Reflection on Personal and Professional Direction

Reflection on Personal and Professional Direction


During this course, we have read about and discussed the foundations of becoming a doctoral-level psychologist. We have looked at the doctoral process—the steps involved in building thinking, writing, and research skills, the practice involved, and perhaps most importantly, your purpose. One major aspect of a doctoral program is the need to become more self-aware of, more conscious of, and deliberate about the ways in which you think and behave in your personal and professional roles. This assignment asks you to reflect on all of these aspects and to develop your own story, answering the three key questions:

  • Why are you here? What are the primary interests, characteristics, and motivations that have moved you to pursue a doctoral program in psychology? What do you expect to be the value of your doctoral degree—to others, as well as to you?
  • What are you trying to become? How will you develop your own professional identity as a scholar-practitioner and a doctoral-level psychologist?
  • How will you do this? How will you analyze your interactions with other professionals, assess the level of expectation and responsibility of a doctoral-level psychologist, and meet the licensure expectations of roles at that level?


Complete the following:

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  • Reflect on this course. As preparation for writing, review each of the following aspects of the first three assignments you completed during this course:
    • The research skills needed to complete those assignments.
    • The course readings, especially from your Critical Thinking in Psychology text.
    • The ethical aspects of conducting a research project like the one outlined in those assignments.
    • The summary of your findings from the research you did in the course project. What insights into your specialization topic did you gain from the experience?
    • The insights you have gained about yourself in the discussions and exchanges with your peers in this course.
    • The changes you have experienced in your self-image.
    • Any additional approaches you will need to consider to ensure that you meet the high ethical standards of a professional psychologist.
  • Consider the following:
    • Changes in your thinking and behavior. For each of these aspects, analyze the connection between changes in your thinking and the work you have done in this course. Describe specific examples that illustrate the changes, and explain the relationship between your new thinking or behavior and this doctoral program. Identify and cite at least two specific resources you have encountered in this course that have triggered these changes, and explain the connections.
    • Changes in your approach. Choose a major event earlier in your life. Include the roles of other people who were involved in this event and their relationships with you. Analyze ways in which you might approach that event differently now, considering the new direction that you are taking in your life. Include specific examples of the manner in which you worked with others, and the extent to which you might handle those relationships differently, knowing what you know now. Identify and cite at least two specific resources you have encountered in this course that have triggered your new ideas about approaches.
    • Changes in your role. How do you expect to assess the value of your doctoral degree? Look ahead 8–10 years into the future and describe the ways in which you expect your life to be different. Explain the connections for any differences that you see as directly related to this course or to the doctoral program. Identify and cite at least one credible career resource that supports your image of the future.
    • Write about your reflection. Organize your written assignment according to the three questions in the overview: Why I am in this program? What I am trying to become? How I will achieve my goal? Use the insights you have gathered from your analysis of changes in your thinking, behavior, relationships, and plans as evidence to support your answer to each question. Suggestion: Some learners find it easier to write the second and third sections before attempting to complete the first section.
Written Paper

In your paper, address the following:

  • Assess the value of your doctoral degree in psychology to others, as well as to yourself.
  • Describe specific examples of personal change required to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Analyze requirements for performing ethically in accordance with professional standards.
  • Include your findings from the research you did in the literature review portion of the course project.
  • Explain how learning the skills involved in doctoral research will impact your self-image.
  • Describe a plan for your career direction in the field of psychology.

Additional Requirements

Your assignment should meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Resources and citations should be formatted according to current APA style and formatting. Include a title page, an abstract, and references.
  • Number of resources: A minimum of 10 scholarly resources.
  • Length of paper: A minimum of seven typed, double-spaced pages, not counting the title page, abstract, or references.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

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