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Psychology

Hi there,

This is a really great thread. Thank you so much for creating it!

At which point of your study do you actually learn skills such as counselling techniques? I'd presume the masters component and the internship?

Cheers :)
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
Hi there,

This is a really great thread. Thank you so much for creating it!

At which point of your study do you actually learn skills such as counselling techniques? I'd presume the masters component and the internship?

Cheers :)

Oof, now you’re testing my memory! We certainly learned the theory of clinical psychology, diagnosis, and treatment modalities from first year (CBT, DBT, structured clinical interviews, standardised assessments, etc), but didn’t start doing until maybe third year for cognitive assessments (practicing on each other), and honours and masters for counselling techniques. I know this specifically ramped up in first year clinical masters and it was a bit overwhelming to start with! I do distinctly remember that! There were only nine of us, and the lecturer went around the class getting us to attempt to explain anxiety and we all tried waaaaay too hard! Haha! She just wanted a fight or flight type sentence that would be appropriate for introducing the concept to a patient, it was seriously a decade ago now and I remember the panic so vividly 😂

That said, it’s possible the curriculum has changed a bit since I went through. In undergrad we covered things like:
Cell biology of nerves
Neuroanatomy (though this ramped up more in honours and masters)
Autonomic nervous system
The history of psychology (Freud/Skinner/Jung etc)
Intro to clinical psychology identification and differential diagnosis (DSM/ICD etc) and treatment
Cognitive psychology and behaviour change
Developmental psychology
Behavioural psychology
Health psychology
Social psychology (I hated this in Uni and absolutely love it now!!)
Forensic psychology (including psychopathy and paraphilias)
Learning and skilled performance
Statistics and research methods (lots of this extending from intro level through to advanced by honours/masters)
Dreaming and altered states of consciousness
Language development
Memory and cognition (physiology and assessment)
Neuropsychology (dementia, MS, TBI, stroke, etc)
Trauma and PTSD
Child psychology
Older persons psychology
Ethics
 

Kh4b1b

Lurker
Hello! Seeking some career advice. I’m a dental student and a BPsySc (online) student, 1 year remaining for both degrees. Not overly passionate about dent (originally a backup), but really enjoying psych. I sat the GAMSAT this year out of the blue and came out with a happy score! I frequently have career crises and conflicts so I’m really just trying to weight out my options. Psychology or Psychiatry?

My interests are mental health, family & marriage, social psych, addiction, even philosophical perspectives around these issues... social philosophy is a key one. And just really studying the human being holistically. I like the idea of research & prevention & education as much as the individualised clinical work. I guess I know what I like and want to do… just don’t know how to go about it or which path to pursue!

If anyone can help, what are the pros and cons of psychology & psychiatry? Lifestyle, nature of work, knowledge base, remuneration & work-life balance etc.

I've thought of pursuing clinical psychology all the way, while working PT as a dentist (is this manageable?). Would love to get into academia and teaching as well as clinical & community outreach. Curious about the training process for clinical psych, I know some unis offer online post-grad options but how do the placements work? Is it a heavy load?

On the other hand psychiatry is appealing, seems quite flexible. And good compensation - I assume it's possible to work 2-3 days clinical and leave the rest of the week for other things. Just considering if it is worth pursuing med school though - best case scenario full rego in 11 years time... My friend claims private psychiatrists can do everything a clinical psych, and that it covers my goals - not sure if true. This path does look like plenty of clinical training and experience.

Maybe my perceptions of each aren’t 100% accurate. Which career do you think has more impact? Any advice or insight into the job or pursuit or lifestyle of either will be met with much appreciation!
 

potatochip

Lurker
I also have a similar question to Kh4b1b. I deferred my MD studies at the start of this year to start a bachelor of psychology, a result of much indecision about whether medicine was the best route for me. Like Kh4b1b I am trying to choose between clinical psychology and psychiatry and would appreciate any insights comparing the two professions (e.g. differences in remuneration, demands, intensiveness of study). As a note, my only incentive for studying medicine would be to pursue psychiatry, as I do not have a strong interest in physiology and anatomy.

