dcsimg
 

Top 10 Skills a Psychologist Needs

Home > Ask the Guidance Counselor > Psychologist > Top 10 Skills a Psychologist Needs

Question:
Dear Psychologist-

I might want to become a psychologist. What kinds of skills will I get in a graduate program and training? What will I learn there?

Thanks, Jim

Answer:
Dear Jim-

So you want to become a psychologist.... you are correct that the graduate program and training will build some essential skills for you. Of course, even in the best doctoral program of psychology, it matters that you have the raw material already-- that you care about people, have an intuitive and perceptive mind, and are interested in psychological topics.

What skills do you need to become a psychologist?

1) Build Rapport. The ability to connect quickly and well with people is an important skill for a psychologist. As a clinician you will work with a wide variety of clients. A good training program will give you some guidance on building rapport with even difficult ones.

2) Diagnosis. Learning to make an accurate diagnosis will be a part of your training as a psychologist. Determining whether a client has depression, anxiety, adjustment problems, or psychosis will make a big difference in your treatment plan. Insurance companies require you to diagnose a patient in order to be reimbursed.

3) Assessment. Psychologists are uniquely trained to administer psychological tests. These tests can determine cognitive abilities such as IQ, psychological challenges such as psychosis, learning disabilities, developmental problems, and neurological issues. In a good doctoral program you will learn to choose, administer, and score tests as well as write a useful report.

4) Creating a safe environment. Clients are often anxious about entering treatment. Your job as a psychologist is to set them at ease and help them feel they can trust you. Once trust is established, treatment can proceed more effectively.

5) Treatment Planning. As a graduate student you will learn to create treatment plans based on your diagnosis and perhaps assessment of the patient. Will you suggest long or short term therapy? Individual or group? A more exploratory type of therapy or a cognitive-behavioral approach? Treatment planning should be tailored to your patient's specific needs.

6) Listening skills. All clinicians need great listening skills. Listening is the core action of therapy and counseling. You will have a chance in your program to learn more about building your ability to listen, as well as to practice.

7) Showing Empathy. Along with listening well, an effective psychologist has empathy for her clients. This means she can understand what they are feeling and communicate that.

8) Analyzing a situation. A smart psychologist can understand how different factors affect a client's life and well-being. As a psychologist you will listen to your clients' stories and help them make sense of them.

9) Managing boundaries. As a therapist you must keep clear boundaries with your clients. Training in this area is related to ethics. A good supervisor will help guide you in this process of making boundaries as will your classes on ethics in practice.

10) Communicating clearly. Finally, a psychologist's tools are her words. If you can express yourself and ideas clearly you will be better able to help your client. While it is not your role to tell clients what to do you can help gently guide them to find the most beneficial direction.

Becoming a psychologist is hard work and there are many skills to acquire. Look for an excellent training program and apply yourself well-- and you will be on your way to a successful career in this field.

Browse Online Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
            Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
            • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
            • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
            • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
            • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
            • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Received the 2013 Making a Difference for Students Award from Quality Matters.
            • Offers a free student app for smartphones and tablets, helping students keep up to date.
            • Has a Golden Key International Honour Society and SALUTE Veterans Honor Society.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
            • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
            • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
            • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
            • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
            • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
            • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
            • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
            • Has an student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Provides an exclusive Ashford Mobile app to keep students connected to the online classroom on the go.
            • Offers a business program in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
            • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
            • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
            • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
            • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits