Why become a psychologist?
According to my High School yearbook, I was supposed to be a medical doctor. However, in my first year of a B.Sc. degree at Mount Saint Vincent, in my Psychology 100 class, I fell deeply and madly in love....with Psychology! I really didn't know how I would make a career of it at that point; I just knew I wanted to know everything I could learn about this field. I've always been someone who was curious about people; who wanted to understand what made them tick, and who wanted to make a difference. Understanding how temperament, neurobiology, life experiences, social contexts, family, community, culture, etc. all influence how people think, feel, behave and identify was fascinating to me.
A full 37 years later, and after 28 years deep-diving into this career as a Psychologist, I am still excited, enthusiastic and curious about these things. As I deepen my understanding of people, new questions arise, seeking answers. This is what keeps me passionate about psychology: there is always more to learn and discover. The career has its challenges. As a clinical psychologist, one confronts a wide range of human suffering. At the same time, the field of study equipped me with knowledge and tools to assist others, those same tools to take care of myself, a knowledge about when it is important to reach out to others for help and the structure to recognize and respect my limits. The rewards of witnessing people overcoming some of life's hardest challenges has given me hope to pass on to other clients in the midst of their struggles and hope in the midst of my own. I believe in this field. I know we make a difference. Psychology has been good to me. What more could you want from a career?
~ Lesley Hartman, M. A. Psychologist
There are many reasons why I chose to be a psychologist and why I continue to do this work. One of those reasons is the novelty and myriad responsibilities that come with being a psychologist which has been crucial for my continued happiness in this field. My job entails doing a number of different tasks at any given time including individual therapy, group therapy, supervision of students, and assessment. It also involves delivering a range of treatments and using varied approaches to working with clients, depending on their goals and challenges.
This job also comes with ongoing, life-long learning and the opportunity to acquire new skills and push myself outside of my comfort zone. This is an intellectual challenge that I relish.
As a psychologist, I enjoy combining the scientist-practitioner model of this profession with the connection and relationships I develop with my clients. In practice, this translates into applying treatments and interventions as the research dictates while honoring the needs, wants and experiences of the person I’m working with. This is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of my job as I believe this is what allows me to help people obtain the change they seek. And ultimately, while it may sound cliché, I chose this profession because I am fulfilled by connecting with and helping people.
~ Jennifer Bartlett, Ph.D. Psychologist
Hi there! My name is Sarah Mansfield, M.A. Psych (Cand.) and I've been with LHA since 2021. I began as a part time associate and transitioned to full-time private practice from the public sector in July 2022. I was always drawn to psychology and am honored to support clients on their healing journey as a scientist/practitioner.
For people looking to enter graduate work in psychology, my biggest pieces of advice would be to look for volunteer opportunities in research labs and clinical settings as soon as you can. Research experience is a vital aspect of strong application and exposure to clinical settings beneficial to your understanding of the field in practice. Second, I'd encourage you to explore a variety of interest areas. You never know what populations, research, and/or aspects of psychology you will connect with most!
Best of luck,
Sarah Mansfield, M. A. Psychologist (Cand.)
Practicing Psychology, in a clinical setting, is where sound judgement is used in the areas of Art and Science. Art is the human connection side of the coin.
But the Art of Psychology or “clinical judgement” can be flawed, incomplete, an opinion – swayed by an individual’s experience and the times they live in. Science removes personal judgement and replaces it with quantifiable and objective evidence.
Science and the analysis of research can give us a common language and an evidence-based lens to which to view our work. I use science in my practice by using Psychological Assessments, keeping informed about which therapeutic approach has the best chance of succeeding, and in communicating reliable information to others.
~Derrick Neubauer, M. S. Psychologist
I have been a Clinical psychologist since 2003. In high school, I took a psychology class and knew right away that this was something I wanted to pursue. The thought of being able to better understand people was very appealing to me. I moved from Alberta to do an undergraduate degree at UNB, then did a Master and PhD at Concordia in Montreal. From there I got a pre-doctoral internship in St. John’s Newfoundland at the university counselling centre. I loved my internship and knew that I wanted to continue working at universities so got a job working at Dalhousie Counselling Services in 2002 and worked there until 2017. At that point I made the move to private practice.
My favourite part of my job is meeting with so many interesting individuals and being able to help them work through their difficulties and find direction and meaning in their lives. My work is demanding and busy, but very rewarding. As a psychologist, it is critical to have good boundaries and to spend time taking care of your own health since so much of the work is about doing things for others. In addition to my private practice work I also supervise Candidate Register psychologist and I enjoy this work because it allows me to support new professionals and also learn from them. I have no regrets about choosing psychology as a profession, and it is a field that continues to grow. I love working in private practice, it allows be the autonomy to do the work I want to do but still have the support of a team when I need it.
~Jennifer Volsky Rushton, Ph.D. Psychologist