Why Get a PhD?

As students, we all enjoy sharing with others new information that we have learned. However, when it comes to psychology, information is not always as finite as in other classes. For example, in a History class you can clearly state that World War I started in 1914 and ended in 1918. But psychology is a lot more subjective and based upon interpretations, especially when it comes to evaluating a response to a psychological test. Nevertheless, we still feel compelled to show off our new knowledge to our peers. Unknowingly, this can be very dangerous.

When my older cousin first learnt about Freudian theory, she came up to me and told me the reason I was dating a certain guy was because he reminded me of my father whom I am actually in love with. WHAT?! I couldn’t believe, nor really understand what she was telling me and it left me very bothered.

I also had an English teacher who was teaching a class on mentally deranged literary characters. Although she had no background in psychology, she had a large interest in what she had read on the computer. She thought it was a “fun” idea to present us with psychological questionnaires that she would then apply a generalize interpretation to. However, due to the fact that she had absolutely no training in psychology, her interpretations were so farfetched that even the students in the class with basic psychology knowledge were able to correct her. Thankfully, because if not she was clearly upsetting some sensitive students.

I personally have also fallen trap to this. After learning about Dr. Hare’s psychopathy checklist, I thought it would be fun to analyse those around me. Although it was mostly for fun, you can imagine my unsettlement when I discovered my ex-boyfriend definitely scored above the 25 mark. Although he very well may be a psychopath, I created a lot of anxiousness over my own interpretation.

There is a reason why only graduate students and trained psychologist who have received their PhD can administer psychological tests. Although we would all like to think we are experts from what we have just learned in class, or off the internet, we simple are not. Taking a few psych classes, or even getting a major in psychology does not make you an expert. These tasks require years and years of thorough training in order to fully understand how to properly administer these tests and how to correctly analyse the data. Trying to do this without a proper degree will leave you and others with a paranoid feeling about what is possibly wrong with your life. So before you go and analyze your peers, think twice about the anxiety you can cause them. Wait until you get your PhD first!

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