The Downside of Having a Psychology Degree

psychpost | 11/08/2011 05:18:00 AM
 This is an interesting post I read on a fellow Psychology blogger website. Source: youshouldreadmyblog

The dark side of having a psychology degree may surprise you, perhaps because psychology is used in everyday life by more than just the people professionally trained in that field. We use psychology to communicate with others, to make smarter decisions, and to see beneath the surface of things. But it comes with its downsides. 



 1. Trouble in Intimate Relationships

There seems to be a general consensus, according to a number of studies ranging from the mid-80s to the present that mental health employees tend to be crazier than the rest of us. Evidence of an elevated amount of substance abuse issues, suicide, and mental health problems among professionals in the field of psychology is more than modest. There’s also the fact that most given reasons for becoming immersed in psychology involves some sort of childhood trauma/tragedy, or a sick need to feel needed/thumb the nose at others. This type of knowledge isn’t exactly attractive, nor is it encouraging to potential suitors interested in dating someone who happens to have a psychology degree.

Not only may the person with the psychology degree be (sometimes wrongly) prematurely judged, but the degree might make their date suspicious or wary in a relationship — especially in an argument. Hidden motives, over-analysis, and manipulation are all common accusations a person with a psychology degree may have to face from their significant other. On top of this, an individual with the degree may harshly scrutinize every potential suitor to a fault: no one examines a person’s flaws like the psychologist.


2. Constantly Dealing With Misery

Psychologists are constantly dealing with issues; no one’s paying over $100 an hour to talk about how gosh-darn lucky and happy they are all the time. No one’s awkwardly sitting in some strange, impersonal office once a week just to brag to a stranger about how great life has gotten. People go to therapy to cry, to vent their anger and frustration, to find answers regarding the tough and tragic elements of their lives, and to seek guidance in hard times. Commonly treated ailments are depression, anxiety, OCD, and other illnesses which can be mild enough to live with but severe enough to need help.
Being surrounded by all that sadness must get to a person every once in a while. It must be somewhat discouraging to constantly have to listen to the trials of another person’s life. Not only that, but many psychologists work in mental health facilities, hospitals, or other places which house those with special needs. Facilities full of physically and mentally sick individuals who are kept somewhat like scheduled animals, milling around unhappily, are not places which should be made into a frequent hang out. Many doctors face depressing and often hopeless problems from tens of individuals on a daily basis.

3. Free Therapy for All Your Friends

A person with a psychology degree may be the go-to advice-giver for a few reasons. Foremost would be the degree itself; who is more qualified to advise on a relationship issue or family problem than your shrink pal? Being bombarded with the issues of friends can be annoying, and a huge test of patience. Not only does the psychologist not plan to give free sessions to a person just because of their relationship as friends, but the shrink may just want to relax with friends and enjoy a break from their job.
It’s also wise to separate the job from the companions for another reason: when people ask for an opinion, they sometimes receive more than they bargained. Brutal honesty or a blunt, unwanted opinion may hurt a friend’s feelings. Most would say that in this case, the person asking would be at fault, however it’s always good to avoid a potentially negative situation.

4. Coming From a Dysfunctional Family

2005 Study came up with the most prominent recorded reasons for becoming a psychologist:

  • A social outcast as a child, the subject began wanting/needing to heal oneself and others
  • Painful or traumatic events as a child created a “heightened awareness of inner events and a strong need to heal oneself and others.”
  • Wanting to feel needed by patients out of fear or a feeling of impotency
  • Emotionally demanding parents forced their child to develop a heightened awareness of emotional signals and behaviors.
  • Therapist developed a need to nurture others due to a cut-off childhood which forced the individual to grow up fast and care for others at a young age
  • The person wants to feel better than others by scrutinizing their flaws
·         Most of these reasons would imply that the individual has grown up in a dysfunctional household. Psychology is a great field to pursue, both for the money and the implications of helping others improve their lives — but its price may be that the nurturer or caretaker feels to be such because of past trauma or sadness.

Most of these reasons would imply that the individual has grown up in a dysfunctional household. Psychology is a great field to pursue, both for the money and the implications of helping others improve their lives — but its price may be that the nurturer or caretaker feels to be such because of past trauma or sadness.

So you’ve got a psychology degree, that’s great! You’re on the path to helping hundreds of people deal with their mental and emotional issues — whether it be something serious such as Bipolar Disorder or OCD, or simpler problems like fighting the urge to tell a nagging mother-in-law where to stick it. Helping people always feels great, but there are a few dangers that having a psychology degree poses to your everyday life..


PHOTO SOURCE 1: flickr
PHOTO SOURCE 2: flickr

12 responses to "The Downside of Having a Psychology Degree"

  1. I actually saved this page because I liked it so much man. I can see these draw backs would be difficult, I hope it doesn't wear too much on you buddy. Nice post, it's surprisingly satisfying to see there are some downsides to be honest buddy.

  2. interesting! good psychology blog!

  3. Yeah, this does seem like it could be an issue!

  4. This is a pretty damn close copy of a post from www.youshouldreadmyblog.com ... made about a month before this. O.o

  5. yes, his i have his link at the top of the page lol

  6. I'm a psychologist and do not feel represented by this post, as I am not a clinical psychologist. At all.

  7. Ethically, psychologists are not allowed to counsel friends or family due to conflict of interest. They can do the friend thing and listen, but not professional counselling. If talking gets too serious, they can recommend someone else to their friend. But I agree, separating job and life would be difficult sometimes.

    Processing the content of clients problems does get overwhelming and lead to burnout, however, psychologists are encouraged to have their own counselling sessions in order to deal with this. All the while maintaining confidentiality of course.

    The role of a psychologist is not meant to be examining flaws. They have to be open-minded and accepting. That is the only effective way to counsel. Therefore, it seems like in a relationship they would hold these same attributes. Although I agree that the misconception that a psychologist is forever analysing others in a relationship is very prevalent and hard to overcome when trying to initiate friendships or close bonds as it may make them wary.

  8. Woh I love your posts, saved to bookmarks!

  9. Anonymous | March 1, 2012 at 8:54 AM says:

    This is largely untrue and represents a very narrow view of psychology. It sounds like someone wrote this who either has no boundaries, no actual experience or a really poor attitude. Regarding "constantly dealing with misery"; it's fair to say that a lot of what we (clinicians) deal with is problematic elements in peoples's life, but to avoid talking about the successful moments of session-work is plain poor (unless of course you don't see success or can't see the importance of being a part of someone's most intimate exploration of the self.

  10. Anonymous | March 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM says:

    The fact that you think having a psychology degree increases the likelihood of all these things shows me that you failed to understand some very fundamental aspects of statistics.

  11. Anonymous | March 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM says:

    The fact that you think having a psychology degree increases the likelihood of all these things shows me that you failed to understand some very fundamental aspects of statistics.

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