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Are there any psychological research avenues?


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I'm interested in knowing where I can go to research a hypothesis I have for curing a psychological illness. I have little idea how to even begin. For example of what I mean, I'll relate what I'm asking for in my terms, based on my field. Let's say I wanted to stabilize a high power output amplifier, that the amplifier was prone to oscillating when driven hard enough to achieve the intended output power, and that I wanted to research the various design corrections I had available, weigh their pros and cons. How would I accomplish that in the field of psychology? Are there any psychologists/psychotherapists out there who could show me where I might find such a repository for research?

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Dean,

There are literally thousands of psychologists around the world who research psychotherapy. Many are Clinical Psychologists who work as professors in research-oriented universities, but in those same universities also work counseling psychologists, social workers, etc. and they study may psychotherapy scientifically as well. The results of the cream of this research are published in peer reviewed journals such as Consulting and Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Therapy and Research.

There is no simple entry point to have your ideas examined. The research system is *very* competitive and designed to keep people who have not devoted their lives to doing this work. Probably your best bet would be to try to figure out who is doing work already which is similar to what you want to do, and then make contact with that person and see if you can help out.

Mark

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"There is no simple entry point to have your ideas examined."

I suspected such. I know that in my field there is the IEEE, and that there are societies within the IEEE where one can research specific ideas. Perhaps the "Consulting and Clinical Psychology" and "Cognitive Therapy and Research" is similar.

"The research system is *very* competitive and designed to keep people who have not devoted their lives to doing this work."

I'm not sure what you said there, but I'm suspecting you left out the word "out" from the end of the sentence.

"Probably your best bet would be to try to figure out who is doing work already which is similar to what you want to do, and then make contact with that person and see if you can help out."

So you saying that I should offer my services and, in doing such, conduct my research? Is that a common practice in the psychology field, to enlist the services of the untrained? I had a couple of psych courses in school, but that is it.

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I'm not sure what you said there, but I'm suspecting you left out the word "out" from the end of the sentence.

That's right. I meant to say:

The research system is *very* competitive and designed to keep out people who have not devoted their lives to doing this work.
So you saying that I should offer my services and, in doing such, conduct my research? Is that a common practice in the psychology field, to enlist the services of the untrained? I had a couple of psych courses in school, but that is it.

You say that like it's a bad thing :D

Seriously, yes that is common practice - but at the level of identifying students who want to go on for graduate training in psychology. It is common practice for interested students to volunteer at a research lab and do a year or more of scut work. In no way would you be allowed to do your own research during this period. This service would be all in the service of getting yourself noticed by researchers who might then be willing to write you letters of recommendation necessary for entry to graduate school. You needed three of these letters in my day; it may be more stringent now. In graduate school, you might be allowed to do independent research, but it is not likely the case until later in the curriculm after your major professor believes that you are ready and have the necessary preparatory knowledge to not waste your time. Such as a solid knowledge of research design and methodology, statistics, etc. and a comprehensive knowledge of the existing and emerging literature in the field you're interested in. Only then can you propose your own projects, and even then some professors aren't keen on letting anyone that works for them do their own thing.

Obviously, this is not something to do casually. What I was suggesting is not that anyone would let you do your own work within their lab or using their resources. More to the point, I was trying to suggest that you identify people who are already doing the work that you're interested. In my experience there are no unique ideas. If you are thinking something, it is almost 100% likely that someone else who is smart has already thought that and may have work underway already. It is rare in my experience to find an exception to this rule, but it does happen. So - if you are locked out of the formal system for doing psychological research (which you probably are) and if you aren't independently wealthy so as to be able to fund such work on a private basis (which you probably are not), then the next best thing would be to correspond with someone who is already doing that work and appreciate it vicariously.

Does that help?

P.S., yes, there is an element of exploitation to the whole research heirarchy system, but it is just a part of the apprenticeship process that is always there in most all complex fields.

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