I've heard that earning a place in a clinical psychology masters program is currently more competitive than earning a place in a MD / MBBS program due to a bottle neck in the number of students studying undergrad psychology degrees vs. the number of clinical psychology masters places that are actually available. Of course, I'm not sure how reliable this information is and whether it generalises to other states etc.
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
I've heard that earning a place in a clinical psychology masters program is currently more competitive than earning a place in a MD / MBBS program due to a bottle neck in the number of students studying undergrad psychology degrees vs. the number of clinical psychology masters places that are actually available. Of course, I'm not sure how reliable this information is and whether it generalises to other states etc.
I plan to provide a proper response to this (as much as I can, anyway) when I have a solid amount of time to do so but just popping by now to say this is definitely consistent to what I’ve heard. The year I applied to my course (ages ago now) 66 were interviewed and 9 were accepted. Many hundreds applied.
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
If anyone can help, what are the pros and cons of psychology & psychiatry? Lifestyle, nature of work, knowledge base, remuneration & work-life balance etc.

I can't really provide detailed information on the psychiatry side of things, as I'm only 3 years into a med degree, but I have ~10 years experience as a post grad psych student and then a clinical psychologist, so the following information is from that perspective.

Pros of Clinical Psychology
Super varied scope of practice (education, health, government and policy, rehab, child and adolescent, family <-- HUGE scope for this due to shortage of practitioners and a population crying out for help, older adults, hospital-based, private practice, assessment and diagnosis, specialist services like eating disorders, ASD, ADHD, sexual health, acute inpatients, alcohol and drug, trauma, migrant/refugee health, functional neurological disorders, chronic health)
Very fair renumeration (private practice in particular can be quite lucrative, I work in the public sector and my wage is well above the community average for where I live. On the first page of this thread, I remember posting links regarding renumeration for psychologists)
Very flexible work opportunities (at one point I was working across three areas at my own choosing to get exposure to a huge range of presentations.
Great for work/life balance (at another point I was working 4 days a week by choice and was still financially very comfortable).
Huge scope for research (psychologists are looked upon very favourably by research teams due to our extensive experience relative to other allied health and even medical training pathways).
Access to medicare rebates (extended this year to 20 sessions per Mental Health Care Plan)

Cons of Clinical Psychology
I'd imagine these are VERY individualised. For example, private practice holds NO appeal for me whatsoever, whereas others would want to do nothing else.
Very occasional difficulties being taken seriously as a professional. This happens so rarely in my experience, now. And it's not so much about being thought of as a quack science, but more being dismissed generally/vaguely. And like I said, this is so rarely the case anymore, but does pop up every now and then.

For the Psychiatry side of things, I recommend the following link: http://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=592422288299180&ref=watch_permalink
 

emily2222

Lurker
Hey guys, desperately looking for some advice..
I got an offer for WSU, and am now terrified. I just finished my second year of psyc at ANU, and the other option is to finish my degree here and then apply for post grad.
I love my job here and could qualify myself a bit more this year (plus have a degree) so that I could feel more comfortable studying medicine, but the big risk is obviously that I wouldn't get another chance. I guess my main questions are, is my degree worth finishing? And how important do you think setting your lifestyle up for the 4-5 years of study is?
I'm so grateful for my offer and biggest apologies if this frustrates anyone!
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
Hey guys, desperately looking for some advice..
I got an offer for WSU, and am now terrified. I just finished my second year of psyc at ANU, and the other option is to finish my degree here and then apply for post grad.
I love my job here and could qualify myself a bit more this year (plus have a degree) so that I could feel more comfortable studying medicine, but the big risk is obviously that I wouldn't get another chance. I guess my main questions are, is my degree worth finishing? And how important do you think setting your lifestyle up for the 4-5 years of study is?
I'm so grateful for my offer and biggest apologies if this frustrates anyone!

Hello! Congrats on your offer. I’ve written a bit on page 1 of this thread about the pros and cons of psychology as a ‘pre-med’ degree so have a look through that. I’m a Clin Psych myself and about to start 4th year Med so am happy to help.

