I just got hired onto a psych floor, so I'm not going to have as much sage advice as someone whose spent years in behavioral health, but I think your fears are a bit unfounded...but I'm not dismissing them as a real concern that most people have. The potential to get assaulted exists on every floor, as there are psych patients everywhere in my experience. My ED friends can also attest to that. I think really the best you can do is take the necessary safety precautions, and don't let your fears get in the way of something you're passionate about. I think you should go for the psych np because it will give you a bit more versatility as opposed to becoming a licensed counselor, and I also think you should definitely get some experience around psych patients so you can have a good foundation of how all the behavioral disorders/illnesses are manifested.