What Are The Characteristics Of A Good Psychologist?

Psychologists are concerned with human behavior and the mental, emotional and social implications that it brings. Through observations, surveys and tests, they seek to understand the motivations behind a person’s actions and in so doing gain insight into a person’s behavior and, in a wider sphere, help foster understanding between individuals and groups.

Psychologists may choose to specialize in helping a particular group of people by working as clinical psychologists, developmental psychologists, industrial psychologists, forensic psychologists or school psychologists. But no matter what their field of specialization is, good psychologists share common characteristics. For students wishing to embark on a career in psychology, knowing what these are will help them decide if indeed they are cut out to be psychologists.

Good psychologists are genuinely interested in helping people. They want to give solutions that help individuals find a way out of their mental and emotional conflicts. To do this, they must be able to put themselves in the shoes of the individual they are working with. Empathy and the honest desire to improve people’s lives are traits shared by effective psychologists. They don’t just shrug people’s problems off but they actively think of solutions for them.

Good psychologists are good listeners. When a psychologist asks the patient to talk about his problems, he does not make any assumptions or pre-judgments. Rather, he actually listens to what the patient is saying. He does not use only his ears for the task, too. He also utilizes his observational skills to ensure that he really understands what the person is saying or if he is saying something else and thinking another. Their training has taught them how to analyze behavior using facial expressions, gestures and body movements so it can be said that psychologists listen with both their eyes and ears.

Psychologists must have is patience. Treating a patient with psychological issues can be a long-term process. There might be times when a psychologist feels that she isn’t making any headway with a client. But no matter how frustrating the situation can seem, psychologists are patient and hopeful that a good outcome will ultimately result from the treatment.

Psychologists possess excellent interpersonal skills. They are comfortable talking with and giving advice to people of diverse backgrounds and personality types. They also have that uncanny ability to get people to share their innermost secrets. Not all people have this kind of charm and powers of persuasion. They also use this skill to guide patients through the therapy process, asking follow up questions that will help give clarity to what the client is going through.

Another important trait that effective psychologists possess is the ability to piece together the pieces of a puzzle and find a solution to a patient’s problem. Psychologists use the information they have gathered from their sessions with the patient, his background, experiences with other clients and theoretical knowledge to determine what a client’s problem is, make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan. Sometimes, psychologists have to do this with the limited data they have on hand, such as when patients don’t want to talk. They have to get to the root cause of a patient’s issues using whatever data they can get their hands on. They sometimes work like detectives in that they try to solve mysteries with the limited information available.

Trustworthiness is another trait of good psychologists. The code of ethics among mental health professionals dictates that psychologists should never share anything about a patient to anybody, unless there is an order from the courts of law to do so. Patients need to be assured that they are talking to someone who can keep a secret and who won’t just divulge their problems in a casual chat with friends. There is still a certain stigma attached to people who have gone to see a “shrink” to address their issues so it’s vital for those who fear that their secrets are going to be divulged to be able to trust their psychologist.

Psychologists are mentally, emotionally and socially stable individuals. They are dealing with those who already have issues in these areas so it’s important for psychologists not to carry their own problems to work. Of course, psychologists aren’t perfect but they should be stable enough to handle other people’s problems without breaking them down themselves.

Career Spotlight: Psychologist

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