Psychology I-Search Paper

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The psychologist introduced the upcoming I-Search paper, causing everyone in the room to feel anxious about its importance in determining success in an English class. Personally, I felt excited upon hearing this news because unlike other papers that students usually find boring, this assignment allowed me to explore a topic connected to my own experiences and interests.

Although the letter “I” is not present, the term paper includes the phrase “I-Search.” Since I was young, psychology has fascinated me. The study of psychological and mental health matters has always captivated me, and I have a strong desire to expand my knowledge in this field. My personal experiences involve being around individuals, including members of my family, who have faced mental challenges or disorders. This has inspired me to support them and gain a deeper understanding of their thought processes. Personally witnessing the suffering endured by someone close to me due to their unique mental stigma has deeply impacted me and increased my awareness of their pain.

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As I have explored psychology using my computer, I have developed a strong passion for assisting others in any way that I can. Clinical psychology, which involves evaluating, treating, diagnosing, and preventing mental disorders within a hospital environment, is especially intriguing to me. Clinical psychologists are similar to counseling psychologists in their dedication to aiding individuals with psychological concerns.

The average salary for professional psychologists is around $72,540. To work as a clinical psychologist in most states, individuals must have a doctoral degree in psychology, complete a one to two year supervised residency, and pass state licensing exams. Currently, I am searching for a psychologist with expertise in working within a mental hospital setting and handling complex cases. I am interested in learning about their motivation to remain committed to this profession despite the difficulties encountered during their education. It would be valuable to hear about their personal journey of overcoming obstacles on the path to achieving their current position.

I am fascinated by the field of clinical mental health psychology and am interested in gaining insights from professionals who specialize in treating individuals with mental illness. I specifically want to understand how their work impacts their own well-being and the emotional experiences they have when working with cases such as depressed teenagers who self-harm or children coping with schizophrenia. My objective is to fully comprehend the demands and emotional consequences of their careers, as well as what motivates them to continue despite the challenges they face. “The Paper Trail”

A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behavior, including areas like animal research and organizational behavior. However, psychologists are commonly associated with talk therapy. There are three main types of psychologists: Applied Psychologists, Research Psychologists, and Mental Health Psychologists. Applied Psychologists apply psychological principles and research to tackle practical problems.

Psychologists specialize in different areas such as aviation, engineering, industrial-organizational, and human factors. They carry out research and experiments involving humans or animals for universities, private businesses, or government organizations. Their research spans various fields within psychology like cognition, neuroscience, personality development, and social behavior. Mental Health Psychologists specifically focus on assisting individuals with mental disorders or psychological distress.

Mental health psychologists can be found in hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, government offices, or private practices. This category includes clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists. Their salary typically ranges from $58,360 to $97,820. Many people mistakenly believe that psychologists and psychiatrists have similar roles. I used to hold this misconception as well. In truth, both professions involve psychotherapy and research; however, there are significant differences between them.

During my initial interview for a psychologist position, I had the opportunity to experience a personalized session. Despite legal limitations preventing me from observing, I was able to be present in the office and witness the daily work environment (source: “On The Job” #1). A psychiatrist and a psychologist have distinct educational backgrounds. While psychiatrists hold medical degrees (M.D.), psychologists earn doctoral-level degrees in psychology such as Ph.D. or Psy.D. specializing in clinical or counseling psychology (“Psychologist”). Psychologists typically complete five to seven years of graduate training, with some states requiring an additional one or two-year internship for licensure. Some states also necessitate supervised practice for one or two years before granting full licensure to individuals who wish to use the title of “psychologist” (“Psychology”). In contrast, psychiatrists are specialized physicians who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illnesses. To become a psychiatrist, students first obtain an undergraduate degree before attending medical school and earning an M.D. After completing medical training, psychiatrists undergo four more years of residency training focusing on mental health. Additionally, some psychiatrists may receive further specialized training in areas like geriatric psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, addictions, and other specialties (“Psychology”).I am grateful to Pavlecic for introducing me to Denise at Chipotle. I greatly appreciate her help and would like to emphasize my gratitude.