My first question would be to help clarify your options: do WSU allow you to defer your offer?
 

emily2222

Lurker
Hello! Congrats on your offer. I’ve written a bit on page 1 of this thread about the pros and cons of psychology as a ‘pre-med’ degree so have a look through that. I’m a Clin Psych myself and about to start 4th year Med so am happy to help.

My first question would be to help clarify your options: do WSU allow you to defer your offer?
Thank you so much for replying! I think it is, but I'm not certain; I am waiting for a response from admissions. Thank you for the pros and cons, it's definitely on my mind that the 3 year psyc is very unspecific! I guess I want to know if having *a* degree is better than 2 years unfinished in the long run, and if it's worth the risk of not getting into medicine again. I think if I'm honest I'm mostly terrified to spend the next 5 years in GWS, I'm from rural NSW and only moved to Canberra 6 months ago and have really settled. But then again, I don't want to let an opportunity go because it's uncomfortable. Sorry this sounds so wussy!
 

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LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
Look, to be honest, I’d say having 2 or 3 years of an undergrad psychology degree under your belt isn’t going to make much of a difference. I wouldn’t give up a place in medicine to do third year as the benefit wouldn’t outweigh the cost, imo. The most useful** aspects of my psychology background have definitely been the post-graduate plus parts (placements and then actual employment).

That said, if WSU allow you to defer to finish, then it’s not a bad thing to consider as it would give you the option of going straight back into honours if you started Med, decided it wasn’t for you, and you wanted to go back to pursuing psychology as a career. I mean, you could also go back and finish third year in this situation, but I personally think I’d find that harder to justify than leaving Med to do honours if faced with that decision! Even though it would all even out in the end!

Long story short, though, it’s probably best to wait until you’ve heard back from WSU re. deferral options as then you will at least know where you stand.

** when I say ‘most useful’ I mean really, really, really incredibly useful!! The undergrad parts were still helpful but it was the latter years that were the most useful and in a really substantial way, if that makes sense!! Psychology is definitely a good overall option for an undergrad!
 

emily2222

Lurker
Look, to be honest, I’d say having 2 or 3 years of an undergrad psychology degree under your belt isn’t going to make much of a difference. I wouldn’t give up a place in medicine to do third year as the benefit wouldn’t outweigh the cost, imo. The most useful aspects of my psychology background have definitely been the post-graduate plus parts (placements and then actual employment).

That said, if WSU allow you to defer to finish, then it’s not a bad thing to consider as it would give you the option of going straight back into honours if you started Med, decided it wasn’t for you, and you wanted to go back to pursuing psychology as a career. I mean, you could also go back and finish third year in this situation, but I personally think I’d find that harder to justify than leaving Med to do honours if faced with that decision! Even though it would all even out in the end!

Long story short, though, it’s probably best to wait until you’ve heard back from WSU re. deferral options as then you will at least know where you stand.
Thanks again, and they just got back to me - no deferrals.
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
Thanks again, and they just got back to me - no deferrals.

Ahh, right... well then...

I’d fall back to my first point that 3 years is not going to be hugely more beneficial to you than 2 years from an academic point of view BUT, you also need to consider the personal implications and what is ‘right’ for you on that front at this time point (moving, employment, finances, family, social) as those factors are just as important. I’m more than happy to hash this out with you further if you have questions!
 

emily2222

Lurker
Ahh, right... well then...

I’d fall back to my first point that 3 years is not going to be hugely more beneficial to you than 2 years from an academic point of view BUT, you also need to consider the personal implications and what is ‘right’ for you on that front at this time point (moving, employment, finances, family, social) as those factors are just as important. I’m more than happy to hash this out with you further if you have questions!
Okay, thank you for the advice that's really helpful!

Well I mean, I have a place to live sorted, but none of the rest. It seems trivial to make any decisions based on that, but I am a little worried about balancing it all and still being happy in my 20's. I know that I want it, but I also want to do it the right way so it's sustainable. As a med student yourself, would you take the offer or risk it?
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
Okay, thank you for the advice that's really helpful!

Well I mean, I have a place to live sorted, but none of the rest. It seems trivial to make any decisions based on that, but I am a little worried about balancing it all and still being happy in my 20's. I know that I want it, but I also want to do it the right way so it's sustainable. As a med student yourself, would you take the offer or risk it?

