If you are thinking about following the career path that leads to becoming a psychologist, there are certain steps to follow. One of these is earning a graduate-level degree in psychology, which will open up new doors in terms of employment possibilities. Yet being a truly effective psychologist will involve more than simply having a degree on paper. The best psychologists will have certain skills, qualifications, and personality traits that set them apart.
The following are 9 of the top traits or qualifications that the most effective psychologists possess.
To be a clinical psychologist, it’s necessary to be able to listen to others and work well with them. Having compassion and empathy for other people can go a long way towards helping with this. The patient will need to feel as though they are speaking to someone who is trustworthy, and if you aren’t compassionate towards them most will pick up on this. Staying open-minded is also a good quality to have in this vein
#2 A background in math and science
Although you won’t be conducting research experiments if you choose to work in a clinical setting, you will still need to have a strong background in science to understand the way the brain works.
#3 Emotional stability
Being a psychologist will require you to listen to troubling stories at times. Your patients may be unburdening themselves of difficult information while working through past trauma, and it can be tough for those who are not emotionally stable themselves to do so. It’s possible to be a psychologist with a history of mental illness yourself and may indeed make you more compassionate towards patients, but symptoms must be controlled. The best psychologists are mentally stable.
#4 Strong communication skills
It’s essential for a psychologist to be able to communicate effectively, or they will be unable to perform this job. Being a psychologist requires listening to others and transmitting useful information in return in a way that others will understand.
#5 An analytical mind
There are many different career paths that a psychology student can choose from. Whether you decide that you are most interested in research, organizational, or clinical psychology, you will need to be able to analyze the facts at hand as part of your job.
#6 Certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology
This extra qualification is not required to practice as a psychologist, but it shows that professionals are endorsed by their peers.
#7 A commitment to life-long learning
With new innovations in the field being discovered on a daily basis, it’s necessary to keep taking continuing education courses, attending conferences and seminars, and reading all the latest research findings. This shows true dedication to the field and may open up your eyes to new theories that can help your patients.
#8 An ability to pick up on social cues
Some patients may be inarticulate, and it’s up to the psychologist to be able to pick up on body language and other social cues. The best psychologists will be experts at reading others, and will be able to pick up on signs that there is a problem even if a patient isn’t explicitly saying so.
#9 Great organizational skills
Psychologists will need to be able to keep track of a great deal of information. Whether it’s keeping track of your patient’s files, or recording and organizing research data, you will need to be able to organize this information effectively in order to do your job. The best psychologists will have a natural ability to stay on top of patient information. A good memory doesn’t hurt either.