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Is it safe to do psychology?

I've found that I have had a keen interest in psychology and neuroscience from quite an early age. It isn't one of those "ever since I could read I have been obsessed with psychology" type of situations but throughout my childhood psychology has genuinely interested me.

But I never really took school too seriously as a means of getting into a particular career... I just got through it really, and in the last months of A-Levels I realised I should start taking it seriously and got A*A*A, took a gap year and now I have an unconditional to study Law at Warwick.

But I'm really questioning things. I'm having some serious doubts. Law is supposedly really hard and my heart isn't fully in it - I'm scared by it and how competitive it is etc. If Psychology / neuroscience wasn't such a 'coffee barrister degree' (as in if you asked what many mid-twenty-year-old costa workers did UG a lot would probably be psychology) then I'd do it.

A possible career path I like to imagine (which is probably very romanticised) is one that leads to me being a psychology professor, or maybe neuroscience, conducting research as part of the job. I'm just scared that it's so oversaturated, like law maybe, but without the great reputation a law degree has... so I'm off put by having ANOTHER gap year to apply for Psychology, or take maths and biology A-Levels for neuroscience where maybe I'll start having doubts again...

If I thought normally, I would probably have another gap year. But I don't... I'm such a doubtful person, that I'm positive that I'd doubt whichever path I take. I doubt everything, from meal deal choices to which shower gel to use (seriously, it takes me ages to decide what to take). I'm even doubting my own doubts, evidently. I just don't know if the doubts are large enough to warrant me not continuing with the degree.

Sorry for the rant.
(edited 1 month ago)

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Original post by helpmeimstucc
I've found that I have had a keen interest in psychology from quite an early age. It isn't one of those "ever since I could read I have been obsessed with psychology" type of situations but throughout my childhood psychology has genuinely interested me.
But I never really took school too seriously as a means of getting into a particular career... I just got through it really, and in the last months of A-Levels I realised I should start taking it seriously and got A*A*A, took a gap year and now I have an unconditional to study Law at Warwick.
But I'm really questioning things. I'm having some serious doubts. Law is supposedly really hard and my heart isn't fully in it - I'm scared by it and how competitive it is etc. If Psychology wasn't such a 'coffee barrister degree' (as in if you asked what many mid-twenty-year-old costa workers did UG a lot would probably be psychology) then I'd do it.
A possible career path I like to imagine (which is probably very romanticised) is one that leads to me being a psychology professor, or maybe even neuroscience, conducting research as part of the job. I'm just scared that it's so oversaturated, like law maybe, but without the great reputation a law degree has... so I'm off put by having ANOTHER gap year to apply for Psychology, where maybe I'll start having doubts again...
If I thought normally, I would probably have another gap year. But I don't... I'm such a doubtful person, that I'm positive that I'd doubt whichever path I take. I doubt everything, from meal deal choices to which shower gel to use (seriously, it takes me ages to decide what to take). I'm even doubting my own doubts, evidently. I just don't know if the doubts are large enough to warrant me not continuing with the degree.
Sorry for the rant.

For whatever it is worth from me.

I think these are sensible thoughts and need careful planning.

Psychology as an undergraduate degree is (or was) a fairly wide spanning degree. In that I know several primary school teachers that added the PGCE and became teachers but I'm not sure that's what they wanted.

Specifically, if we look to what we want to do with any degree it ultimately shapes choices.
If you want to be a practicing clinical or forensic psychologist, this is highly highly competitive as it comes with band 6 training contracts, you don't "need" a masters degree but almost all do and almost all have been assistant psychologists whilst waiting for a training place. Assistant psychologists posts in the NHS are often closed in 24 hours due to the sheer number of applicants. I say this not to put you off but it IS a reality.

