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grad school and PhD in psychology

mikeyguynnmikeyguynn 3 replies3 threads New Member
I am researching grad schools right now and careers. Here are my ideas and I would appreciate any advice any psychology students/professionals may have for me.

I am very interested in how the brain works and how perception=reality. In addition, I am interested in working with patients as a therapist (not a psychiatrist because I do not like the bio-psycho model). For a time I wondered if I should do psychiatry because they learn extensively about neurology, but I do not like their treatment model. I know that famous MFTs like Carl Whitaker were once psychiatrists, so I could still do therapy as one, but I'm not sure if I should dedicate all that time in med school just to practice something I wasn't trained to do (non medical therapy).
So after some consideration I think I want to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology because it seems like they are able to work in a number of different psychological disciplines, but I don't know a ton about that career yet.

My interests are dream studies, psychedelic studies, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation studies, craniotomy studies, neuroplasticity, art therapy, and I like to travel so maybe psychology-oriented missions like doctors without borders.

Ive talked to some psychologists that recomend getting a masters degree before a PhD, so I think I'd probably get that in marriage and family therapy.

Also something I've been considering is doing grad school in germany because of the fantastic psychological programs and free tuition (for public schools at least).

I know this is sort of ambivalent, but if anyone has any advice on any of these topics (getting a PhD, clinical psychology, neuroscience, studying in a foreign country, grad school in general) I would greatly appreciate it!

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Replies to: grad school and PhD in psychology

  • juilletjuillet 12849 replies165 threads Super Moderator
    If you *know* that you want to get a PhD in clinical psychology, I don't necessarily recommend getting a master's first. PhD programs are usually funded - meaning your tuition and fees are covered and you get a stipend to support living expenses. Master's programs will cause you to incur debt.

    So I'd only get a master's degree if you need one to prepare you for a PhD program, and I'd say you only probably need that if you want to show that you are capable of higher performance as a graduate student and/or if you need research experience and have no other way of getting it. (You could also practice as a therapist with a master's, but you sound interested in research.)

    Based on your interests, you'll probably want to look at PhD programs in clinical psychology at places where there are also have strong neuroscience programs (either in that department or across other departments at the university).

    Craniotomy is unlikely to be a big research area for psychologists since they are not surgeons, but clinicians may study psychological effects of craniotomies, and neuroscientists would certainly study this area.
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  • mikeyguynnmikeyguynn 3 replies3 threads New Member
    thank you for your response. That is very helpful.
    I am interested in both therapy and neuroscience, because it seems that with both I'll be able to more fully understand the brain. It seems that clinical psychology is a good way to do both, am I right?
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  • MWolfMWolf 2982 replies14 threads Senior Member
    A PhD in clinical psychology would allow you to work in therapy and do research in Neuroscience. If that is your chosen direction, than doing a masters would not be useful, since that PhD would allow you to work as a therapist. In general, based on what you wrote here, doing a masters is likely not the best path to follow, unless your CV is on the weak side.

    You should probably look at grad schools which have a strong research psychology program and a good neuroscience program.

    Have you looked at potential grad schools yet?

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  • mikeyguynnmikeyguynn 3 replies3 threads New Member
    Yes I have looked at two schools in Germany. Freie Universität Berlin and LMU Munich. Other than that I have not looked at schools in America. I'm not really sure where to start.
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  • juilletjuillet 12849 replies165 threads Super Moderator
    Where do you eventually want to practice therapy?
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  • brantlybrantly 4379 replies79 threads Senior Member
    edited June 27
    mikeyguynn wrote: »
    Yes I have looked at two schools in Germany. Freie Universität Berlin and LMU Munich. Other than that I have not looked at schools in America. I'm not really sure where to start.

    If you want to practice in the U.S., you have to have a degree from an APA-accredited program (for most states). Requirements to sit for the licensing exam in each state differ. Here's the relevant info from APA:
    In the United States, the legal basis for licensure lies in the right of the state, province or territory to enact legislation to protect its citizens — in other words, to identify qualified practitioners. The education and training of psychologists around the world varies greatly both in terms of the nomenclature of the university qualification (e.g. diploma, license, masters, candidate and so on), and also in terms of length and content of university curricula contributing to professional qualification. At present, there is no international recognition of equivalence of degrees or in professional psychology qualifications.

    It is important to research and contact the board of psychology in the state you are interested in practicing for information on education, supervised experience, and examinations. In some states, attendance at an APA-accredited program is required. Most states in the U.S. have a section of the law that applies to individuals who receive their education and training outside the U.S. State boards can also provide advice on transcript and credential evaluation.
    https://www.apa.org/support/us
    edited June 27
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  • MWolfMWolf 2982 replies14 threads Senior Member
    It seems that you have pretty wide interests, from psychology to neurobiology. You may have to narrow your interests down before looking for a program. At least figure out whether you are more interested in the psychology and psychotherapy side (like art therapy), of the neurobiology and more medical intervention (like craniotomy), or studies which are less about therapy, and more basic research(like neuroplasticity).

    It's great that so much about the fields interest you, but try to focus it down a little more. There are 200 research universities in the USA where you could do a PhD, so to narrow your selection down to 10, you also need to narrow down what you want to research somewhat.
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  • mikeyguynnmikeyguynn 3 replies3 threads New Member
    the united states I think
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  • juilletjuillet 12849 replies165 threads Super Moderator
    Then I'll echo brantly and say that you're going to want to get your PhD in the U.S. (or Canada). Most states in the U.S. require that you have attended an APA-accredited program, as they stated, to get licensed.

    You can search accredited programs here: https://apps.apa.org/accredsearch/
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