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What skills do you consider CRITICAL to be a good psychologist?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by foremma, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. foremma

    foremma

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    In terms of working in the mental health field and psychotherapy, what skills/values do you find to be absolutely essential to help the patients most? Besides ethics like not letting patient information get out, I am curious to what people in the field think. Is it objectiveness, passion, etc? Thanks!
  2. PHD12

    PHD12

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    Aside from some obvious ones (e.g., empathy), I would add self-awareness, creativity, emotional stability, maturity, ability to handle ambiguity, flexibility, not taking yourself too seriously, and excellent stress management skills. You need to be able to maintain hope for patients who are hopeless and persist despite many setbacks and low rewards (this is often the case with severe pathology and personality disorders).

    There are also many intellectual aspects to the role that are crucial to working in a fast-paced enviornment.
  3. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.

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    Patience.... it might be the most important trait.
  4. LMK

    LMK

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    Being a real person and being comfortable with yourself enough to let clients know when you don't know something.
  5. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    I don't know if I'd say it's the most important skill necessary to be a functioning (let alone good) psychologist, but one that stands out to me is being able to walk that fine line between humility and confidence. That is, being confident enough to stand by your diagnoses, recommendations, etc., even when other professionals (and/or patients) are disagreeing with you, and being humble enough to recognize that you don't know everything (as well as being forthright in admitting when you've made a mistake).
  6. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    If you don't have time management skills, you'll never even make it to being a psychologist.
  7. MBellows

    MBellows

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    Have you seen the December 2012 Counseling Today?
  8. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student

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    I will prove this wrong.
  9. Ollie123

    Ollie123

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    I would argue persistence encompasses all those mentioned already (though not sure I'd call it a "skill" per se), and many other important ones that have not yet been mentioned.
  10. LivingOffLoans

    LivingOffLoans

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    Interesting question. My initial thought is that it is not so much the specifics (skills/values) that are essential as much as it is the mindset from which the the specifics would then naturally follow, if that makes any sense. But now that I think more about it, I might label that mindset as something like 'curiosity'.
  11. Markp

    Markp Post-Internship (ABD)

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    The ability to build a therapeutic alliance.
  12. syzergy

    syzergy

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    Or grad school. Ugh. The amount of things I have due in the next week is making my head spin.
  13. bmedclinic

    bmedclinic

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    Ya know, in a few months, when you get around to it? ;)
  14. Pragma

    Pragma

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    This is a big one, both at the technical level (e.g., a muddy clinical pictures) and a setting level. In fact, I recall one of the VAs I interviewed at a few years ago for internship asking me exactly how much tolerance for ambiguity I had, mostly because administrative changes were expected but sometimes occurred slowly/partially.
  15. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    Ability to handle distress/discomfort in the room.
  16. Neuropsych2be

    Neuropsych2be

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    The understanding that your ignorance vastly outweighs what you know. The awareness of your limits and boundaries.
  17. LivingOffLoans

    LivingOffLoans

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    +1. I have found that any time (in and outside of the clinical hour) I truly believe I know something or someone, it impedes my relationship with the other.
  18. PHD12

    PHD12

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    DELAY OF GRATIFICATION is very important to make it through graduate school and as an early career psychologist (You have to cope with the fact that you are about a decade behind all your friends in terms of income, savings, having a family etc).
  19. Psyched77

    Psyched77

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    +1 to this response!

    I would add above average perspective taking abilities, endurance, good attentional skills, & a posture of nonjudgment & curiosity.
  20. Ya Ya

    Ya Ya

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    Yes. :thumbup:
  21. Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre

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    I have many of these qualities. However, I have moderate social anxiety and worry I will run out of things to talk about or not know what to say sometimes. i will worry what the client thinks of me and my competency. In high school my social anxiety wasn't as bad and I felt more confident going into therapy, but it has gotten worse. How much training do you get in school on how to conduct a therapy session and what to say? Maybe that's something I could get over?
  22. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I had the same issue during training with regards to being afraid of coming across as incompetent to the client. You would definitely receive training on how to overcome that. The best advice I was given is that I don't have to be the big expert in the room. In fact, only the client is the expert on the client.
  23. Member6523

    Member6523

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    Be flexible.
  24. Buzzwordsoldier

    Buzzwordsoldier

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    The training also includes training on supervising. Should you take up this training, you may come to understand that one of the supervisor's roles is to help clinicians notice that the guided exploration of such anxieties is a process running in parallel to that experienced by those participating in the psychological service in question. More generally, the training could be said to be about how best to comport oneself with one's colleagues when reflecting on these anxieties in your capacity as advisor, consultant, and mentor. In short -- You might pull some serious learning out of it!
  25. East by West

    East by West

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    Personal self-awareness.
  26. sinewy

    sinewy

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    .
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014

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