Reflective Paper

Students will write a paper reflecting upon their educational experiences within their psychology program journey, using the Program Goals as an organizational paradigm. That means you will organize your paper using the Goals. Sections of the body of the paper will correspond to the Goals (i.e. Introduction, Goal 1, etc). This paper should include thoughts regarding successes and challenges, new insights, and personal transformations. You should relate specific psychology courses and concepts to your journey and to your future plans. This should be at a deep level rather than a surface mention. You must address each of the Program Goals (found below) and discuss how you have specifically met that goal, referencing courses, papers and concepts. Introduce each goal section with the Program Goal verbatim (with proper citation) and then address each component (e.g. successes, etc.) to receive maximum points. It is your choice as to which course or paper meets the Program Goal but Program Goal 2  requires the use of the research methods course (300/ 305).  Note that any course used MUST be a psychology course. You can (and should) use more than one course for each goal but must address at least one relevant course for each goal.

You should also reference the Skills Survey from Week 1 and how courses have helped you develop specific skills. You need to include what skills still need to be developed and how you will achieve that.

The paper should integrate thoughts and knowledge from the cluster areas (biological, social and professional). It is not just personal thoughts. The reflective paper will be 7 to10 pages (1750-2500 words), double-spaced, not including the expected title and reference pages. APA format is expected and you must reference yourself when quoting from past papers. Only academic/scholarly sources should be used(other than your own papers). You should organize it by the Program Goals and use headings per the APA Manual. 

Psychology Program Goals   
1. Apply major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology to prepare for graduate study or careers in which psychological training is relevant.
2. Apply basic knowledge of research methodology, statistics, measurement, guidelines, ethical standards, laws, and regulations to design, participate in, and evaluate research in a variety of contexts (300/305 paper should be used here)
3. Apply knowledge of human behavior to inform personal growth, communicate effectively, solve problems, make decisions, and interact with individuals, communities, and organizations.
4. Use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and (where possible) appropriate technology and the scientific approach to solve problems related to current and emerging trends within the domains of psychology
5. Value diversity and different perspectives, tolerate ambiguity, and act ethically to communicate appropriately with various sociocultural and international populations.

Goal 1 – Social Psychology

Goal 2 – Research Psychology

Goal 3 – Abnormal Psychology

Goal 4 –  Theories of Psychology

Abstract

The Psychology Program has offered me an opportunity to gain knowledge and interact with intellectuals who have the same interest in education and career. Over the period of the program, I have gained significant progress in understanding the fundamental aspects of Psychology that has prepared me for further studies. The various courses offered in the program integrate the knowledge to develop an individual to a credible practitioner, who can meet the industry needs and contribute to the advancement of the discipline. The history of psychology offered me the opportunity to understand its importance and contribution to our existence. Abnormal psychology allowed me to understand the key aspect in engaging and caring for individuals with mental illnesses. The research methods in psychology have offered me insights on conducting research and making sense of the findings. There is no doubt that psychology will remain the key channel of understanding human behavior. Despite some few challenges, I have been able to meet the goals of the program and I hope to use the insights gathered to advance my education, use them in practice, solve problems and find solutions to various issues that psychologists face across the globe.

Keywords: Psychology, further studies, career

Introduction

Higher learning is not only a gateway to careers, but also offers a learning experience that for long has been instrumental in enriching people’s lives and offering lessons and facts that are useful in the personal development and social life. The opportunity to undertake the Psychology program at University of Maryland University College has allowed me to gain applicable knowledge and has transformed my perception of learning and engaging in the education process. In the psychology program, we studied its history, research methods, ethics and statistics, which are essential in my advanced education and a career in psychology. Additionally, the knowledge gained in the study of human behaviors and diversity will be instrumental in my interactions with other people. The ability has developed critical and creative thinking, which has enabled me to develop expertise in problem-solving and learning, as well as other aspects of life. The learning experience, content and coursework covered in this program has enabled me to achieve the following program goals as well as gaining information and skills, which will help me in my advanced career, education and life.

Goal 1: Apply Major Concepts, Theoretical Perspectives, Empirical Findings, And Historical Trends in Psychology to Prepare for Graduate Study or Careers in Which Psychological Training Is Relevant.

The course of Theories of Personality was an interesting account that brought new insights in my learning experience. In the course, I learned about the various aspects that influence an individual’s personality and subsequent behaviors. Some of the key aspects presented in this course were determining the personality traits, the role of the environment and genes in how people behave, and the typical behaviors linked to particular traits. The intense learning in class involved having background information of the key ideas and historical aspects in personality studies and the capacity to understand the primary theoretical perspectives and findings in psychology. The learning experience in these sectors will contribute effectively to my future education and career. In the course, I got to review various sources that are credible and instrumental in identifying various personality traits. For instance, tools such as the Psychology Today website and The MedlinePlus site have played a key role in how I engage in practice  (CLIENT, 2017a) . In the course, I understood the importance of technology in learning and understanding human behavior. In this light, I have come to realize how complex humans are, and the many factors that determine who we are and how we behave. The fact that any number of factors can affect how we think and act will be essential in practice. From this perspective, this course will enable me to be a good colleague at work because I will have the capacity to understand people and how they act based on the situations. Resultantly, I have developed a great concern on understanding personal complexities, and now, I understand the reasons why people act differently in response to the environment and situations. Subsequently, I will be able to develop healthy relationships with family, colleagues in the workplace and in school.

