Monday, June 10, 2013

Psychology and Me

I had my first real introduction to psychology over a decade ago in high school, and I have been hooked ever since. For my Bachelor's degree, I added in some sociology and anthropology for a Behavioral Science major, but with an emphasis in Psychology, my favorite. Several areas in psychology stuck out to me- group therapy, play therapy with children, music therapy, marriage and family therapy, theories of personality, and positive psychology.

I like to listen. In sixth grade I received the "Best Listener Award". Listening isn't just about letting someone talk while keeping silent. Listening is hearing what people are saying with the intent of trying to understand them. It's processing their words without having background thoughts of what you'll say to them or what's going on behind them or what's for dinner. Reflective listening in particular is about listening, then repeating back the ideas put across to see if they were understood correctly- a deeper way to listen and understand.

My senior year of high school I had an Army recruiter endeavor to enlist me with the goal of becoming an Army psychologist. He offered free college schooling, bonus pay, promise of an office not combat position, and other enticements. A good student with ambitions of being a psychologist was just what he was looking for. I declined because it wasn't right for me.

I talked to several social workers during college, and they all thought I should definitely go into that field. There are so many children who are victims of neglect, abuse, poverty, and ultimately their parents, that need help. It's heart wrenching work but the children need protectors. I knew I could do some good in this work, but it wasn't right for me either.

While taking a class on mediation, I thought that it might be what I would like to do. Most business will make you sign an agreement to try mediation before a lawsuit. Many divorcing couples are recommended to try mediation also. It's a place where a peacemaker like myself could find a fulfilling job, but it wasn't quite right for me either.

Close to the time I had my first psychology class in high school, I started a job at the public library. My family grew up going to the library, and I had volunteered there in the past. My two learning loves in life from high school on were psychology and libraries. I've volunteered at two libraries, and worked at three different libraries. I strongly considered getting a Master's degree in Library Science  vs. a Masters/PhD in Psychology. Neither of these options have been ruled out for the future, but nor are they part of the plan right now.

My deepest desires and goals in life are not fame and fortune, though I would not mind the fortune. They have always been to be a wife and mother, and to be a comfortable person. Right now I am living my dream of wife and mother and loving it. Growing up people would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, in regards to what schooling and job I would like to do. I would mention psychologist or librarian, but ultimately I wanted to be a wife and mom, and I would tell those who I thought would understand what I meant.

As far as being a comfortable person, I mean I want to be the kind of person that others feel comfortable around. I want to be a person full of charity, not in the sense of solely doing good deeds, but in the sense of being full of love and acceptance for others. When I meet people, I want them to feel I like and accept them. I want people to feel they can talk to me. I want to be known for kindness and happiness, not in a proud way but in a comforting way. I want to be able to help people in their times of need. I want to be able to help people have better lives. I want to be a person that leaves people happy after they leave my presence. I want to be a friend.

My background in psychology, along with religious studies and life experience, has helped me become this person. I've learned to be more understanding, forgiving, compassionate, non-judgemental, and accepting. I use my education to be a better person for myself, my family, and those I meet.

After we lost our son, we worked closely with some people at the mortuary to arrange the grave, graveside service, and headstone. One woman in particular was exceptionally comfortable. When we go to memorial services, she tries to speak to us, and to all those she's worked with, though it has been several years.

Someday, after my kids are older, I think I might like to use my education and life experiences  working for a funeral home. Not in preparing the bodies, but working with the people who have lost a loved one to arrange a memorial for them. I have felt deeply the loss of a loved one, and I would like to help others as I have been helped.

For now, I enjoy being a wife, mother, daughter, sibling, aunt, friend, reader, and blogger.

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