Before you can become a bright psychologist, who is able to use psychological theories and techniques to help your future patients, you need to prepare yourself for a long time and to have a specific set of skills. You need to be aware that choosing this career implies a lot of responsibility since once you start your career as a clinical psychologist, the mental health of your patients will depend on you. Which means that you need to be incredibly well prepared to understand and apply to each patient what you have studied about psychology as a science.
Before deciding that a career as a clinical psychologist is the most suitable one for you, you need to understand exactly what is the job about and what does it take to become one so that you can see if you have all the necessary attributes for a bright career.
What is clinical psychology?
Clinical psychology is the path of psychology which concerns the treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and psychiatric problems. When it comes to the way which it is practiced, clinical psychology is mostly about psychological assessments, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy. However, the way that clinical psychology is applied in order to give the necessary help depends considerably on the special characteristics, personality type, needs of the patient. Usually, clinical psychology is known as a mental health profession. However, it sometimes also engages research, teaching, consultation, and forensic testimony.
First of all, in order to be able to have a bright career as a clinical psychologist and to get the opportunity to practice your work in the best clinics which value the well-being of their patients as much as you do such as theholisticsanctuary.com, you need to successfully complete all the educational requirements, obtain all the necessary degrees and accreditations. Majoring in psychology in college is the first step in your education for your future career. Also, you should consider obtaining a master and a Ph.D. degree both to have numerous career opportunities and to get all the necessary knowledge which will be the foundation of your work when you start treating your patients.
A specific set of skills
Apart from the fact that for a bright career as a clinical psychologist you need to successfully fulfill all the educational requirements and to obtain all the accreditations which allow you to practice your profession, you also need to possess a specific set of skills which are essential to be able to understand and help your patients:
- Empathy: in order to be able to understand your patient’s problems, you need to be an emphatic person who has the ability to put herself or himself in the shoes of the patient so that you can see the situation from his or her perspective;
- Communication skills: communication skills are a must in order to be able to ask the right questions so that you understand your patient completely and to communicate the right message which is going to help the patient without leaving any doubt which might confuse him or her;
- Active listening skills: Professional clinical psychologists need to know how to actively listen to their patients without interrupting them or missing any relevant information because their mind wanders to a completely different thought;
- Patience: Patience is another essential skill which you need to posses for a bright career in clinical psychology because depending on each patient, gaining trust and successfully complete the treatment takes a specific amount of time;
- Trustworthiness: Making your patients feel comfortable about opening up in front of you with their deepest thought, feelings, and fears and trusting your words without any doubt means that you have to be a trustworthy individual;
- Adaptability: Each patient is going to have specific characteristics and personality which you need to be able to adapt to in order to be able to understand their needs and make them feel like they can relate to you and trust you.
Learn while volunteering
The process of obtaining all the necessary educational requirements before you can practice clinical psychology is going to take a long time. However, in the meantime, you should get involved in extracurricular activities to specialize yourself in this field. When you get the opportunity to get in touch with people who are dealing with the same problems as your future patients, you gain a big amount of knowledge, improve your skill, and gain experience which will be extremely helpful once you will be an accredited clinical psychologist. For example, volunteering in clinics where you can interact with people with poor mental health such as drug addicts, or people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by diverse reasons such as veterans who experience it after the traumatic events experienced during war, will make you get a clearer image of what your future work will imply.
The ability to detach from your work once you go home
You need to be aware of the fact that in your career as a clinical psychologist, you are going to come across numerous tragical situations which you patients are dealing with. Moreover, you are going to see and analyze the most grotesque human characteristics and behaviors which can leave a deep mark on you and will burden you with horrendous thoughts and emotions if you do not have the ability to detach from your work once you finish your sessions with your patients. In order to protect yourself from being affected by the situations and experiences of your patients, you also need to know how to practice on yourself what you teach others to do in order to overcome their situations.