Then as you say there's the academic aspect which has its own version that I'm not as familiar with. When you say a professor though, are you american? As thats like "sir" in the states whereas in the UK its the highest possible academic qualification granted by an institution. I mean, go you if its the latter, but get through phase one first! Neuropsychology and Neuroscience overlap but they arent exactly the same. Neuroscience has its own degree and postgraduate program. Have you considered medicine?
Original post by wanga_wanga
For whatever it is worth from me.
I think these are sensible thoughts and need careful planning.
Psychology as an undergraduate degree is (or was) a fairly wide spanning degree. In that I know several primary school teachers that added the PGCE and became teachers but I'm not sure that's what they wanted.
Specifically, if we look to what we want to do with any degree it ultimately shapes choices.
If you want to be a practicing clinical or forensic psychologist, this is highly highly competitive as it comes with band 6 training contracts, you don't "need" a masters degree but almost all do and almost all have been assistant psychologists whilst waiting for a training place. Assistant psychologists posts in the NHS are often closed in 24 hours due to the sheer number of applicants. I say this not to put you off but it IS a reality.
Then as you say there's the academic aspect which has its own version that I'm not as familiar with. When you say a professor though, are you american? As thats like "sir" in the states whereas in the UK its the highest possible academic qualification granted by an institution. I mean, go you if its the latter, but get through phase one first! Neuropsychology and Neuroscience overlap but they arent exactly the same. Neuroscience has its own degree and postgraduate program. Have you considered medicine?

Yeah well what I don't particularly like about psychology is it's wishy-washy theory emphasis, Freudian psychology for example. So Neuroscience is closer to what I'd be really interested in. But it would require me to take Maths and Biology A-Level in the next year (as my first A-Levels were all humanities based), and I would hate it if I did poorly in those subjects (I actually did my best in GCSE Maths and sciences but A-Level is completely different), and if I missed my offers, I'd have to take another year out... at which point I'd probably look back and think "I'd be on my final year doing Law at Warwick by now".

Medicine doesn't really interest me. I'm interested in the brain specifically. I think it's the most amazing structure in the universe - while others stare at the stars I stare at them kind of thing. And yeah I'm British, I know professor would be the end goal, as it's such an achievement and very competitive.

Also, I'm aware that I can have an interest / passion that is outside of work. Maybe my interest in human behaviour can just be kept at that... an evening hobby, while I make money and maintain a stable lifestyle by being a solicitor. But I feel like mainstream culture has rejected that idea: "instead you should follow your interest and make it your entire life, forget about money and stable living, that's materialistic and practically suicide!"
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by helpmeimstucc
Yeah well what I don't particularly like about psychology is it's wishy-washy theory emphasis, Freudian psychology for example. So Neuroscience is closer to what I'd be really interested in. But it would require me to take Maths and Biology A-Level in the next year (as my first A-Levels were all humanities based), and I would hate it if I did poorly in those subjects (I actually did my best in GCSE Maths and sciences but A-Level is completely different), and if I missed my offers, I'd have to take another year out... at which point I'd probably look back and think "I'd be on my final year doing Law at Warwick by now".
Medicine doesn't really interest me. I'm interested in the brain specifically. I think it's the most amazing structure in the universe - while others stare at the stars I stare at them kind of thing. And yeah I'm British, I know professor would be the end goal, as it's such an achievement and very competitive.

hahaha, well....
Mental health on the whole with some exceptions is "soft-evidence" if this feels too "wishy washy" to you then I would not study it. I found this out a little after the fact. Freudian psychoanalysis is important in the history of psychology/psychiatry but does go someway to show what's not repeatable. You have to put things in their time and space though. Of course we now know its mostly horse ****, but we are looking back through what we know now. Psychometrics were practically invented to give the field scientific credence.

Differential diagnosis occurs across medicine/clinical practice but nowhere in the realms of psychiatry/psychology. People will very confidently tell you things that have very little scientific backing to them. A lot of therapeutic modalities, whilst not arguing amongst themselves, often state that a failure in the modality is in the patient.

for example,
SSRIs are only just about a net benefit in depression for the majority of people (severity matters).

When people discuss "adult autism" if you are at all interested and not offended by semantics, have a look at schizoid personality disorder and tell me the difference as to how that looks to the observing clinician. ADHD and ASD are behavioural observational diagnoses after all. Then its chicken and egg does the one qualified in literature first become the standard, are they misdiagnosis? in what direction? Is it burnout or depression/anxiety? does the difference come when people know the "other" diagnoses?

