Is it true that many people study psychology in university level originally for self-help reasons? I have heard about this and I wanted to ask what are people's opinion about it. Someone told me that it's very common that psychologist's first motives for the field started from self-help and later shifted towards helping others, research, etc.

  • 1
    I would speculate that helping a close family member is also common. Jun 4, 2017 at 18:43
  • Possibly relevant: I remember reading that a fair number of people who get psychology degrees, including doctoral degrees, do so to become psychological counselors. I don't recall the source though. Jun 4, 2017 at 19:56
  • Possibly relevant: quora.com/Why-do-people-study-psychology And a second link: reddit.com/r/psychology/comments/13sbdx/… Jun 4, 2017 at 20:02
  • Yes that's very true. :). Not only psychology though, psychiatry, counseling, social work, all helping professions are chosen by people who are interested to solve some deeply rooted issue they have. You will not know but they also attend therapy a lit for the same reason and they are not less likely to face serious problems in their marriage and tend to get divorced for the same reasons.
    – Change
    Jun 5, 2017 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


Even psychologists joke that we study what worries us. (I am one).

And that doesn't pass as we go through the ranks. Our interest might move on though.

What does happen is that we are firmly told that speculating about 'cases', ours or anyone elses, is not what psychology is about.

Psychology is the -ology (study of) psyche (Greek word). Psychologists are rigorously trained in research methods. We are expected to be able to frame inquiries, conduct inquiries and evaluate inquiries.

As we go into the profession, we will learn other skills as well but we never leave that insistence on thinking methodically about the question we are asking and sticking to evidence.

Hope that helps!

  • This does not answer the question. You are describing what psychology students learn or what thinking process they acquire but not what was the original intent to study psychology. The latter is OPs question. Jun 5, 2017 at 10:52
  • I disagree! And you are answering, may I say so as if you are speaking to a junior student and not respectfully (or helpfully) to a colleague. Now I will do the same to you! To suggest a half formed motive is a static entity projects an ontological position that is date. Why not answer questions yourself rather than claim superiority?
    – jobucks
    Jun 8, 2017 at 18:10
  • You provided no (understandable) reasoning for your disagreement, It is not my job to sugarcoat factual statements. Your emotional response is especially ironic since you are talking about research methods, thinking methodically and sticking to evidence. While I am sorry that you feel offended my original comment still stands. Jun 17, 2017 at 18:02

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