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Clinical psychology is an incredible career that helps people heal from past traumas, learn to live with mental illness and move forward with their lives. They can work anywhere from psychiatric hospitals to private treatment clinics, but they all share a few characteristics. Here are the five traits of effective clinical psychologists that, if you display them, could suggest you’d have a blossoming career in psychology.
When you think of a psychologist, you might see in your mind an understanding face and a caring demeanour. You’re probably picturing someone who is seeking to understand you so they can treat you. Well, that’s good, because effective clinical psychologists possess a high degree of empathy. This trait allows them to understand and connect with their clients on an emotional level. When they validate their client’s experiences through compassion and understanding, it helps them journey further down the road to recovery.
But part of that understanding requires good listening skills. It’s not a passive experience. They need to actively engage in their therapeutic training by attentively listening to their clients and looking for verbal and nonverbal cues. By picking up on these signals, they can seek to diagnose and recommend a treatment. Plus, getting a comprehensive understanding of their client's thoughts, feelings and experiences also works to build a rapport long-term.
Then, once they’ve listened, they need to chime in. And to do this, effective clinical psychologists use their excellent communication skills. Once they have a possible diagnosis, they need to articulate those complex psychological concepts in a clear way. This might involve adapting their communication style to suit different individuals - like child, couple or adult patients. Overall, they need to convey their empathy, support and guidance to create trust and help the client with recovery.
Sometimes, clinical psychologists will hear some difficult things. From OCD triggers to past trauma, they need to maintain a non-judgmental attitude towards their clients at all times. This means creating a safe and supportive environment where clients can openly discuss their thoughts, emotions and behaviours without fear of criticism or condemnation. By showcasing a non-judgmental attitude, clients can feel accepted. And it's this openness, safety and warmth that encourages self-exploration and personal growth.
The ability to assess and evaluate complex psychological issues, formulate hypotheses and design appropriate treatment plans is core to the work of a clinical psychologist. And this means they need to think logically about the whole case they’re assigned. They’ll first look to gather relevant information. Then they’ll need to use analytical skills to make conclusions about what’s ailing their client so they can recommend a treatment plan. And sometimes, their clients might not have a straightforward issue, so a bit of creativity helps too!
If you have any of these traits, we can help you nurture them at the University of Bolton. Our #UniAsItShouldBe experience merges skilled lecturers and a supportive environment into a seamless learning programme that will make the most of your talents. Have a look at our courses here and email us at email@example.com or call +44 1204 903774 if you’d like to find out more.