There is neuroscience and genetics (not inc epi here) but none are conclusive or consistent enough to determine diagnosis. Someone recently quoted a ranged of 20-80% in brain imaging, which is way too wide a range to be evidential at this stage. There is no single penetrative gene either. People say a lot and there will be a tik tok "psychologist" backing that (whilst selling something) so even within the departments its potentially getting worse.

When something can mean anything, it means nothing.
Ive gone off on one there.

Theres still more not known about the brain than known, but what IS known is fairly consistent with gyruses and all that jazz.
Reply 4
Original post by helpmeimstucc
Yeah well what I don't particularly like about psychology is it's wishy-washy theory emphasis, Freudian psychology for example. So Neuroscience is closer to what I'd be really interested in. But it would require me to take Maths and Biology A-Level in the next year (as my first A-Levels were all humanities based), and I would hate it if I did poorly in those subjects (I actually did my best in GCSE Maths and sciences but A-Level is completely different), and if I missed my offers, I'd have to take another year out... at which point I'd probably look back and think "I'd be on my final year doing Law at Warwick by now".
Medicine doesn't really interest me. I'm interested in the brain specifically. I think it's the most amazing structure in the universe - while others stare at the stars I stare at them kind of thing. And yeah I'm British, I know professor would be the end goal, as it's such an achievement and very competitive.
Also, I'm aware that I can have an interest / passion that is outside of work. Maybe my interest in human behaviour can just be kept at that... an evening hobby, while I make money and maintain a stable lifestyle by being a solicitor. But I feel like mainstream culture has rejected that idea: "instead you should follow your interest and make it your entire life, forget about money and stable living, that's materialistic and practically suicide!"

The kind of psychology you'd learn on most good uni courses would not be 'wishy-washy theory' - nobody teaches Freud anymore except as a brief bit of historical context. The focus these days is on Psychology as a scientific discipline so more about conducting experiments and other research to test theories. You can actually get a decent amount of neuroscience from a psychology degree too if you pick the right course/uni. Which parts of psychology do you actually like?

Law is not a guaranteed career - getting training contracts post undergrad is very competitive too, so that's something to bear in mind. If you're interested in an academic psychology career (ie eventually becoming a professor, which includes research and teaching) this is, again, competitive, but doable, especially if you can build a good network with lecturers/researchers in the area you're interested in during undergrad - this helps a lot in terms of getting a funded PhD place which would be the first step in academia.

I think a lot of people with Psychology degrees end up not staying in the field not just because it is competitive (clinical or academia) but because it is an extremely popular degree choice and not everyone who picks it is going to end up wanting to stick within what is a fairly narrow career path.
Original post by helpmeimstucc
Yeah well what I don't particularly like about psychology is it's wishy-washy theory emphasis, Freudian psychology for example. So Neuroscience is closer to what I'd be really interested in. But it would require me to take Maths and Biology A-Level in the next year (as my first A-Levels were all humanities based), and I would hate it if I did poorly in those subjects (I actually did my best in GCSE Maths and sciences but A-Level is completely different), and if I missed my offers, I'd have to take another year out... at which point I'd probably look back and think "I'd be on my final year doing Law at Warwick by now".
Medicine doesn't really interest me. I'm interested in the brain specifically. I think it's the most amazing structure in the universe - while others stare at the stars I stare at them kind of thing. And yeah I'm British, I know professor would be the end goal, as it's such an achievement and very competitive.
Also, I'm aware that I can have an interest / passion that is outside of work. Maybe my interest in human behaviour can just be kept at that... an evening hobby, while I make money and maintain a stable lifestyle by being a solicitor. But I feel like mainstream culture has rejected that idea: "instead you should follow your interest and make it your entire life, forget about money and stable living, that's materialistic and practically suicide!"


Uni Psychology student here, most of the time when Freud is brought up he is mentioned as a joke. We use people like him as something to learn from sure but thats the extent of it. I really enjoyed my neuropsychology module, if you take a BPS accredited degree its essential for you to have at least one module on neuropsychology (as well as modules on statistics that help you write your dissertation). A lot of psychology courses allow for flexibility too, lots of module options so you can almost tailor your experience to match your interests.
Original post by Autumn223
Uni Psychology student here, most of the time when Freud is brought up he is mentioned as a joke. We use people like him as something to learn from sure but thats the extent of it. I really enjoyed my neuropsychology module, if you take a BPS accredited degree its essential for you to have at least one module on neuropsychology (as well as modules on statistics that help you write your dissertation). A lot of psychology courses allow for flexibility too, lots of module options so you can almost tailor your experience to match your interests.

