It’s an interesting time of the year-seasons are changing, we’ll gain an hour, the holidays are fast approaching, and this year the political debates and campaigning are taking over the news and social media. If you have friends that are involved in the psychology and counseling field, you may have seen #thispsychmajor as your scroll along your newsfeed.
Well, it all started with a statement made by Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush. The Washington Examiner reports at a South Carolina appearance Jeb Bush stated, “Universities ought to have skin in the game. When a student shows up, they ought to say ‘Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that’s great, it’s important to have liberal arts … but realize, you’re going to be working [at] a Chick-fil-A.’ ” This did not go over well with many working hard in the field of psychology, psychotherapy, and counseling, and a Twitter campaign began to allow people who majored in psychology to tell the world what they do.
Is that True?!
While his statement came out horribly wrong and has offended many, I think Bush raises some important points to think about. Many students do not understand what career options are out there for psychology majors or the amount of school required to work in the psychology field. At a minimum, you must obtain a Masters degree to become a psychotherapist or counselor, and a Doctorate degree to become a Psychologist. Specific requirements vary from state to state. In Texas, a therapist must earn their Masters, pass a licensing exam, and complete 3,000 hours under supervision as an Intern or Associate, before becoming fully licensed. There are also different licenses, such as Professional Counselors (LPC), Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), Psychologists (LP), and Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) (again, this varies by state).
Many people think of psychology as a liberal art, while there are those defending it as a science. Psychology is defined as the “scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.” To my way of thinking, working in the field of psychology is a balance of art and science. As a therapist, my decisions and knowledge are based in scientific findings, evidence based treatments, and proven effective techniques. However, navigating the complexities of interpersonal relationships is an art, one that takes many years of practice to master.
Furthermore, there are many directions a person can take when working in the field of psychology. I have personally worked in a variety of contexts. In graduate school I worked in retail, which was a wonderful experience and contributed to my overall ability to connect with a variety of people. I completed an internship at a large addiction agency with several government funded programs, and I currently do contract work in nursing homes with residents and their families. In my private practice, I specialize in working with couples facing the scariest times of their lives -infertility, new parenthood, and simply being with their partner- explore their underlying issues and discover that their relationship can be stronger and more amazing than they realized.
Therapists and counselors can help young children from age 3 all the way to old age (my oldest client was 98). You will find that therapists work in a variety of settings, from non-profit agencies, hospitals, the armed forces, the VA, NASA, universities, churches, and private practice. Psychology majors may also go into pastoral counseling, career counseling, church work, community education, writing, coaching, and consulting. Furthermore, almost any behavioral or relational topic that may arise will become a specialty for a therapist to work with. No matter what you’re going through in your life, there’s someone that can help you.
I reached out to other therapists to find out what different kinds of work they do. I got some really awesome responses! I encourage you to check out their websites as there is wonderful information and oftentimes some great freebies (worksheets, newsletters, videos, etc.), as well as very helpful blogs.
What Therapists are Saying
“I work with couples to make their first year or marriage a success - where both partners can feel just as loved, special and appreciated as they did on their wedding day - or more. Getting the start off right, I help couples get through the first bumps in the road so that there is, indeed, a 50th anniversary to celebrate.” – Danka Bogott, MA, LAMFT www.bogottcounseling.com
“#Thispsychmajor is a Psychotherapist with a practice for women in West Columbia, SC. I help unfulfilled, disillusioned, 20-something women get reconnected with their passions and on fire to create a life of purpose and fulfillment.”
– Bethany Williams, LPC-I www.capcounseling.com
“I am a clinical social worker associate with a background in social justice, special education, and community mental health. In my private practice I use EMDR, play therapy, and counseling to help adults overcome chaotic and distressing childhoods, and live in ease and joy in the present. I also provide case management in the form of onsite counseling, and helping people find and use health, financial, social, transportation, and housing resources. – Robin Custer, MSW, LICSWA www.balanceinsight.com
"#ThisPsychMajor helps working women find a healthy life balance amid success, helps teens navigate the rough years, and gives counseling students the guidance and tools for success. I worked fast food once upon a time, but then I gained a master's degree, completed 3000 hours filled with help to others, was awarded my license through the state, and now own my own business helping individuals be a better version of themselves." -Jennifer Hopes, LMFT www.jenniferhopestherapy.com
“I help families heal by giving parents the confidence and skills to be effective guides for their families - without shaming, without guilt, and with healthy strategies for their own care!”
Mercedes Samudio, LCSW, Parent Coach http://theparentingskill.com
“I'm an LMFT, specializing in Couple's work. I wanted to approach couple's therapy by getting specific about how to approach couple's issues. I see couples in preventative stages (adjustment to a new phase of life, such as moving in together, getting engaged, launching children, or just enriching their relationship), reactive stages (communication has derailed, the fights are decreasing intimacy, they aren't on the same page with parenting or finances), and crisis stages (loss of child, infidelity, threat of divorce). I think all couples coping with any level of severity of problems in their can benefit from going to a professional.” - Jessica Heimark, LMFT thecouplesbridge.com
“I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who loves helping women authentically re-find their worthiness and self-love. I believe this healing process impacts and repairs marriages, preps us into whole-hearted parenting, and gives us permission to live with self-determination, purpose and joy.” Cerina Griffin, MFT www.cerinagriffin.com
"As a Certified Gottman Therapist I help couples find the love, affection and connection that got lost along the way. I do this by using science-based skills and tools based on forty-plus-years of couple's research." – Lorena Duncan, LMFT lorenaduncan.com
"I help couples reconnect, build trust, and have better sex lives so they can move on to the best parts of being in a relationship!” Kelly Montgomery, LMFT www.healinghappenstherapy.com
“My specialty is working with dreams, imagery & metaphor to help artists, intuitives & inner seekers access their core wisdom, strength & beauty, so that they can heal trauma, create change in how they walk through the world, & thrive in their work, relationships & existence.” –Renee Beck, LMFT http://www.ReneeBeckMFT.com/therapy-for-alternative-healers/
“Using dreams and metaphor and other Jungian concepts, I help individuals at midlife gain a deep understanding of themselves so they can create a life aligned with their truest nature. My practice includes individuals and couples ("relationship therapy for 1") and those in polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships (open marriages and swingers). – Lourdes Viado, PhD, MFT www.lviadotherapy.com.
"I'm am LMFT in San Diego, CA. My specialty is my approach. I work with individuals & couples using Compassion Based Awareness Therapy, which is a integration of mindfulness, attachment, humanistic & experiential." - Laura Carr, LMFT
"It is my mission as a psychotherapist to help you understand and resolve life's challenges by working together to reduce stress, enhance coping skills, and maintain life balance." - Natalie Jones, LPCC lifetimecounselingandconsulting.com
Not only are therapists moving into a variety of specialties and settings, they are working in non-traditional ways. There are now counselors running groups, workshops, intensives, weekend retreats, and providing online therapy. Whatever it is you are wanting help with, I hope you’ll ask people you know, your existing providers/contacts, and search online. Look for someone that really fits your need, because that person is likely out there and waiting to help you change your life.
I am located in the Clear Lake area of Houston, Tx. I love helping couples transform their relationship in times when challenges can defeat them. Hard times don't have to mean the end of your relationship, but can be the beginning of a deeper more meaningful connection. Call me at (832) 827-3288 for a free phone consultation or sign up for my newsletter below for tips about strengthening your relationship.