53 pm

I think the view that either you get on or have nothing discounts the achievements and experiences of lots of lovely and talented people. Some of the best CBT practitioners I know wanted to get on the CP course initially and didn’t even apply because they found CBT. Some of my friends have done PhDs or became Mental Health Nurses or are bringing their knowledge of psychological ways of thinking to the civil service and making considerable sums. Hardly left with nothing.

Me personally, I’m one of these “disadvantaged students” you speak of. I went to a poly uni and the senior lecturer on day one clearly told us we’d be lucky if 5 people in the room of 100 went on to become CPs - hardly fooling us.
Yes, I did have a couple of stressful years as a support worker and work as a PWP is stressful for everyone. I also have considerable debt from my MSc. However, these are the years that have made me who I am today. I like this person.I’m also more resilient. Whilst I am lucky to have been able to get a place this year, I don’t believe I’d have been left with nothing if I hadn’t have gotten one. I like the person the pursuit of a career in psychology has made me and that is enough for me.

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Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by miriam » Mon May 04, 2020 6:27 pm

grizzlybear06 wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 4:53 pm
I think the view that either you get on or have nothing discounts the achievements and experiences of lots of lovely and talented people. Some of the best CBT practitioners I know wanted to get on the CP course initially and didn’t even apply because they found CBT. Some of my friends have done PhDs or became Mental Health Nurses or are bringing their knowledge of psychological ways of thinking to the civil service and making considerable sums. Hardly left with nothing.

Me personally, I’m one of these “disadvantaged students” you speak of. I went to a poly uni and the senior lecturer on day one clearly told us we’d be lucky if 5 people in the room of 100 went on to become CPs - hardly fooling us.
Yes, I did have a couple of stressful years as a support worker and work as a PWP is stressful for everyone. I also have considerable debt from my MSc. However, these are the years that have made me who I am today. I like this person.I’m also more resilient. Whilst I am lucky to have been able to get a place this year, I don’t believe I’d have been left with nothing if I hadn’t have gotten one. I like the person the pursuit of a career in psychology has made me and that is enough for me.
Well said!

I definitely get more joy in the process and the impact of my work on others than from the salary or perceived status - otherwise I'd have taken a head of service job in the NHS or clinical director job in the private sector, rather than following a path that has been more challenging and earned less than my NHS salary for the last decade!
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

Ran
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:32 pm

Re: What was the point in studying psychology?

Post by Ran » Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:36 pm

I don't know what it is like to be the majority of people who get on two or three years after graduation (they must be incredibly academically gifted - which I am definitely not!) but I do think those of us on the longer road to get to doctorate level or equivalent need perspective. One perspective is that taken by the OP, which is perfectly valid given the frustrations and feelings of rejection and shame (I know all about this). So long as that isn't held onto, a lot of what he said above I disagree with. I prefer to see career options much more broadly than just doing a doctorate, there's so many opportunities I might miss if I had that sort of tunnel vision!

I mean I am so talented (like many of the psychology graduates I've met/worked with), I know most psychology graduates would be an asset to any service or organisation they work for. But I keep CP as an option because I love psychology so much and that's what keeps me going. I disagree with the idea that others would do it for money or prestige because psychologists are generally paid less for their level of responsibility at all levels and are not always seen as hugely influential. I think the field of CP misses out on tons of intelligent and talented people because of the terribly flawed selection process for the doctorate, but hey that's not my problem right now!

Maybe I will agree with some of the qualified members here if I get onto a doctorate course and am on the other side. But the path to getting there is about the ups and downs and those who take longer to get onto the doctorate are probably better prepared with more maturity, further qualifications, life experience, experience of overcoming adversity, etc. (from what trainee/qualified CPs have told me).

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