Thats disappointing
Original post by wanga_wanga
Thats disappointing


About Freud? Not really, Psychology is a growing field, and although he may have come up with original theories, most of his work is fairly outdated and not widely used. Which in my opinion isn’t a bad thing, there have been far better examples of psychoanalysis since Freud.
Original post by Autumn223
About Freud? Not really, Psychology is a growing field, and although he may have come up with original theories, most of his work is fairly outdated and not widely used. Which in my opinion isn’t a bad thing, there have been far better examples of psychoanalysis since Freud.

attitudinally yes, there are better examples of almost everything in science. Its not to suggest the original theories have weight now.

Psychology is a growing field that's swinging back to qualitative studies but thankfully some attitudes have changed to this.
Original post by wanga_wanga
attitudinally yes, there are better examples of almost everything in science. Its not to suggest the original theories have weight now.
Psychology is a growing field that's swinging back to qualitative studies but thankfully some attitudes have changed to this.


Still don’t see where you pulled disappointing from though? We are after all talking about a man who promoted the use of drugs, defended abuse of children, and was a misogynist. We can learn from people like this sure, but the amount of patients freud had that he didn’t help is shocking, he was also quite the fan of blaming those who had been abused. Psychology has come a long way, just because someone paved the way doesn’t mean we need to celebrate them.
You are better off going into therapy such CBT. You do not take a psychology degree for that.
Original post by random_matt
You are better off going into therapy such CBT. You do not take a psychology degree for that.


Most places that use CBT ask for a degree or equivalent. Many even require postgraduate level.
You do need a degree for this.
Original post by Autumn223
Still don’t see where you pulled disappointing from though? We are after all talking about a man who promoted the use of drugs, defended abuse of children, and was a misogynist. We can learn from people like this sure, but the amount of patients freud had that he didn’t help is shocking, he was also quite the fan of blaming those who had been abused. Psychology has come a long way, just because someone paved the way doesn’t mean we need to celebrate them.

OK
Original post by Autumn223
Most places that use CBT ask for a degree or equivalent. Many even require postgraduate level.
You do need a degree for this.

You dont. You need some proximity but plenty of cbt accredited therapists do not have a relevant degree.
Original post by wanga_wanga
You dont. You need some proximity but plenty of cbt accredited therapists do not have a relevant degree.


Be my guest and check out BABCP guidelines. And despite what different places offer, places will be sought after with those with a relevant degree and training.
Original post by Autumn223
Most places that use CBT ask for a degree or equivalent. Many even require postgraduate level.
You do need a degree for this.

I never said you do not need a degree, I said you do not need a psychology degree.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by random_matt
I never said you do not need a degree, I said you do not need a psychology degree.


Best if you do have a relevant degree, it would be preferable. Especially as there are some psychology degrees in the UK that teach the fundamental of CBT.
Original post by Autumn223
Be my guest and check out BABCP guidelines. And despite what different places offer, places will be sought after with those with a relevant degree and training.

OK.
Are you an undergraduate psychology student?
Have you been in clinical practice?
I'm not sure you should be so sure in what you are.
Original post by wanga_wanga
OK.
Are you an undergraduate psychology student?
Have you been in clinical practice?
I'm not sure you should be so sure in what you are.


Have you actually read any of my comments properly? If you had you would know the answer to the first question. Read the guidelines they aren’t difficult to find, also the OP never even brought up wanting to work in CBT, they brought up neuroscience and teaching, So I’m failing to see the relevance in that.
Original post by Autumn223
Have you actually read any of my comments properly? If you had you would know the answer to the first question. Read the guidelines they aren’t difficult to find, also the OP never even brought up wanting to work in CBT, they brought up neuroscience and teaching, So I’m failing to see the relevance in that.

Yes, I read them properly, "uni psychology student" does not indicate at what level, An undergraduate may not be as sure of themself for how things work post academia. I never introduced CBT into the conversation.
(edited 1 month ago)

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