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Is it difficult to study Psychology? 8 psychologists think about it

Is it difficult to study Psychology? 8 psychologists think about it

July 19, 2024

"Is it difficult to study Psychology?" It is a question that every student has formulated before beginning to study the science of behavior. We have all felt the need to ask ourselves if, perhaps, that interesting career that was presented to us as a possibility within reach, could at some point surpass us by its difficulty and demand.

If you are a person who is finishing your high school studies and your goal is to study Psychology, there is no doubt that this article interests you. If your case is a little less orthodox and you are thinking about going back to school but you do not know well if studying Psychology can be a good idea, you should also continue reading.


The perception of difficulty on the career of Psychology

In this post I have dedicated myself to asking a total of eight mental health professionals about their sincere opinion about the question that concerns us : Is the Psychology career easy or difficult? As it is a question whose answer is highly subjective, I found it interesting to gather the answers of professionals with different profiles and characteristics: age, nationality, specialization ... among all of them, I hope, you will be able to draw your own conclusions.

1. Miguel Ángel Rizaldos

  • Miguel Ángel Rizaldos, clinical psychologist and founder of Clinical Psychology 2.0
  • Age: 49
  • Resides in: Madrid
  • University where he was trained: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Specialty: Clinic


Answer : I recently turned thirty years old since I started my studies at the Faculty of Psychology of the Complutense University of Madrid. That is why we were in an act of the 25th anniversary of my promotion. I remembered with the companions in that act when returning to the corridors and to the classrooms of the faculty some experiences of those old times, when we were young illusionados and a little lost in the life.

Those of you who are thinking about studying psychology, I tell you that you now have a very consolidated and recognized profession. What was hardest for me at that time was statistics and a subject called 'Thought and language'. But nothing that can not be overcome with will and effort. Then, in the exercise of the profession, comes the really exciting: work with people to achieve greater welfare.

2. Teresa Vallejo Laso

  • Teresa Vallejo Laso, clinical psychologist and founder of PsicoTesa
  • Age: 45
  • Resides in: Jaén
  • University in which it was formed: National University of Distance Education
  • Specialty: Clinic


Answer : Nothing is difficult if you propose it. The first step in the process of becoming a psychologist is the interaction of ability, motivation and effort. For any objective you want to achieve, whatever the nature, the first thing you have to have is the ability, that is, to gather the conditions, qualities and aptitudes, which in this case would be intellectual. As important as the ability is the motivation or will, which is what fills you with energy and guides you towards the achievement of the goal you set out to achieve. But this is not enough, because the effort is also necessary to carry out the action. And the interaction of these three variables is so important, that the one without the other, could not act separately in this process and would not have been possible.

But you will also have to overcome other difficulties. The first year will disorient you a bit, because that is where the idea and the erroneous beliefs of what until now you understood that psychology was dismantled, ideas that are based on myths and popular knowledge that have shaken and damaged this profession. It has happened to all of us that what we had been told is psychology and what we imagined, or we had seen on TV, because it is not (to know if people lie with looking at it or through the polygraph, guess what they think, psychoanalyze it on a couch ...). Another barrier that you have to overcome are the subjects of the first years. Getting to the race and find subjects such as psychometrics (statistics, probability, data analysis), psychophysiology, biology, anthropology, research design, does not seem to match what you expected and discouragement may appear.

But do not despair: psychology is a science and, as such, uses the scientific method and research, to build theories and models that explain, predict and control behavior and mental processes and for that you must study a lot. If you manage to overcome these traps, everything becomes easier and begins to arrive what you were waiting for, being able to choose specialty. In my case, the clinic, subjects such as Psychopathology, Behavior Modification, Psychodiagnosis, etc.But there are so many and varied branches around the understanding of human behavior that make the psychology never cease to surprise, interest and passion. For all this, if you have come this far, if you have understood what this science is, if you are passionate about reading and discovering in order to provide tools that help improve people's lives, you feel the need to do so, you have the ability to empathize with People, you know how to listen, manage, solve problems and have the ability to draw conclusions, you are on the right path to start discovering this exciting world that is psychology, and I encourage you to do so.

