9 November 2017
Psychology to me means understanding people as well as the world all around. It’s like putting on a new pair of glasses that not only help you see things, but also see the pieces and parts that make them up. After enrolling in a few psychology courses I’ve begun to enjoy skimming the news for this particular subject. I was reading psychology articles in The New York times and I came across a familiar name of a psychologists in my area. Luckily, I was able to contact her and set an over the phone interview. Dr. Lisa Damour is a clinical psychologist that is both a profound writer and psychologist to many. Her job is never ordinary as she not only has her own personal patients she also works part time as a Laurel School psychologist. From there she takes time to go tour and give talks all over the country promoting her latest novel. When she isn’t doing that in all her free time she writes columns for the New York Times. I guess for job description she must write something along the lines of clinical psychologist/school psychologist/writer/public speaker.
In my opinion, conducting a phone interview is proven to be a little more difficult than in person. I find it hard to keep a conversation with someone without seeing body language and only being able to hear tone. Although it adds a challenge, it doesn’t make it impossible. One thing I struggled the most with was finding a perfectly quiet area to converse in. Eventually, I walked over near the medical campus which got to be a little quieter. In the future I’d like to use information interviews as an opportunity not just to gain points but to become more comfortable with having a professional discussion. Something that makes me nervous about being pre med is the interview phase of medical school admittance. I think this is a great chance for me to practice comfortability in that.
Getting to the place Dr. Damour is now, her path was quite rigorous. She attended Yale University for her undergraduate degree and eventually fell in love with psychology. She found a lab for childhood research that one of her professors was a major part of. She worked there for her whole undergraduate year and a gap year after that until eventually she went on to pursue her doctoral in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan. The lab she was able to work in interviewed parents and children in impoverished families where parents were diagnosed with AIDS. She even had the chance to go into these homes and interview hands on for some time. This was during the 80s at a time where knowledge of the disease and possible treatments were extremely limited. Now she spends the first half of the week at Laurel School for Girls and seeing private clients. The back half of her week is reserve for travel and writing. She just finished writing the book Untangled. It’s about progressing through adolescence and ways to help a child as they go through different transitions in life. It covers a multitude of areas such as the modern romance, puberty, pressured environments, privacy, and brain development. Some of these topics she focuses more attention on and writies an article for the NYT about it specifically.
An interesting thing to note is how back in undergraduate the big epidemic that was concerning the medical field was AIDS. Now Dr. Damour has experienced two other epidemics in the field trying to be controlled. The first being the ADHD epidemic about 10 years ago and the second being anxiety disorder which are still becoming more prevalent today. The ADHD was such a huge issue because of how often it began to be misdiagnosed to children around the country. As for anxieties prevalence a major cause is the “bowling alone” theory. More and more people are beginning to add constant commitments in life and have less time to enjoy their day or be unproductive. These busy schedules create the perfect environment for anxiety to feed on. Therefore, I would say a large change in this field is where the attention is focused on and where it’s going in the future. Lately to mention, another disorder gaining more view is eating disorders and just how much a western influence has on them.
Being as though this field is very personal and patients like to keep their information disclosed, interning for a psychologist would be rather difficult as there isn’t much to be done. It’s something you can’t necessarily walk into a room without a degree for. Things such as a name, story, medication, and background are all personal matters. At the beginning of any client and patient relationship often an agreement is made about confidentiality and what needs to be reported. It would not only possibly jeopardize progress in unstable patients but also it could possibly ruin that agreement that was previously formed. I think as for knowledge in this field it’s better to keep to smaller areas such as maybe adolescent psychology in school systems or research for social psychology. After speaking to her this is something I a lot more intrigued by.
As previously stated when I mentioned Dr. Damours background, to obtain a clinical psychology degree it takes an undergraduate degree and entrance as well as completion in a university’s clinical psychology doctoral program. Just like medical school, acceptance is still very low and only the utmost qualified candidates will be accepted. To eventually be the best possible clinical psychologist some skills you should hope to acquire along the way are comfortability. If you think about it a doctor walks into a room with a patient and has to form this sense of connection enough so that that person is willing to disclose information. All of these interactions are only at most an hour in length so in order to make that a productive hour you would hope for that skill to be established early on. In addition, you need to have empathy. This is important as it is a quality that goes further than just any sympathy.
In conclusion, I found a new appreciation for clinical psychology rather than just focusing in on psychiatry. If I could change any second of the interview I think i’d try to be less nervous and be able to speak in a calmer manner. I also would have wanted a quieter space to talk in so I could focus in more on what she was saying to me.