To Dr. or not to Dr.

After reading Cathy Malchiodi’s So You Want to Be an Art Therapist, Part Six: Should I Get a Doctorate?, I felt inspired to discuss my grapplings with the subject.

Getting a PhD is something I’ve considered at different points in my career, for various reasons, mainly as a way to solve my issues with CA licensing. (The LPCC has been passed, but due to budget issues the Board of Behavioral Sciences is not accepting applications, and no one knows when they will).

Here are some of my qualms about going back to school for a PhD of some kind:

  • I’m unsure whether there’s a University in my geographical area that is willing to recognize my MA. I haven’t seriously applied and asked my degree to be evaluated, but when I’ve casually talked to representatives of various psyc departments, I didn’t get the supportive feedback I was hoping for. One alternative would be to obtain a PhD or PsyD from an online accredited University program.
  • I’m unwilling to take on student loan debt.
  • I’m not confident that another 3-5 years study, practicum, post-grad hours and studying for state licensure will bring me any further in my career than waiting to be able to receive the LPCC in CA.
  • I’m unsure if I even want a PhD in a counseling or psychology field. I may be more marketable with a degree in occupational therapy or perhaps even nursing (each are recognized licensable fields with lots of job market demand).
  • I’m interested in technology, ethics and how it applies to art therapy practice. I’m doing this learning independently with resources I’ve found throughout the internet, such as continuing education courses, message boards and blogs. I’m not convinced that a formal educational institution has the tools to guide my learning any better than what I’m doing myself (other than, perhaps, a teletherapy certification program).

Although my list is overall rather negative (which is why I’m not currently pursuing a PhD!), Cathy makes some excellent points for the positives of continuing your education, including the benefits of such education if your goal is to pursue a career as a researcher. Also, check out the video that she linked to her post—very amusing!

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