What makes a good psychologist? Prospective psychologists must ask, “Would I make a good psychologist?” 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 psychological characteristics to possess in order to be a good psychologist, there are many other important qualities of a psychologist 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 psychologist traits and skill sets necessary to become an excellent psychologist.
One of the important psychologist qualities is analytical skills. In order for any mental health counselor to help their clients, psychologists need to draw inferences, analyze and examine the information they gather. Being a psychologist is more than just listening to people’s problems. The mental health professional must gather data about the individual or family seeking help, and use that information to help create solutions for change.
One of the most important skills sets a psychologist must possess is good communication skills. Psychologists need 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. They also need to spend time listening so they can gather information in order to determine the best treatment.
Being observant is a good trait for a psychologist. 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. Clinical psychologists assess a client using multiple sources of information.
Patience is another of the qualities of a good psychologist. In order to be an effective psychologist, you must possess a great deal of patience. In numerous cases you are helping individuals work through challenging issues, which can take a great deal of time. Clients may need to share repressed thoughts. It is important to let clients work at their own pace and this can be an arduous task without a great deal of perseverance.
Having the necessary skills to deal with people is among the important traits of a psychologist. Because the field of psychology involves working with people each and every day, possessing good and effective skills in dealing with people is imperative. Becoming a practicing psychologist is a career for people who like to work directly with others.
Solving problems are traits of a good psychologist. 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 be good at solving problems. Sometimes the solutions to problems are simple but in many cases arriving at a solution will take creativity and ingenuity.
One last necessary characteristics of psychologists is trustworthiness. If a client feels like they cannot trust their psychologist, 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.
Psychologists and Counselors
There are many types of psychologists and counselors. While each of these fields might have specific qualities that would stand out in importance, there are many characteristics that are important in every field of psychology. Types of psychologists and related occupations include:
- clinical psychologists
- industrial organizational psychologists
- research psychologists
- counseling psychologists
- developmental psychologists
- forensic psychologists
- organizational psychologists
- school psychologists
- family psychologist
- rehabilitation psychologists
- family therapists
- mental health counselors
- mental health professionals
These psychologists work in settings such as:
- rehabilitation centers
- the criminal justice system
- mental health centers
- health service settings
- social service agencies
- healthcare facilities
- private practice
Duties psychologists typically have might include:
- administer intelligence tests
- design behavior modification programs
- conduct scientific studies
- conduct disorders research
- identify behavioral concerns
- administer emotional patterns test
- offer professional expertise
- draw logical conclusions
- demonstrate interpersonal skills
- administer diagnostic tests
- prescribe medication
- interview patients
- treat mental disorders
- write research papers
- evaluate behavior
- mitigate mental and behavioral problems
- demonstrate professional expertise
- complete continuing education courses
Hours and Wage
As a psychologist, you will often work evening or weekend shifts. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for psychologists is $81,040. The job outlook for counseling and clinical psychologists is higher than average at 10%. Clinical and counseling psychologists are in high demand. Psychologists in general have a good job outlook at 6%. Many states have different state licensing requirements. Licensing laws vary state. There are specific state requirements, depending where you want to practice.
While these characteristics of a psychologist are necessary, 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. Working on these skills will help you in how to be a good psychologist.
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