Becoming a psychologist is an incredibly rewarding profession. More and more people are becoming more conscious of their mental health, and the demand for psychologists is on the rise. It is a long journey to be able to be a practicing psychologist with many steps along the way. This article aims to tell you what it takes to become a psychologist.
If you want to get into psychology, you need to have a very specific education. Firstly, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is a must. Then, if you want to do clinical psychology, you also need to do a master’s and then also a Ph.D. Clinical psychology is on a similar level to a medical doctor, so the level of education required is also very high. Some education providers do an accelerated psychology master's program, which allows you to get the same qualifications more directly. It also allows you to specialize early on to make sure you get as much relevant experience as possible. You need a doctorate-level degree to become a clinical psychologist, so if this is what you want to do, you better buckle up.
To be able to be an effective psychologist, you need to be a good communicator. You must be able to say what you want to say with conviction and as clear as possible. Some people are fortunate enough to have been raised with an excellent ability to communicate. For others, it takes practice. If you are unsure whether you are good at making people understand what you are saying, try teaching a friend something. Ask for feedback and work on what was less effective. Having good communication is essential if you want to become a psychologist.
If you are interested in becoming a psychologist, then you probably already have a strong desire to solve other people’s problems. However, are you any good at it? You will have time to consider a patient’s problems on your own, but if you can think quickly whilst talking to them, then you will be better able to help them. Thinking outside of the box is going to be important, as well as being able to draw on your wealth of education and experience. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a psychologist.
Naturally, if you wish to become a psychologist, you need to be a good listener. If you are not able to take in what someone else is telling you, then you will not make it very far. Listening mainly just takes concentration, and this is something that you can practice. Every time you catch yourself getting distracted when listening to someone else, bring yourself back and focus. Being a good listener is an essential skill for a psychologist.
If you want to go into clinical psychology, then you will need to be able to conduct research. This is something you may get to practice whilst at University, but you must have the drive to learn more. If you are a curious person who wants to make changes for the better and ask questions that have yet to be answered, then you will go far in psychology. Have a good hard think about what it is that is motivating you to study psychology. If it is relating to conducting new research, then you probably have what it takes.
As with therapists and doctors, ethics are a huge focus for psychologists. Some people can find it difficult not to be able to share details about their work, given their sensitive and confidential nature. If you are the kind of person who likes to chat with their partner or friends extensively about their work projects, then psychology might not be for you. You will generally have to keep all discussions vague and without specific details. If this seems a bit extreme, then maybe you should read up on the ethics of psychology and what it would mean if patient’s private lives were discussed openly. Having an ethical and honest outlook is vitally important for becoming a psychologist.
Becoming a psychologist can be a daunting prospect but is not one that you should shy away from. Working as a clinical psychologist, you can be a vehicle for great change. The help that you can provide people is invaluable and is financially and personally rewarding. So, are you psyched up or psyched out of becoming a psychologist?