One of the courses with a profound effect on the program is Clinical Psychology. The course engaged me in an escape of the history of psychology and an in-depth understanding of clinical practice. In this context, I obtained deep knowledge in current features of clinical aspects and the fundamental roots of psychology. Perhaps the most interesting part of the psychological history is between the modern day and World War II. The intense nature of the war subjected people to various psychological issues that often led to traumatic stress disorder (Schlosberg, 1944). During that period, it was referred to as being shell-shocked. Later, the condition was identified and began to be diagnosed, and patients could be treated. Various organizations were established during the war to help the people who were directly or indirectly affected by stress. Subsequently, this changed how psychology was perceived as a discipline in the US and across the world. It is in this light that I plan to engage in extensive research and learning to gain knowledge and skills that can enable me to advance the discipline and offer solutions to issues that have been a bother throughout the history of psychology such as traumatic stress disorder.

Abnormal Psychology is an interesting part of the program that offers insights on a different perspective of understanding people. The course deals with mental disorders, and a proper understanding of the course can be imperative in helping these people. Fundamentally, it prepared me for a career in managing and helping people with mental disorders. For instance, a career in social work or further studies in the same will be easier with the experience gained in this course. Furthermore, knowledge about mental disorders and psychology as a discipline is key in working in mental health care units. The use of a person-centered approach can be effective in offering services for mental health patients (CLIENT, 2017b). Using this approach requires a practitioner to be genuine for the theoretical aspects of the processes to be reflected in practice. Sentiments expressed by various researchers in this approach have enabled me to develop a genuine interest in psychology theories that will be important in further studies. Additionally, understanding the theoretical aspects of psychology will be important in my career as a therapist.

Goal 2: Apply Basic Knowledge of Research Methodology, Statistics, Measurement, Guidelines, Ethical Standards, Laws, And Regulations to Design, Participate In, And Evaluate Research in A Variety of Contexts

The research methods in psychology were one of the key courses in preparing me on how to undertake research, the ethical considerations involved and the statistical aspects. The basics of scientific research in psychology offered a framework that can be employed in ensuring effective contribution in studies. Concepts such as the differences between experimental and non-experimental investigations facilitated the understanding of previous research works and how to formulate and conduct successful investigations. Experimental research designs are used to determine the relationship between variables and how they may or may not change (Erdfelder, 2009). These studies entail manipulation of the independent variables. Contrary, non-experimental research lacks independent variables, but entails approaches such as correlations, qualitative, and quasi-experimental studies (Blundell & Dias, 2000). The application of research methods enabled me to complete my project paper appropriately through academically accepted processes. At the same time, I was able to uphold ethical aspects that are important to maintain credibility and integrity in the research. These insights are imperative in learning and conducting research in school and at the workplace.

Goal 3: Apply Knowledge of Human Behavior to Inform Personal Growth, Communicate Effectively, Solve Problems, Make Decisions, And Interact with Individuals, Communities, And Organizations

This goal was met through the social psychology course that offered information on human behavior in different contexts. The various case studies discussed offered different perspectives on the issues that influence human behavior. From this perspective, I was able to understand through evidence-based approaches the affect the roles we play in a group influence our behavior. Subsequently, we can understand how atrocities emerge within our groups and between groups. It also helps to understand how leadership and power emerge in a group and the key aspects that support appropriate existence of the group, organization or society. For instance, a review by Woodruffe (2004) shows that leaders in an organization are affected by the environment surrounding the organization (CLIENT, 2017a). In this light, I noticed that there are traits that change over time, and they can lead to the emergence of great leaders. Such insights will be imperative in working with human resource and in identifying appropriate team leaders in different situations. Nevertheless, I have challenges in testing research questions, which I plan to handle by reading numerous research papers and consulting with professors and colleagues who have excelled in the area (CLIENT, 2017c).

The insights gathered on human behavior are key in engaging in various tasks in the Clinical Psychology. The use of DSM-V is one of the key tools for understanding human behavior. In a study conducted by Wright and Simms (2016), the research gaps on short-term stability and variability of personality disorder. The researchers achieved this by focusing on the mechanisms and processes that contributed to pathological personalities. The participants were diagnosed using the DSM-IV personality disorders for over a hundred days. The comparison of the two models revealed that although the DSM-V offers the ten personality disorders, the DSM-IV offers a revised dimensional model that practitioners should understand (CLIENT, 2017b). With such insights, I will be able to deploy the appropriate models in various situations to optimize achievement of the best results.