Having a successful interview gave me hope for future ones, especially considering how difficult it had been to find willing participants. Luckily, Denise agreed without hesitation and we scheduled the meeting at F. A. M. E Charter School on Tuesday after school. Once we were seated, I requested her permission to record our conversation to ensure accurate capture of her responses and insights.

During our conversation, I asked about her reasons for choosing psychology as a career and her experiences in college, including the courses she took. She attended Chatman University in Orange, California and specialized in child and marriage counseling. Her studies encompassed various subjects such as psychology, child development, social skills, communication, sociology, and mental health theories (Zuckerman, interview).

She informed me that not all branches of psychology require a master’s degree but emphasized the importance of obtaining a doctorate right away. Additionally:

  • Initially working as a fine arts teacher,
  • She developed a close relationship with one student,
  • This student had aspirations for an esteemed job but faced obstacles like poor grades and inadequate attire for interviews and work environments.

In spite of Denise’s advice against pursuing this particular job opportunity due to these challenges, the girl became upset. The following day, she along with her friends cornered Denise in the hallways and physically assaulted her.

After discovering that the girl’s mother had been incarcerated, Denise’s lack of belief in her triggered a strong reaction. This event led her to leave her position as a fine arts teacher and pursue a doctorate in child, school, and marriage psychology at university. (Zuckerman, interview) I found this story of how she entered the field to be captivating and thought-provoking. It must have been incredibly challenging for her to navigate such a traumatic incident. The conversation took a turn when she became curious and asked me about my own reasons for choosing psychology.

During my conversation about mental health and my aspiration to become a clinical psychologist, I shared my views and beliefs with her. To my surprise, she expressed astonishment and labeled the field as tough and sketchy (Zuckerman, interview). Capitalizing on this opportunity, I inquired about the most terrifying case she had encountered without divulging any information about the patient. Her entire body tensed up while an uncomfortable expression appeared on her face. She then proceeded to mention dealing with a copycat situation after the Columbine tragedy.

During my time as the school psychologist at a junior high, I came across a seventh-grade student who had endured continuous bullying throughout his school years. The unending torment he faced pushed him to his breaking point, leading him to compile a list of the individuals responsible for his suffering. In a serious declaration, he vowed to resort to violent measures by shooting and ending their lives. Thankfully, this alarming situation was brought to my notice before any irreversible harm could occur, enabling me to intervene and prevent a potential tragedy.

Only a few people knew about the situation and had no intention of informing the whole school. The boy was sent to a mental institution for around four years, and after he was released, he remained determined to seek revenge against those who had bullied him. As a result, he was put back in confinement, but this time in solitary confinement. In response, I quickly changed jobs, which led me to my current position. It is still uncertain whether he was ever set free or if he has improved, followed through with his plans, or continues to be indefinitely imprisoned (Zuckerman interview). Her story had such a profound impact on me that it left me speechless; I wanted to quote every detail exactly as she said it. All that came out of my mouth was a faint “wow.” I didn’t know how one should react to such a revelation then, and that remains true now. For a brief moment, it felt like I had become a psychologist while she became my patient sharing deeply traumatic repressed memories. Her inner terror had been unleashed and filled the entire room along with myself.

During my second interview with Ms. Guzman, the school psychologist at Washington High School, I came to the realization that I wasn’t capable of handling the responsibilities of a clinical mental health psychologist. I lacked the skills necessary to navigate difficult situations and effectively interact with patients. Although I didn’t directly witness her working with a patient, observing the hectic nature of her job gave me insight into its demands. It was challenging to schedule a meeting with Ms. Guzman, but ultimately it was worth it. When I arrived at her office during husky period, she was initially absent which caused me to feel anxious as time passed by. Fortunately, just as I was about to leave, she hurried down the hall and asked me to wait.

During a meeting, the psychologist was helping a family who had a son with anger issues and needed counseling for him. After the meeting, she brought me to her office and said sorry for the inconvenience, explaining that her days are usually as busy or even busier. (Guzman, interview) However, I didn’t mind because it gave me the opportunity to observe her typical work environment. Before meeting her, I mistakenly thought that being a school psychologist meant being a licensed psychologist in general.

