I’ve been in grad school for nearly two years working on a master’s degree in counseling psychology.
The road has been long, sometimes irritating, but so far completely worth it.
Now I’ve come to a crossroads and I want to reach out to you and get your feedback about a decision I’m mulling over.
I’d also be able to open my own practice, teach at community colleges, consult, supervise, the works. Come to think of it, the two licenses are pretty flexible.
After my masters I’ll also have to complete a two-year internship, paid of course. So not bad right? I’ll get to do what I think I was meant to do and, by the abundant mercy of the universe, leave the world of cubicles forever.
But, and I mean BUT, I’ve been thinking about getting my doctorate. The dreaded PhD.
Given the flexible masters level license, why in the world would I do that? Well, it all started because I’m currently completing an internship at a site choke- full of pre-doctoral students.
Their ‘stuff’ has rubbed off on me.
I think that I honestly started feeling bad about myself and feel almost like a second class citizen, at least in the world of psychology.
My wife is against the idea of a PhD. Others I know are for it. And I’m somewhere in the middle.
If I had a PhD I could: Gain more clinical knowledge, earn more money, and obtain teaching gigs with more frequency. I’d also qualify to be a licensed psychologist, which isn’t a huge deal to me.
That last part means less to me because I don’t want to deal with acute clients. I’d much rather work with clients suffering from anxiety, of course!
Plus, doctoral school means 3-4 more years of course work, a dissertation, and a two-year internship. All so that I can be, essentially, a therapist. It seems like an awful lot of work for what amounts to the same thing, at least when it comes to being a therapist.
Also, and just as important, is the fact that I have a family. A wife and two very young children. I fret about the time that I’m not giving my family and what that could mean downrange.
The other issue is my age and cost of attending school. I’m in my 30’s and have become hyper-aware of, and allergic to, debt. Even so-called ‘good debt.’
I’ve been flipping sides on this issue for months. People at my internship site ask about it, my family asks about it, even random people who I sort of talk to want to know: Are you going to get a PhD?
At this point I don’t know. Part of me just wants to continue with my original plan. Get the masters, get licensed, do private practice, teach, and continue to grow this website.
The other part of me has a desire to avoid regret and “be all I can be.” I have the ability , the question is: Is the PhD worth it given what I want to do?
I was reluctant to ask you about this because in some weird way it makes me feel vulnerable and indecisive. Then I thought, wait a minute, this is a huge decision, get all the feedback you can, you fool!
So, what do you think? Should I stick to my original plan, or does Dr. Paul have a nice ring to it?
Let me know in the comments section below!