3. Isidro Migallón

  • Isidro Migallón, Psychology student and founder of Psicocode
  • Age: 33
  • Resides in: Torrevieja
  • University where he was trained: University of Alicante and UNED

Answer : I consider that the Psychology degree has a medium / high difficulty, especially if you study by the UNED as it is my case. On the one hand there are very accessible and easy to understand subjects such as Social Psychology or Developmental Psychology and, on the other hand, there are more complex and deep subjects such as Psychopharmacology or Language Psychology.

Approximately 20% of the career is composed of "number" subjects that tend to give students the biggest headaches (especially if you have studied a bachelor of letters) but completely 'approvable' with a little determination and effort. Among these subjects are Data Analysis (I and II) and Psychometrics.

There are also some subjects that we could define as more "medical" and related to the human body and health. Examples of these subjects can be found in "Neuropsychology of Development", "Fundamentals of Psychobiology" and "Physiological Psychology". Although the degree of depth of these subjects is quite high, in my opinion they are the most beautiful and interesting of the race. In short I think it is a race with a medium / high difficulty that will pass from one pole to another depending on the tastes and interests of each person.

4. Marc Lluís Vives

  • Marc Lluís Vives, psychologist and doctoral student
  • Age: 24
  • Resides in: Barcelona
  • University in which it was formed: University of Barcelona
  • Specialty: research

Answer : Studying Psychology under my experience at the University of Barcelona is not difficult, in the sense that it fulfills a maxim that other races considered more complicated sometimes do not meet: if you study, it is almost always approved. With better or worse grade, but the usual thing is to pass having studied. And studying does not mean putting the day before, if not a constant and lasting work. I am not saying that it is not necessary to make an effort and dedicate hours, it is, but that effort almost always has a reward. In any case, it is necessary to separate what is "getting out" of the career with actually reaching a level of appropriate mastery in relation to the field one wants to devote to psychology, be it clinical, research, social or human resources. In this sense, years and years of dedication and learning are necessary to be able to say that you dominate your field of work.

Getting to know a field really requires a lot of effort, and a constant self-learning during and, above all, after the race. In my case, the little I know about psychology is not thanks to institutionalized formal education, but to my hours of dedication reading and studying about the field that I love on my own. Learning, in the end, is an individual job.

5. Jonathan Garcia-Allen

  • Jonathan García-Allen, psychologist and communication director of Psychology and Mind
  • Age: 32
  • Resides in: Barcelona
  • University in which it was formed: University of Barcelona
  • Specialty: Human Resources, Sports Psychology, Coaching

Answer : The difficulty of the race depends on many factors and affirming that it is easy or not has much to do with the motivation and desire of each one. The time you have to dedicate to the race is also important: there are people who have all the time in the world to study and others who combine study with work, so it may be more complicated to take the subjects up to date. The race is long, and nobody will give it to you if you do not try. You should also bear in mind that four or five years may seem like an eternity if you do not enjoy what you are doing. And of course, the career requires hard work and persistence, since you have to read many books, scientific research and articles to understand the complexity of the human mind, behavior and interpersonal relationships.

The first years are the most complicated (and can even be boring) because the subjects prepare you to have a good foundation. As the race progresses, you will specialize in what you like and put into practice the knowledge you have acquired over the years.In my case, the race was affordable because I had previous training in biology and statistics, subjects that, despite not being complicated, tend not to be liked by many students. Now, if you really want to be a psychologist, with desire and determination the results arrive.

