8 Tips For Beginner Psychologists

Psychologist in therapy.

Starting to work with patients in a psychology consultation is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming from the first week. There are so many things to take care of, and so many situations that can go wrong, that if insecurity gains ground we can make silly mistakes resulting from anxiety and hasty decisions.

To ensure that this does not happen, here I leave you a series of Tips for beginner psychologists who are looking for a way to get started in this exciting professional field.

Tips for the beginning psychologist

Take the following guidelines as a way to guide your efforts when applying the knowledge you have acquired. Lack of experience may make things difficult, but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel just when it all starts. Any professional career has its zero minute.

1. Start building from what you master the most

Some people believe that psychology is about understanding people, like that, in the abstract. As if a profession enables anyone to understand and find predictable any form of human behavior. This myth can lead us to make the mistake of trying to cover more than we really know how to do.

That’s why, especially when you’re starting out, it’s good focus efforts on addressing those problems on which our training has focused

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Specializing in these “niches” will allow us to build the rest of our future skills from there, which is interesting because in our first months of work, adapting to everything it means to practice as novice psychologists can already overwhelm us. ; Let alone face cases that are totally new to us.

2. Don’t compare yourself to an idealization of the perfect psychologist

If you have become a beginning psychologist, it is because you deserve to be where you are: you have earned it. What it is about now is to start gaining experience consistently, making professional practice add quality to the service we provide. It is a process of constant growth in which there is never an end: in a way, all psychologists are newbies, always Human behavior is too complex for one person to fully understand.

That is why you should not compare yourself to an idealization of what being a psychologist represents. Don’t let imposter syndrome block you.

3. Work your way to build trust

Control of personal spaces is very important to create a therapeutic relationship in which patients feel safe.

If we are nervous, we may tend to use nonverbal language that shows a defensive and withdrawn attitude, such as crossing our arms, keeping too much distance from others, or even putting our hands in our pockets. We must avoid this and find a balance between professionalism and proximity. At first, to achieve this we must avoid making the mistakes that I have mentioned and, at the same time, follow the guidelines of active listening and assertiveness

4. Keep in mind that your work has value

Psychology is an extremely vocational field of work, so it is common for the desire to offer our services for free.

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However, it must be taken into account that although you can occasionally do it for free, the work you are doing has value, given that if you can do it it has been thanks to the effort and money invested in the training. If the usual thing is that you don’t get paid, unless you only work with people with very little economic power, the profession is devalued Which leads to the next recommendation.

5. Your job is not to give advice

Having this very clear is essential. If you consider your work as a service that consists of giving “knowledge pills” for a few minutes about the philosophy with which the other person should live life, you will be doing things wrong. This means that it will normally be necessary to plan for times and resources that should be dedicated to conducting several sessions with the same person or group. Talking only once with each patient or client is not useful

Psychologists can inform, but when they do, the topics covered are very specific: for example, on how to perform relaxation techniques at home. The part of psychotherapy aimed at helping patients in their deepest and most emotional aspects consists of listening rather than talking, and offer concrete solutions that allow those needs to be satisfied.

6. Anticipate possible conflict situations and their consequences

As novice psychologists, It is very possible that at some point a patient will begin to adopt a defensive or even hostile attitude towards us, judging us out loud.

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In these cases, there are two possible options: either this is taken as a phenomenon inherent to what is happening in the therapy and the person’s problems that emerge in it, so that the situation can be redirected, or it is taken as a a fact that goes beyond the therapeutic framework and that deserves the cancellation of the session or even the therapeutic relationship, if it is considered a clear attack on one’s own dignity.

In order not to react in an improvised and inconsistent manner, It is good to foresee this kind of scenario and delimit certain rules that should not be violated so that the sessions with a person continue their course.

7. Train yourself to avoid biased questions

It is very important to learn not to ask biased questions that already imply the answer, because in this way the person who comes to the consultation will not be able to express themselves freely. A clear example of this is something like: “Do you prefer to ignore your father’s problems so as not to leave your comfort zone, or do you think it would be good to help him?” In these cases, we must try It may not be very apparent what the answer we would like to hear would be

8. Above all, remember that we are human

What happens in the context of the consultation does not happen outside the real world, even if it has its own rules. That is why these situations should not be taken as a simulation; A certain therapeutic distance is necessary to avoid treating the other person as we would a friend, nor to take possible attacks personally; However, beyond that, it is important not to stop empathizing in any moment.