Are you a psychologist who is considering pursuing a career in abnormal psychology? Are you hesitating to make such a big decision because you aren’t sure what this occupational path entails? Keep reading, perhaps your question will be answered in just a matter of minutes.
As an abnormal psychologist you will spend much of your time helping people who have problems discover ways that they can work to overcome their difficulties. Often, abnormal psychologists suggest therapy as a means of helping an individual restore normal functioning in regards to the issue. Keep in mind, what is considered to be abnormal is often highly debated. Although the general consensus is that a person’s behavior is labeled as abnormal when it interferes with him or her interacting and functioning in society. It is important to understand that if you are considering a career in abnormal psychology you must be able to handle the toughest of situations with your patients. It may require more intensive work and longer periods of work with a patient before a psychologist can reap the rewards and see evidence of their hard work.
It is common for people to think that psychiatrists and psychologists perform the same occupational functions. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication to their patients; which is the main difference. Individuals who work in abnormal psychology can be even further identified since they mostly work with people who have a reason behind their cause for difficulty. Abnormal psychologists often spend the majority of their time working to discover the reason for the issue; treating the issue can sometimes be the easier part of the healing process. Generally speaking, in your capacity as an abnormal psychologist you will be looking into the mental and emotional issues that your patients may have. You will be working to develop plans of action that will help them deal with their issues as smoothly and easily as possible. It is common for abnormal psychologists to make a change in learned behavior and thought patterns for their patients an area of emphasis.
As you prepare to become an abnormal psychologist you can likely expect to have difficulties finding a college or university that offers a major degree program dedicated to abnormal psychology. However, in your undergraduate course work you will be required to complete courses that focus on abnormal psychology and as you pursue your doctor of psychology degree program, you will have the opportunity to focus your studies on this area of psychology. For instance, you will be required to complete classes that focus on the human memory, social behavior, and how we perceive things on a sensory level. In the training that future abnormal psychologists will receive, students will learn about the various research methods that psychologists use to help their patients. You should expect to be required to complete course work such as research methods in psychology, neuroscience, assessment techniques, ethical issues of psychology, and psychopharmacology.
Keep in mind, regardless of your educational background or your preparatory work you will be required to earn a passing score on a licensing examination for your state. It is important to understand that the licensing requirements vary slightly from one state to another so you will want to check into what is deemed necessary by the state you reside in. With that being said, you can expect to need to complete an internship along with a professional experience before you will be able to practice as an abnormal psychologist. While this is a very rewarding career you must be prepared to be patient, understanding, and committed to helping your patients reach a level of normalcy.