What made you choose your field of interest?
The main reason I chose Mental Health-Clinical Psychology is that I enjoy helping people, and I have a passion for psychology in general. I am also interested in the physiological changes of depression and anxiety. Another reason why I chose Mental Health is that it is geared toward preventative measures as opposed to medical treatment. There are plenty of opportunities to educate the public on mental health, which appeals to me because I am very vocal about my opinions and want them to be heard by many people. I also enjoy working with different populations such as children, adolescents, or ethnic groups who are underrepresented in mainstream mental health care centers because they allow me to make a difference for underserved populations with limited access until now.
What schooling? What training did you have to complete for your profession?
To effectively complete my career in Mental Health-Clinical Psychology, I had to train in clinical and counseling programs. I started my clinical program in September of 2013, which consisted of 16 weeks-8 of hours a day of learning how to deliver mental health services. My first semester was dedicated to understanding case management and psychotherapy for people experiencing psychiatric disorders since most clients will have more than one diagnosis. In addition, I completed an internship during the Spring 2015 semester that focused on developing interpersonal skills with adult clients at risk for self-harm/suicide/homicide, gerontology (the study of aging), and teaching life skills classes. One could argue it depends on your training type, time (clinical vs. counseling), and what type of experience you can make for your career.
What aspect of your job do you find most rewarding?
The main aspect of my job that I find most rewarding is getting to work one-on-one with clients. I love the satisfaction of watching people grow, get healthy and change their lives for the better. I still remember how my first client would often sit in her chair with tears streaming down her face, and it’s a feeling I will never forget. As someone who went through some difficult times around mental health myself, it’s very fulfilling to know that you can help another person overcome the same difficulties you faced yourself.
What aspect of your job do you find most challenging?
The main aspect of my job that I find most challenging is how it is changing rapidly with new technologies and changes in the healthcare system. There is never a dull moment in clinical psychology. It can be hard to keep up with all the changes happening, but it’s worth it when you start making a change for someone else or helping them get better. The side effect may be working long hours without getting paid overtime, but there are always rewards. I have met some of my best friends and learned much from the patients and staff members I work with, who often become my mentors.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give someone that wants to pursue a career in your profession?
The biggest advice I would give someone wanting to pursue a career in Mental Health-Clinical Psychology is to get their hands on copies of the DSM-5 and learn as much as possible about the diagnosis. This is important because different diagnoses will require very specific treatments that may be completely different from one another, which is why it’s important to know how to assess what type of disorder somebody might have.
Please come up with three other questions that you would like to find out about the profession.
1. What is the average salary for a Mental Health-Clinical Psychology in other parts of the world?
2. What are the qualities that characterize a good Mental Health-Clinical Psychology?
3. What are some of the toughest challenges that other people face in your field?