Clinical Psychology: My Personal Journey So Far…

I started my undergraduate psychology program in September of 2020, and I finished in August 2021. My passion is mental health because I can assist people with conditions that I have suffered from in the past. I developed an interest in psychology a few years back while studying at university in the U.S.

My dream is to someday become a Clinical Psychologist for a university or hospital or even work at both. A Clinical Psychologist is a licensed psychologist with a Doctorate degree who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses using tests, assessments, and intervention techniques. Intrigued? Then follow on for Clinical Psychology: My Personal Journey So Far…!

I have a relatable story on my road to this point in my academic life, and my journey to becoming a Clinical Psychologist is already underway and I have reached the halfway mark. I will begin my graduate studies later this year. 

How did I become Interested in Clinical Psychology?

My story as to how I first became interested in Clinical Psychology begins with the depression I struggled with my whole life and was diagnosed with back in 2015. Problems I experienced with depression led me to a therapist at the university I was attending at the time. Each week I would attend therapy and begin to pour my heart out to her simply because she would listen.

I Learned to Channel My Pain & Aggression into Something Constructive

The therapist taught me to channel my pain and aggression into something constructive and began giving me weekly assignments to complete to help manage my depression. She assigned me the task of going to local parties with some students I met on campus and enjoying life so I would not be triggered by any internal stimuli that pulled me back to that dark place.

She suggested that I exercise and smile more because it releases the neurotransmitter known as dopamine that makes all humans feel instant pleasure. My therapist explained that she was a master’s student studying to become a clinical psychologist and I have not forgotten her ever since.

The Highs…and the Lows…

After that school year ended, I faced a series of uphill battles, but I managed to survive. I took a two-year break from college for personal reasons. I resumed in 2018 and managed to get an associate degree in the middle of a global pandemic and go off to university for the second time.

My experience with mental illness and being introduced to people who do everything they can to help manage other people with mental illness has triggered the passionate side of me that I rarely show and has made me aware of an epidemic of monstrous proportions.

The Real Pandemic is the Internal Battle Epidemic…

That epidemic is the global mental illness epidemic where people are fighting internal battles that they must become stronger to overcome.

I believe there is a spiritual force at work assembling an army of health professionals and among those are mental health professionals who help us all take on the entities that lurk in every dark corner of our minds.

I am now finishing my studies as an undergraduate student, and I plan to go to graduate school to first get a master’s degree in the field of psychology, and then get a PsyD or P.H.D in psychology to assist people suffering from similar mental illnesses. I strongly believe that the coping mechanisms that I have learned on my road to recovery can benefit others in a similar position.

What Impact do Clinical Psychologists have on other People?

Clinical psychologists can have a massive impact on people’s lives because they are in a business that puts a strong emphasis on helping people. They have decided to practice in a field that has no real money unless they decide to author books and get creative with their doctorate degrees.

Altruism and a Generous Attitude are Key

Psychologists have decided to work in a field where altruism and generosity are the guiding principles for many, especially the ones that have their own faith-based practices. Incorporating religion and spirituality into their practice allows them to remain grounded and fight off the negative thoughts that may surface in their minds because they are people also.

Understanding what it is like to have a mental illness which many psychologists have experienced is something that a college degree will not give you because it is one thing to witness others with mental illness, read about mental illness etc., but it is altogether different to experience mental illness yourself.

Empathy, Knowledge & Understanding other Human Beings is Vital

That is what psychologists have that will help them have a profound impact on the lives of other people. It is their ability to get personal, use years of academic knowledge, and have the empathy and understanding to relate on a human-to-human level that sets Clinical Psychologists apart from other professions.

They can work in schools, hospitals, prisons, and churches as well, and they have a knowledge of multiple cultures which gives them the training needed to heal people from all walks of life. Mental health affects all aspects of health because it also helps us feel better physically, emotionally, and benefits us socially.

Practicing positive thinking is known to prevent and cure diseases. When we are healthy mentally, we are more cheerful and less solemn which has a positive effect on our productivity at work and social lives with family and friends. Clinical Psychologists are knowledgeable in these areas and are here to help people achieve complete health and overall wellness.

What Intrigues Me the Most about Clinical Psychology?

As an undergraduate student who has a while to go before becoming a Clinical Psychologist, I am no expert at this point, and I hold no licenses in the field of psychology. What interests me the most about Clinical Psychology are the prospects that come with holding the position.

One may be able to open a private practice and treat patients who suffer from a mental illness. While doing this, clinical psychologists hear diverse stories from people that range from the paranormal to stories of miracles straight from the Bible. It is not a boring job if you like the idea of listening to others tell their personal stories.

There’s Nothing a Patient Can Tell Me that I Would not be Prepared for!

There will be some complaining, some people who invent some of the most bizarre ideas, and even people who have convinced themselves that the world is ending, and zombies are taking over. I know that if I remember my training and that I have persevered through intense storms, then there is nothing a patient can tell me that I will not already be prepared for.

Aside from hearing the unique stories that come with being a clinical psychologist, I expect to be occupied with important research that contributes to the scientific community. I enjoy research because I get the chance to learn about everything from perception, emotions, and dreams to what impact music has on our subconscious.

Another interest I have in the field of Clinical Psychology is the prospect of traveling abroad to conferences and networking with some of the world’s brightest minds. I will not only be listening to others though. There are times where I will be the one called in to speak at a conference.

Psychologists can Apply their Knowledge & Influence in Countless Ways

Psychologists can also niche down into an area that satisfies their desires to help others, which could be mentoring foster children or speaking at high schools across their respective countries. While there, they can teach students about gender differences and how they contribute to different coping styles and communication styles.

Living with mental illness makes it seem like all hope is lost, but when we endure the stress, we develop the grit and determination we need to conquer the illness. It can be an arduous task to overcome many of the conditions, disorders, and illnesses that are out there because we fight internal as well as external battles.

We are not alone in our fight for our right to be free of stress and live happy, healthy, and meaningful lives though. There are people who understand our struggles and would like nothing more than to rescue us from our problems.

Clinical Psychologists and other mental health professionals are here to bring us peace of mind and put our lives back in our control. That is why I plan to lace up my boots and work hard to become a licensed clinical psychologist.

Do you or someone you know suffer from a mental illness? Are you aware that there may be people in your community who can help? Have you ever felt ashamed of the notion of visiting a mental health professional? Join in the discussion and promote awareness of mental illness in the comments below and join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Jamar Sanders

Jamar is originally from Chicago, IL, and now lives in Phoenix, AZ. He is in great health physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. He's a new member of VASA Fitness where he's starting to exercise vigorously. Exercise makes him feel stronger and more courageous. He's also passionate about mental health, art, and Christ.

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