Ms. Guzman disproved my belief by showing that although licensed psychologists are able to conduct assessments and provide treatment to anyone, school psychologists, who are considered teachers, can only assess students at their school if the student or their parent requests it. Therefore, while school psychologists may be called “psychologists,” they do not possess all the privileges associated with this title. (Guzman, interview)

According to Guzman, a school psychologist does not need a master’s degree in psychology but rather a master’s in teaching with a credential (Guzman, interview). Guzman studied basic psychology and sociology at the University of Laverne for four years as an undergraduate and then pursued her master’s in teaching at Asuza Pacific University (Guzman, interview). When asked about her motivation to study psychology and become a school psychologist, she emphasized the sense of security it provides (Guzman, interview).

Initially, criminology captivated her, but she soon became disillusioned upon considering the inherent risks and perilous nature of the field (Guzman, interview). However, when she turned her attention to school psychology, she realized the immense diversity it offers as a profession. While still assisting individuals in navigating their struggles and guiding them towards the correct path, the emphasis is primarily on aiding children. Adolescents and kids are frequently underestimated in their ability to comprehend the complexities of life. Society expects them to always know which direction to take, but in reality, they remain clueless.

After a conversation with Ms. Guzman, I gained insight into the difficulties of witnessing children experiencing trauma and the desire to assist them. The discussion deepened my interest in the field of school psychology as I related to Ms. Guzman’s perspective on the challenges faced by young individuals. When I encounter a struggling child, my inclination is to offer support, guiding them through their hardships towards a positive direction. I shared this sentiment with Ms. Guzman during our conversation.

Guzman made me aware of the negative aspects of clinical mental health, which prompted me to explore school psychology. Despite the challenging process of conducting interviews, meeting deadlines, and writing a strong paper, I found satisfaction in completing the I-Search. This project taught me valuable skills, knowledge about preferred colleges for studying psychology, and insights into mental health and assessment for my future career.

When we first began our exploration of the I-Search, I was uncertain about which specific area of psychology I wanted to pursue. The field of psychology is not simply defined as being a “psychologist”. Initially, I had the notion of becoming a clinical mental health psychologist, but after speaking with Denise and hearing her stories, I realized it was too overwhelming for me. My only desire was to assist anyone experiencing difficulties in their lives. It deeply saddens me to witness individuals suffering from circumstances beyond their control, with no opportunity to choose or alter their situation.

Initially, I had a preference for the clinical field where I would handle severe mental illnesses, particularly working with children or teenagers. This would involve working in a mental health clinic or hospital. However, upon realizing that it is an incredibly challenging and stressful field, I don’t think I would be able to handle the pressure that comes with the job. Additionally, the amount of time and education required is equivalent to that of a regular doctor. By the time I would finally be able to work in a hospital, I would be around forty years old.

During my interviews and observations, I encountered psychologists working in the school psychology field. Surprisingly, no psychologist from the clinical field agreed to meet with me. Reflecting on this now, I realize it may have been a significant indication. The initial psychologist I met, Denise, shared details about her ongoing diagnosis and assessment of a student she was working with. This student was struggling with family-related issues that caused anger.

Denise presented her white board, which she utilized for creating calming images, diagrams, and notes to aid her students and collaborate with them. Fortunately, during my subsequent observation, I also had the opportunity to meet Washington’s school psychologist, Ms. Guzman. Initially, I was somewhat irritated by her tardiness to our scheduled appointment. However, this delay ultimately proved advantageous as it allowed her to address a student’s familial challenges during a meeting. Ms. Guzman elucidated that her daily work routine is equally as hectic as I had witnessed.

Even though she is often on top of her work, she sometimes has to bring it home because there is not enough time in the school day to complete all her tasks. However, both interviews taught me valuable lessons and provided me with the experience I desired. I learned that being a school psychologist involves more than just helping students temporarily cope with their problems; it also entails guiding them towards a better future to prevent further hardships.

Children and teenagers are often underestimated and expected to know how to handle any situation or task. However, due to their youth and inexperience, they may not always know what is best or what to do. There are times when they require assistance and reassurance that things will get better in the future. I aspire to be that person who can provide support. In closing my I-Search, I would like to express my gratitude for this experience in helping me discover my passion for school psychology.

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Psychology I-Search Paper. (2016, Oct 30). Retrieved from

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