Why Do People Choose to Become Psychologists A Narrative InquiryReport as inadecuate

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Psychology Teaching Review, v17 n2 p64-70 Aut 2011

Research suggests that mental health professionals have more problematic family backgrounds than those in other professions, but little is known about the role that early experience has on career choice. This is of particular importance for the education of psychologists, given the current emphasis on skills and research training and the call for a greater focus on personal development. This study aimed to explore connections between distressing events and career choice, using a qualitative narrative inquiry research design. Fifteen students participated, each undertaking junior psychology courses. For many distressing experiences in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood were directly related to career choice, supporting the development of empathy for others and inspiring them through both good and bad encounters with helping professionals. While a majority of participants followed this route to psychology training others were inspired by positive experiences, particularly in the satisfaction and the recognition of personal suitability gained from a variety of helping roles. More research is required, to assess the personal development needs of students, to map their occupational prognoses and to trial personal development initiatives in university settings.

Descriptors: Research Design, Psychologists, Career Choice, Psychology, Early Experience, Mental Health Workers, Empathy, Professional Development, Correlation, Inquiry, Universities, Undergraduate Students, Influences, Teacher Education

British Psychological Society, Division for Teachers & Researchers in Psychology. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-1162-529551; Fax: +44-1162-271314; e-mail: directmail[at]bps.org.uk; Web site: http://www.bps.org.uk/ptr

Author: Huynh, Ly; Rhodes, Paul

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=1969&id=EJ959027


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