The human brain is the most complex and interesting devices known to mankind. While humans have cracked particle physics, space flight, radiation and electricity, the brain is still largely a mystery. Psychologists have the job of helping people understand the brain as well as possible, and clinical psychologists help their patients manage the organ that defines who they are. As such, being a psychologist requires a unique skill set. Here are three unique skills required to be a psychologist.
Psychologists much strive to understand how their patients view the world and make decisions. In order to accomplish this, psychologists must be able to empathize with their patients and understand where they are coming from. Empathy enables psychologists to gain their patients’ trust, which is necessary to reach patients and encourage them to take the steps necessary to improve their mental health. Empathy can provide the insight necessary to make the right decisions when choosing a course of treatment for patients. In addition, psychologists must be able to pick up on cues about how patients are feeling that they have trouble expressing; many patients do not know that they are depressed, and knowledge about the signs of depression can help psychologists uncover this fact.
2) Critical Thinking
As crucial as empathy is, psychologists must also assume a skeptical mindset. Because of how complex the mind is, patients sometimes misunderstand what their own emotions and impulses result from. In many cases, psychologists must deal with patients who are suffering from unshakable delusions. To be a successful psychologist, one must be able to separate a patient’s complaints and faulty interpretations from the reality of the mental troubles they are dealing with. Psychologists with schizophrenic patients, for example, must be able to speak to patients in a way that does not reinforce their delusions.
Ultimately, psychologists have to deduce the right course of treatment for patients. This task is complicated by the fact that mental diseases and disorders are poorly understood by modern medicine. For psychologists, the reason why patients suffer from certain issues may never be known, so it is up to them to charter a course for improving their patients’ lives. Psychologists will inevitably choose the wrong treatment in some cases, so psychologists much be able to see where they could have made a wiser diagnosis or chosen a better treatment option. Psychology is not a defined, static practice, and the nature of psychology changes based on on-going research.
The job description of a psychologist is broad. They, essentially, help patients deal with events both inside and outside of their minds. As a result, psychologists must be flexible and open to new information. It is not, however, possible to practice effectively without holding onto some core values and guiding principles. As a psychologist, one must be able to balance these competing factors to give patients the best advice possible. For those who continue to improve their abilities, the road to being the best psychologist possible is an exciting and rewarding one.
Randy Castle is a clinical psychologist and guest author at BestPsychologySchoolsOnline.com. Go here to read his latest article.