Have you always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind? Do you enjoy knowing what makes people tick and the causes of why people do the things they do?
But Psychology is much more than this. So, if you're thinking about studying Psychology here are 10 reasons to help you figure out if it's the right choice for you:
1. Growing need for mental health professionals
The world needs more experts who can understand the human mind. As our world becomes faster, more digitalized and competitive we find it harder to set time for ourselves and our human connections and to maintain a relationship with our inner life. This results in all kinds of symptoms and undesirable behaviours like depression, sleep loss, irritability, anxiety, troubled relationships and much more.
Compared to previous decades, people are more willing to try to overcome these challenges by seeking professional help. Having the right training and accreditation will offer you the knowledge and skills to help heal the world.
2. Understand human diversity and personality types
While studying Psychology, you will learn all about the diversity of human experience. You will learn to differentiate between the different personality types, each with its advantages and challenges. This knowledge will help you understand a multitude of perspective and build up your empathy. Not everyone thinks and feels the same way, and there are countless ways of looking at the world. This will help you not take your own world view for granted, and not judge others for being different.
3. Understand the stages of human development
People behave and need different things both mentally and physically depending on where they are in their lives. Your Psychology studies will teach you the main developmental stages and what individuals tend to need at each particular stage. You’ll find out how important children’s early development is and how it influences later life and behaviour.
This knowledge will help you evaluate if a person is currently “on the right track” in their life, or if some traumatic event or maladaptation is blocking their normal development. You’ll be able to evaluate the mental state of clients and better understand the challenges they are facing.
4. Study Psychology anywhere in the world
Universities across the globe offer plenty of English-taught Psychology degree studies both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. You won’t have to worry about a lack of options. If you find it difficult to decide, here are some of the most popular international destinations for studying Psychology in English:
- Bachelors in Psychology in USA
- Bachelors in Psychology in the UK
- Bachelors in Psychology in Australia
- Bachelors in Psychology in Canada
- Masters in Psychology in USA
- Masters in Psychology in Germany
- Masters in Psychology in Switzerland
- Masters in Psychology in the UK
Also, you might want to check out which are the best universities in the world for studying Psychology according to international rankings.
5. Do your research and stay on top of new discoveries
As a relatively young science, the field of Psychology is constantly evolving, and scientists regularly make new discoveries about the human mind and soul. Part of your studies will require you to become familiarised with research methods while also keeping up to date with the latest developments in the field. New studies about the relationship between the brain and subjective experiences are especially popular. Also, as part of work with your future clients, you will have to do a lot of research into psychological conditions, behaviours and keep your notes well organized.
Here are just a few examples of interesting discoveries in the field of Psychology you may not know about:
- Limiting time on social media increases well-being
- Emotional intelligence outranks cognitive intelligence when it comes to life success
- People are rarely aware of the real reasons for their actions
- Cultural activities reduce depression in people over 50 years old
- Frequent Instagram use is connected with depression symptoms, low self-esteem and anxiety in young women
6. Explore the fascinating world of the unconscious
Our inner life doesn’t always abide by the same rules as our external life. A big part of Psychology is figuring out why we behave the way we do in stressful or specific situations. What are the unconscious processes that seem to overtake us when we least expect it? What are they trying to say about ourselves? What are our dreams trying to say? And what do we need to change to lead a more fulfilling life? By attempting to answer these questions for ourselves and for others we help develop a more conscious way of living and aim to bring more meaning in our lives.
7. Learn to distinguish between severe and mild mental illnesses
There is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding mental illness, and you will need to learn a lot about it to help remove common misconceptions. By understanding the behaviours associated with certain mental conditions you learn to recognize them during your patient practice, and formulate hypotheses based on these insights. This will also help define the limits of what you can do to help. This way, you will know which avenues to explore, which ones to steer away from, and which ones to pay special attention to during your sessions. The more you understand a client’s condition, the more you can help him or her understand themselves and facilitate change and transformation.
In cases of severe mental illness, you will not be equipped to help your clients and it is your responsibility to guide them to see a medical specialist, such as a psychiatrist.
8. Lots of room for specialization and development
There are a lot of paths you can take during your Psychology studies, which will determine what type of psychologist you will become. As a psychologist, you can specialize in one or more psychotherapy schools, each with its own theories and techniques. Generally, the more you read and train on psychology theories the better you will get at your work. The five main categories of psychotherapy include:
- Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies – focusing on treatment with the help of the unconscious and relying a lot on the relationship built between the patient and the therapist. Techniques vary depending on how each type of theory understands what the unconscious is and how it functions.
- Behaviour therapy – focuses a lot on unlearning undesired behaviours and learning new positive ones.
- Cognitive therapy – focuses on changing and correcting the way patients think and relate to their behaviours and thoughts.
- Humanistic therapy – is concerned with empowering individuals to make choices that lead them to realize their maximum potential.
- Integrative therapy – usually using elements from multiple theories, using what they need for each individual case.
9. Great career prospects
Psychology is first and foremost a vocation. But that doesn’t mean your studies won’t also earn you a good living. If you want to practice as a psychologist, you will have to take specialized training (usually at Master’s level) and become a counselling psychologist or a psychotherapist.
Depending on your specialization you can also work as clinical psychologists in hospitals or clinics, evaluating and giving tests to patients in addition to regular sessions, facilitating group therapy, couples therapy, child therapist, individual therapy (one-on-one), therapy using play methods or expressive methods like body movement, and much more.
As a counselling psychologist or psychotherapist, you can work as your own boss, or as part of a team, or join an NGO and be involved in projects that support the mental health of your community. There is a lot of room for creativity and further development.
A Psychology degree can also be useful if you want to pursue a Master’s for a different career which will help you work in Human Resource Management, Education, Social Work, Advertising, Communication, Forensics, Sales, Politics and much more.
10. Keep learning about yourself
You cannot be a good psychologist without getting to know yourself first. Beyond the knowledge you will gather during your studies, you will be challenged to apply everything you learn on yourself.
By taking a good honest look at yourself and your past, you will learn how to really listen to others, how to better express your ideas and emotions, how to have empathy, how to identify what you need and take care of yourself, how to organize your ideas and formulate hypotheses, and understand the healing power that words have.
If you want to be a psychologist, you should be prepared to learn all your life. You can never cover all aspects of human behaviour and the journey to self-discovery never truly ends. You will learn more and more about yourself with each new patient and make a difference in the lives of others.