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KansasTherapist
KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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I am a student at a community college and i have an essay due...but

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I am a student at a community college and i have an essay due...but before that i have to interview someone that already works in the career i chose... i have some questions ready
* How did you decide on this career?
*Is this job emotionally tought? physically?
*What type of situations do you run into as a psychologist?
*What are some of the drawbacks when starting a career as a psychologist?
*How do you fell about the earnings in psychology?
*What advice would you give to someone planning on taking up the same career as you?
*What are the top five skills you have acquired through your psychology major?
*Can you give me a word of your wisdom?
*How do your balance work and personal time?
* What kind of degrees would i need?
I have a BA in psychology and a masters in social work, so hopefully my answers will work for
I decided I wanted a career in mental health when I was in high school. Understanding people's thoughts and feelings was very interesting to me. The more I learned about it the more interested I was.

I would say it is an emotionally tough job, some days more than others. There are times when I get to witness people making huge progress toward having happy lives and other days when clients take their anger out on me. The worst day I ever had was when the mother of my child client committed suicide. The woman was also the client of a coworker, and the whole situation was emotionally overwhelming. Generally, it isn't a physically demanding job, but you do have to take care of your body as you would in any office job.

The situations you would face in a job vary depending on your level of education. At a masters level, working in a group practice, as I do, the job involves spending several hours a day meeting with individuals, couples, and parents with children. We discuss their circumstances, and I listen, support, and make suggestions. The biggest part of it is being completely present for the client, giving them my undivided attention.

If you were to have a Phd in psychology, much of the job involves giving and interpreting psychological testing. You would meet with an individual, give written test that determine their personality or intelligence. There are also more subjective test, such as ink blots, or story pictures.

Drawbacks I see are related mostly to educationally requirements. A person with a bachelors level would be eligible for low paying jobs, working closely with clients as a case manager or youth care worker. A master level would be a therapist in most cases but are allowed to do testing in some states like Kansas. Only after 8 years of education and passing rigorous oral and written tests would you be able to work as an independent practitioner doing testing and therapy in most states. That's a lot of time and money to put into a career before you get started. A big issue for many people in the field is the huge amount of paperwork required for any position at any level. Many jobs require 30 minutes to an hour of paperwork for every hour spent with a client.

There are many professions where people at a masters level make much more money, though a Phd level generally makes a good income.

My advice to someone considering this career is to find a program that gives you as much work experience as possible. Doing the work is the only way to know if it's really what you want to do, and the best way to learn the skills of the job.

The skills I learned are active listening, accepting the client as they are, suspending judgment, positive reframing of the clients own thoughts, and how to do paperwork.

My biggest advice is to learn by doing. Get a job in the field and see what it's like to deal with people experiencing emotional problems every day.

I generally don't have much trouble balancing work and personal time. Paperwork can take up an unreasonable amount of time if you let it. I have learned to limit how much I put into paperwork to only what is necessary.

The degrees you would need depend on what you want to do. With a bachelors in psychology you can find work as I have mentioned at a low level. A masters in a social science field will allow you to work as a therapist. That would be social work, counselor, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist. For clinical psychology, you would need a Phd or a PsyD. With a masters degree you could also teach at the community college level and with a doctorate at the university level.

I hope this is enough information. If this is helpful, please give me a positive rating. If I need to clarify anything, please let me know.
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