6. Karemi Rodríguez Batista

  • Karemi Rodríguez Batista, health psychologist, and expert in clinical and adult psychotherapy. Founder of Psycho-K
  • Age: 37
  • Resides in: Madrid, Spain
  • University in which it was formed: National University of Distance Education
  • Specialty: Clinical and Health Psychology

Answer : It's a question that requires a response based on your personal situation, of course, but if you're reading Psychology and Mind, and specifically this entry, surely you start with elements in favor, that you like psychology and that you have motivation, and these are the two most important factors in the face of success in your studies and that you should enhance. Now, I think you have to take into account other factors before starting in this beautiful adventure, simply to be able to control them in the best possible way, such as: the type of study that you set (face-to-face or distance learning, maybe you think that it will be easier at a distance, but believe me it has its degree of difficulty, you will have to be more autonomous and look for your life to complete that training, in a classroom it is a little more guided but both have their pros and cons), your current age ( it is not the same to arrive with 18 than with 48, because you will have more responsibilities and maybe you feel less agile, but strategies such as organizing and promoting study methods, sleep and eating, are usually a very effective method) your responsibilities, your habits of study (which can always be improved regardless of age) ...

In short, these are just some factors, only you can detect what those strengths and weaknesses are, but I am sure that with great effort, and above all patience with yourself, you can solve any difficulty and become a great mental health professional. Cheer up!

7. Jonatan Suárez

  • Jonatan Suárez, psychologist and professor at the Technological University of Guayaquil
  • Age: 29
  • Resides in: Guayaquil
  • University where he was trained: University of Guayaquil
  • Specialty: Teaching

Answer : Studying psychology goes beyond spending four or five years in a classroom studying a range of books that tell us about human development and behavior. A very important factor that comes apart and that determines if you have the aptitude or the attitude to study this career is the vocation. When a person is asked about the reasons why he would like to study this career, the most common response can be from "he wants to help people solve their conflicts or problems" or another profile that tells us that " he finds the human mind interesting and studying it is a challenge. " Taking a career in psychology opens us to a varied field of topics and knowledge. It is a time of dedication to scientific reading and research, which will provide us with the theoretical knowledge necessary to be able to practice as psychologists in practical and real issues.

Regarding the level of demand on the career, it will depend a lot on the university and its academic offer. In the most advanced universities you will find subjects approved by a scientific council that evaluates the mesh of the career and approves the essential subjects for the development of the student. This indicates that you will have to give an excellent performance to be able to approve the cycles, obviously if you put effort and dedication you will be closer to achieving it. With this I do not mean that other universities do not try to squeeze the maximum talent of each student, but often cases of academies that do not provide the necessary guarantees for proper development for their students and often graduate professionals with frankly limited knowledge. The evaluation process, also, usually presents some deficiencies. In short, any academic career, no matter how "easy" it may seem, is an investment not only of money, but also of time and effort and will require many hours of dedication. If you decide to study psychology, the best thing is that you feel that it is your vocation.

8. Anissa Ouali Lamtalbi

  • Anissa Ouali Lamtalbi, integrative psychotherapist and clinical sexologist
  • Age: 30 years
  • Resides in: Calella
  • University in which it was formed: University of Barcelona
  • Specialty: Psychotherapy and sexology

Answer : In general traits the psychology career itself hides the same difficulties as many other careers, for example, feeling lost (at the beginning, but also at the end), times of very stressful exams, hours of endless study, cursed subjects, books They look like bricks .... And of course, the great demotivation that accompanies us: after all this effort, where you really learn will be after the race! (Then, why study so much?).Faced with these difficulties, we will need various ingredients that can help us, since in their absence they can make the slope more pronounced and creating greater difficulty. The difficulty does not lie only in whether or not there is motivation and desire (but will be necessary), not in the capacity of oneself (although it helps). For me the difficulty lies in the vision you have of the great project. One way that helps me understand this is to visualize it as a trip. Knowing the place you would like to get to, helps us to plan the route, and mark the steps to follow. Perhaps here lies, in my view, the greatest difficulty. When you have already decided, you know that you want to be a psychologist (although you really do not know the range of work areas that a psychologist can have), you will have to start asking other questions, for example, What do you want to be when you grow up? Where would you like to see yourself working? As you do? What specialty will you choose? ...

These and / or many other issues are those that usually arise after the race (unless our goals have been very clear and immutable from the beginning) and that is where the vertigo can arise and feel more lost. Therefore, it is important to consider, little by little (no need to wait to finish the race) where we want to go, and with the help of our motivation, earning, sacrifices, looking for resources, ... we can reach our destination!


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