I’m in a bit of a different position to you as I was a fair bit older at the time of my Med application and had been working as a Clin Psych for a number of years already, so it’s hard for me to say! I spent most of my 20s swanning about Europe, Africa, and North America and regret none of it but that was a very different era of global health so I’m not sure I can add much!

That said, I was so determined to Med ‘my way’ that I didn’t even apply to more than a single university to start with because I wasn’t in a position to move/leave my job/family etc. I was fortunate to land a spot at that uni (it meant I didn’t have to move/leave my job, etc) and so didn’t have to face the questions you’re now facing.

BUT... I also know Med offers don’t grow on trees and giving yours away could be something you go on to regret. I guess you need to weigh that possibility up against the risks of doing it now.
 

LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
I'm hesitant to do psych as there is no guarantee that I will end up becoming a registered psychologist :(

This is absolutely a fair enough concern. The pathway to a Clinical masters is extremely competitive. That said, I can see an increase in places on the horizon given the recent move to 20 mental health care plan sessions in a year. The waitlist for private psychology in Tassie can be up to six months at the moment and there are places recruiting left right and centre. The job market itself is excellent, it’s the training pathway that’s causing the issues at the moment. Hopefully it has improved by the time you’d be looking at post grad, but it’s sensible to be aware of the issues, for sure.
 
Hi,

I am currently a Year 12 school leaver revaluating my options to what undergrad degree other than med I should pursue. I have always been interested in Psychology so I naturally chose to look into the courses available to me. What I found was quite perplexing. Most unis (UNSW, Macquarie and WSU) preference that there is a guaranteed honours component to their pure Bachelor of Psychology degrees but USYD does not, even though it's the whole 4 years. My question would be, (assuming that the USYD degree does not have guaranteed Honours) how difficult would it be to pursue the Honours component at USYD (or any other uni) as a ratio? Also, is there any discernible differences between the universities in Sydney that offer Psychology that could potentially affect job opportunities/future practice as a Clinical Psychologist?
 

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LMG!

MBBS V (omg)
Administrator
I’m not from Sydney so can’t really comment on the job opportunity side of things except to say I’d imagine it’s similar to other areas and there is high demand everywhere. The uni you graduate from makes little difference as far as I’m aware, especially the uni you graduate from for the undergraduate/honours portion of the career pathway.

The key thing is recognising that the 4 year undergrad/honours or combined degree isn’t what makes you a psychologist. It’s the postgraduate part, so you need to make sure whatever degree you choose has a fourth year component that meets pre-requisites for obtaining entry into a masters or doctorate level program, which is where you can register as a (provisional) psychologist with a view to eventual general registration down the track and then specialist clinical registration even further along the line.

Registration as a general psychologist and then a specialist is a longer process than most people (me included back in the day) initially seem to understand.
 

JeydinNewWon

Regular Member
Hi, there! So correct me if I'm wrong from this thread, LMG!, but it seems you have stated that becoming a Clinical Psychologist doesn't necessarily entail having to study Undergraduate Psychology, am I correct in this? And apparently it's just as, if not, more competitive than Medicine to get into Postgrad and then start working as a Psychologist. Am I able to study another degree, say, Computer Science or Pharmacy which are two potential interests of mine, then also apply for Postgrad later? Or am I wrong in this?
 

moonlight15

JMP UON I
Hi, there! So correct me if I'm wrong from this thread, LMG!, but it seems you have stated that becoming a Clinical Psychologist doesn't necessarily entail having to study Undergraduate Psychology, am I correct in this? And apparently it's just as, if not, more competitive than Medicine to get into Postgrad and then start working as a Psychologist. Am I able to study another degree, say, Computer Science or Pharmacy which are two potential interests of mine, then also apply for Postgrad later? Or am I wrong in this?

I had a look at the UNSW and USYD's master of clinical psychology pages and both require having completed a 4 undergraduate degree in psychology. I assume this is the same across all Universities.

Source:
Master of Clinical Psychology
Master of Psychology (Clinical)
 

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