Thursday, April 26, 2018

Career Counsellor Jitin Chawla provides an overview of a career in Psychology

There was a time when seeking psychological assistance was considered an extreme step and only for those who were “mental”. Today, although still considered stigmatic, more and more people are opening up to the fact that any of us may need psychological help in any phase in life and it may be beneficial to seek help in time. Increased competition, work pressures and a fast-paced life have contributed to stress levels that only seem to be on the rise. The field of psychology has grown tremendously over the years and there is help at hand for those who need it.

Psychology is introduced at school levels in India. However, an in depth study of the subject takes strong roots only at the undergraduate level. You would be able to opt for a BA (Hons) in psychology, a BSc in psychology or a BA in psychology depending on the institution you opt to study. Remember, only a high percentage in schooling will gain entry. You end up studying a range of subjects including general psychology,  abnormal behaviour, clinical psychology, sports psychology, industrial psychology and applied psychology to name a few.

Let us look at some careers available after courses in psychology. First of all you have to understand these & choose one of them as specialization in Master.

  1. a) Career counseling is becoming an increasingly sought after service these days due to an increased awareness on the importance of choosing one’s field of study and subsequently career, on the basis of one’s aptitude and interest. As a career counselor, you will administer aptitude test and personality tests, usually to high school children and help them understand (also their parents) their inherent strengths and abilities. On the basis of this evaluation you will be able to suggest a number of career options that they can choose from. While this may usually be the case, at times you may also have to counsel people who may have chosen a wrong career path, have failed or are struggling with it and have decided to seek help. These situations will have to be handled more delicately with having to point out to the individual that s/he needs to completely overhaul their career while at the same time reassuring them of their strengths.
  1. b) NGOs work in several sectors and with several groups. Those NGOs that work with special children, victims of abuse, on addiction, with elders etc. may employ full-time counselors. Several universities offer advanced diplomas in clinical/counseling/social psychology which can be pursued after a Masters. Although true for any career related to psychology, one has to have an extremely sensitive attitude towards individuals being counseled.
  1. c) Helplines : Several organizations, right from education boards such as CBSE to ones like the National Population Stabilisation Fund have helplines where students/individuals can dial with queries/anxieties and get a listening ear to solve their doubts. A psychology graduate can consider applying for such kind of jobs. A post-graduation and/or a diploma with a specialisation in clinical/counseling/social psychology will be extremely beneficial and enhance career prospects.
  1. d) Correction Homes/Juvenile Homes/Prisons : Juveniles (below the age of 18) charged with crimes are not sent to prisons but to correction homes/juvenile detention facilities. An individual, having done a course in counseling/social psychology can choose to work with these individuals. Similarly, prisons across the country may employ counselors on a full-time/part-time basis to work with inmates/organise special counseling sessions for them.
  1. e) Hospitals : After a Masters and/or a diploma in Clinical Psychology, an individual can work with hospitals in the capacity of a counselor.
  1. f) Schools Counselors: More and more schools are waking up to the realisation that they may need to employ full-time/part-time counselors to help students deal with everyday issues in their school life. As a school counselor you may also come across children with attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, violent behaviour, attention-seeking behaviour etc. to name a few.
  1. g) Independent Clinical Practise : With a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, one can also consider practising independently (along with a psychiatrist) as a psychologist. Since a psychologist practising independently may also have to treat patients suffering from depression, schizophrenia etc. which may require medication along with counseling, they need to work with a licensed psychiatrist (a doctor who has chosen to specialise in psychiatry) to be able to prescribe medicines.
  1. h) Industrial Psychologist : By specialising in industrial psychology, one can work for organisations, especially those that employ a large workforce, to help them keep the employees motivated, enhance productivity and ensure higher job satisfaction and lower attrition among them.
  1. i) Family Counseling : A family counselor typically has a masters in social psychology after which s/he can practise. One can choose to set up one’s own clinic or work in a hospital providing these services.
  1. j) Good old Teaching: With a Masters + B.ED/Doctorate in Psychology and after having cleared the NET examination (not necessarily a requirement if you have a doctorate), you can choose to teach future psychologists/counselors at the school/college/university level.

Although avenues in India have been opening up, scope for psychology and its practitioners is much broader abroad. Countries like USA and UK have universities offering many courses in psychology with a wide range of specializations. These countries require the individual to possess a license to practice.

One can also go in for Bachelors and Masters from premier Institute/Universities like Delhi University, Tata Institute of Social Science-Mumbai, Ambedkar University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, St. Xaviers –Mumbai, Banasthali Vidyapeeth, Mumbai University, Punjab University, SNDT University, Pune University, Christ University, SNDT University, DAVV-Indore, Ethiraj College, MS University – Baroda,  Dayal Bagh-Agra etc.

May-2016