When you think of a psychologist you immediately conjure up an image of someone who is patient, a good listener and has a great deal of compassion. While these are important qualities to possess in order to be a good psychologist, there are many other critical characteristics that one must have in order to become a successful psychologist. So, what are the most important personality traits to pursue this career? According to The United States Bureau of Labor Occupational Handbook, there are seven traits and skill sets necessary to become an excellent psychologist.
Psychologists Must Possess Analytical Skills
In order for any mental health professional to help their clients, they must be able to draw inferences, analyze and examine the information they gather. Being a psychologist is more than just listening to people’s problems. They must gather data about the individual or family seeking help, and use that information to help create solutions for change.
Psychologists Must Possess Communication Skills
One of the most important skills sets a psychologist must possess is good communication skills. They must be able to communicate with clients, other mental health and medical professionals, staff members and other important people. They must be able to communicate their thoughts and plans of action effectively.
Psychologists Must Possess Observational Skills
Much of psychological practice goes beyond talking to making keen observations. Most psychologists can gather a great deal of information about an individual or family simply by watching their interactions. Things like body language, facial expressions and mannerisms can tell a much larger story than words.
Psychologists Must Possess Patience
In order to be an effective mental health professional you must possess a great deal of patience. In many cases you are helping individuals work through challenging issues, which can take a great deal of time. It is important to let clients work at their own pace and this can be an arduous task without a great deal of perseverance.
Psychologists Must Possess People Skills
Because the field of psychology involves working with people each and every day, possessing good and effective people skills is imperative. Becoming a practicing psychologist is a career for people who like to work directly with others.
Psychologists Must Possess Problem-Solving Skills
Many times, individuals and families seek the help of a psychologist because they lack the skills to solve problems they are experiencing on their own. It is because of this that a psychologist must have excellent problem-solving skills. Sometimes the solutions to problems are simple but in many cases arriving at a solution will take creativity and ingenuity.
Psychologists Must Possess Trustworthiness
One last necessary quality is trustworthiness. If a client feels like they cannot trust their mental health professional there will never be a good rapport. Building a rapport between client and practitioner is the only way to build a trusting and effective therapeutic relationship.
While these characteristics are necessary to become a psychologist there are many other that make an outstanding practitioner. Things like empathy, respect, good intuition and nurturing skills are all things that make the ideal candidate to become a psychologist. If these are skills and characteristics that you possess you may want to look into the many different paths you can pursue with a degree in psychology.