Should I Be A Psychologist?

Reader’s Question

Hello, My name is Nicolle, and I live in France, so if I will make mistakes (as if I will not write correctly) I’m sorry. I’ll try to write as correctly as possible. So, I’m a psychology student, I’m almost graduated, I am 22 years old, and I’m in love with one of my psychology teachers. He knows this, and he is not acting like he didn’t care, but not shows it too much, too. So I didn’t know, what to believe. I don’t want to have a relation with him, I only want to speak with him (and maybe to give him a hug once, just like a good friend). Maybe it sounds a little odd, but this is how a feel, and you probably say that this is not love, but I think it is, because I believe that somewhere, out there is a form of love, that just not involve sex, or anything like it, is just love. This teacher, is a clinical psychologist, and is very good in his professional area. He isn’t married, and he is 35 years old.

In the autumn I want to follow a master program in clinical psychology, but I don’t now if I will make the right decision. I will list below the advantages and disadvantages of this decision:


  1. I am interested in clinical psychology, I like the domain (intrinsic motivation).
  2. I like the teacher who will teach us in this master program (the teacher I’m in love with, is one of the teachers involved in this program), so I think that this fact represents a good source of extrinsic motivation, in the way, that I will be more motivated to learn much more.


  1. I believe I developed some mental disorders (I’m NOT joking), I didn’t have a diagnosis but I strongly believe that I developed OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and plus that, I developed also a specific phobia (Pteronophobia — the fear of feathers) since I’ve been a child. So I don’t know if with all these, I will became a good clinical psychologist. Please if you can help me, I will be thankful.
  2. I’m afraid that if I will go to this master program, my teacher will find out about my disorders, and I don’t want that to change his impression about me (I don’t want him to feel sorry about me).

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And what is most important is that I DON’T want to follow this master program just to fix my problems, no way, I just want to learn to help other people with problems (like me).

So, I’m in a big dilemma, because my future depends on what I choose, so please answer to my mail, and help me if you can, and want. I don’t mind if it will not be posted, but just send the answer to my email adress.

Thanks very much because you read my mail,
with respect,

Psychologist’s Reply

Nicolle — you think too much! First of all, it’s not unusual to have feelings for a teacher. While we often think of love and romance in sexual terms, one of the most common romantic relationships is what I often refer to as an “emotional affair”. We can have emotional affairs with co-workers, neighbors, friends, teachers, etc. These are not sexual relationships, typically stopping short of including sexual intimacy in the relationship. These relationships build due to

  1. shared emotional intimacy of feelings/thoughts,
  2. what that person means to us,
  3. common interests,
  4. the way they make us feel as a person, and/or
  5. they fit an ideal fantasy of what we like in people or a partner.

The teacher obviously means a lot to you. It also sounds like he is dealing with your affection in a professional manner. Again, this is common in teaching, therapy, and working relationships.

If you have OCD symptoms you should consider a professional mental health consultation. You may not have a clinical disorder. It’s not unusual for psychology, nursing and medical students to begin to see their symptoms as they review the various disorders and diseases, especially if they think too much. However, keep in mind from a mental health standpoint, everyone has everything to a certain degree. Take any descriptive adjective, and we’ve all got some of it on a scale of one to ten. It becomes a clinical diagnosis when the symptoms are consistently present at a severe degree and hinders or impairs our functioning. We’re all OCD, paranoid, depressed, etc. at times — or in certain situations — but not consistently so. The presence of a feather phobia isn’t a problem as well. These specific phobias won’t impair your ability to be a psychologist. Phobias that are more intrusive however, such as crowds or public speaking, may create some difficulties. If you can attend the university, the phobia is probably not going to be a problem.

I’d continue your studies in psychology. It can be a great career for you. Counseling may also help you sort out your feelings, worries, and concerns as you continue your journey toward being a psychologist.

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