Goal 4: Use Critical and Creative Thinking, Skeptical Inquiry, and (Where Possible) Appropriate Technology and The Scientific Approach to Solving Problems Related to Current and Emerging Trends Within the Domains of Psychology

Critical thinking has been imperative in all aspects of learning psychology. Particularly, it has been important in completing assignments. Engaging in various courses such as Abnormal Psychology and biological basis of behavior allowed the use of critical thinking to gather knowledge on various issues. In these ventures, I got to make sense of the current and emerging trends in psychology. For instance, the review of Wright and Simms (2016) work showed that there are daily manifestations of personality pathology vary and fluctuate significantly across days (CLIENT, 2017b). The use of technologies such as computers and the internet offers a new paradigm for practicing psychology. Nevertheless, in the process of interacting with these systems have learned that creative thinking is required to make sense of the processes and producers used. For instance, finding the appropriate tools to use on the internet requires one to focus on different aspects of each tool and come to a conclusion on the most appropriate one. It is through creative thinking that I have developed my speaking skills and gained self-confidence essential in addressing a large number of people (CLIENT, 2017c). Fundamentally, the skills developed through creative thinking will be imperative in problem-solving not only in practice and school work, but also in daily life matters.

Goal 5: Value Diversity and Different Perspectives, Tolerate Ambiguity, and Act Ethically to Communicate Appropriately with Various Sociocultural and International Populations.

The goal was achieved by understanding and engaging the Theories of Personality. The course offers important information on important constructs, concepts, and approaches to determine the personalities in our society. In this context, it is critical to address how the measures employed reflect when used in other cultures. For this course, I reflect on how my personality is linked to the cultural aspects of the community I was raised. Additionally, it instigates thoughts on the differences in personality with people in our communities and from other parts of the world. The course offered strategies that allow psychologists to be sensitive and considerate when dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds. Such insights are important considering the increased diversity in schools and workplaces (Lawlor, 2007). The aspects of globalization that have facilitated movement and communication of people from different cultures require one to be highly sensitive in how we relate to others (Berggren & Nilsson, 2015). From this perspective, I feel that it is imperative we respect other people’s faith, language, practice, and other aspects of cultural differences. With these insights, I will be able to work and learn in a diverse environment and enable me to venture in foreign grounds.

One of the interesting aspects of Theories of personality was the focus on cross-cultural psychology. From this, I learned how to accept people and engage them in a non-judgmental way. Additionally, in this context, I learned that there is no perfect culture and that the things we do will ultimately be weird from another person’s point of view. Understanding this enables me to avoid misunderstanding when interacting with other people as well as in improving my communication skills in a diverse population. It is the techniques gained in the course that highlight a review of how parents interact with their kids. The age difference between people makes communication difficult in some situations. For instance, sex education is a difficult subject for parents and teachers (CLIENT, 2017d). I feel that we require to develop appropriate communication skills to engage the young ones in such subjects. Seniors need to be open and avoid shying off from such matters to ensure quality life for the children. Such knowledge will enable me to engage with the young ones and contribute appropriately to parenting.

Conclusion

The Psychology program at UMUC has provided me with a vast wealth of knowledge that will be imperative to my future education ventures and career. The learning experience has motivated me to continue training and learning psychology. Fundamentally, I have gained skills in self-development that give me the capacity to educate myself, review studies and make sense of situations as they emerge. Each of the courses and lecturers has had its impact on my journey through the program. I am looking forward to become a professional in the discipline and pass the knowledge and experience I have gained to others through the education system as well as through the workplace. Fundamentally, I can help others understand the ambiguous concept of human behavior that is important in how we live in our communities. The people I interacted with and the relationships that I developed in the program have contributed significantly in my self-development. I hope to advance with the same energy in my future ventures in practice and education to ensure that they are as fruitful as this program has been in my education and career.

References

Berggren, N., & Nilsson, T. (2015). Globalization and the transmission of social values: The case of tolerance. Journal of Comparative Economics, 43(2), 371–389.

Blundell, R., & Dias, M. C. (2000). Evaluation methods for non-experimental data. Fiscal Studies, 21(4), 427–468.

CLIENT. (2017a). Theories of Personality.

CLIENT. (2017b). Personality Disorders.

CLIENT. (2017c). Employable skills self-efficacy survey.

CLIENT. (2017d). Sex education in School.

Erdfelder, E. (2009). Experimental psychology: A note on statistical analysis. Experimental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000001

Lawlor, B. R. (2007). The Age of Globalization: Impact of Information Technology on Global Business Strategies. Bryant University, 1–50.

Schlosberg, H. (1944). Psychology and the War: Notes. Psychological Bulletin, 41(9), 669.

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