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Psychology graduate debunks myths about the programme

September 30, 2022


Woman holding a board with the word debunked on it.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “psychology”? Someone with a pendulum trying to get the patient to speak about their memories? A man with a white coat walking around the mental hospital? Or a walking lie detector?

Many out there have a vague understanding of what psychology is about. In reality, it involves in-depth research, understanding patients, developing suitable therapy interventions, and much more.

Therefore, we are here today to debunk the common myths about psychology majors and psychology students.

Myths about the psychology major and its students

1. Psychologists and psychiatrists do the same thing. 

Psychologists and psychiatrists are two different occupations. While both are designed to help people with mental health problems, they require different degrees because their therapy methods differ from the other.

Psychologists treat their patients using psychotherapies or talk therapies as compared to psychiatrists who treat their patients using therapies and medication. Psychiatrists tend to prescribe medications, which is why they are required to go to medical school before practising in the field of psychiatry.

2. Those with a psychology major can read minds.

People often associate psychologists with mind readers. This was exactly what I had experienced, and still experience when I say I am a Psychology major. They quickly go on to ask, “so tell me, what am I thinking?”. I wish I could read minds like I read books, but unfortunately, that is not what we are trained to do.

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behaviour. The course moulds the student to observe behaviours, thoughts, and actions. Upon analysis, they then provide suggestive solutions to underlying issues. A psychologist may be able to predict certain behaviour in the long run, but they do not read minds.

3. Psychologists only work with “crazy people”.

Many think that psychologists only work with “lunatics”. Firstly, no one is really a lunatic. They act the way they do because of a certain fundamental issue they may have experienced at some stage of their life. Secondly, no, psychologists do not only work with mentally challenged people. They care for everyone equally.

Those who attend therapy sessions can also be stable people who just need someone to help put an end to their mental and emotional distress. Remember, not everyone who seeks therapy has a severe psychological disorder.

4. You can only work in hospitals, or else you will be jobless.

There are many people out there who need the expertise of a psychologist, and their knowledge is valuable in many other contexts.

In fact, psychology is known as a versatile field that promises plenty of job prospects in various industries. This is because understanding the human mind and behaviour is a crucial aspect of our everyday life.

Advertising teams, human resources, or even public relations companies may need a psychologist to help plan out the most workable way to deal with people. So, it is not true that a psychology graduate is only able to work in a hospital.

5. Psychology degree is sufficient to qualify you as a psychologist.

Becoming  a psychologist is not as easy as just getting a degree. It is much more than that. One needs to complete a doctoral level programme and obtain relevant licensing before qualifying as a psychologist. It may be a long process, but it is surely a rewarding one if you are passionate about helping others feel better.

6. Psychology degree is for those who are academically weak.

A degree in psychology is for all. It may interest top students or average performers if their curiosity lies in studying the human mind and their behaviour. There are no stereotypes when it comes to the courses one enrols in because each person’s interest is different. 

Just because a person picks a course that you perceive as simple, it doesn’t turn out to be that way. In short, a psychology course has its own challenges.

7. Since you major in psychology, you should not feel any negative emotions.

We are all humans, and we are all allowed to feel our human emotions. However, having the knowledge to overcome a negative emotion makes it a little easier for us to control ourselves from brooding further. Other than that, we do not develop a superpower to not feel emotions by majoring in psychology.

It is not uncommon for people to assume things without seeing the full picture. They tend to lean on their own notion and think that is the ultimatum. 

I hope this article shines a little light on that! I shall end this with a quote:

“The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that are just aren’t so.” - Mark Twain

Woman holding a smiley sticky note in front of her face.

Image source: Pexels

Written by: Veronica Presley


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