Psychologist Job Description
A psychologist is a person who studies human mind and behavior, and who is licensed to provide therapeutic services. Their job involves administering psychological tests to people to diagnose problems in their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and applying a variety of psychotherapies to manage and overcome the problems.
A psychologist should be honest, patient, careful, easy-going, empathetic, observant and methodical, and have the ability to inspire trust and confidence in people. They should know how normal people think, understand, reason and behave to identify abnormalities in people.
Famous psychologists include Sigmund Freud (Father of psychoanalysis), William James (The Principles of Psychology), Albert Bandura (Social learning theory), Carl Rogers (The Person-centered approach), Ivan Pavlov (Classical conditioning) and Lev Vygotsky (Zone of proximal development).
Pursue a career in psychology if you are a non-judgmental and understanding person who cares for the well being of others. You should be interested in the human mind and mental states.
What does a Psychologist do?
Psychologists may do some or all of the following:
- work with clients and colleagues
- study the medical, social and family histories of clients
- administer psychological tests and perform risk analysis
- interview and observe clients to determine their behavior
- discuss treatment with clients
- counsel clients and help them deal with crisis
- treat a full range of emotional and psychological challenges
- record clients case history
- provide expert opinion in court cases involving clients
- carry out scientific research on human behavior and related topics
- publish research findings in scholarly journals or books
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Psychologist work?
Psychologists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends or be on-call. Their work is usually office based, but they may travel to meet with clients.
What is Required to Become a Psychologist?
To become a psychologist, you will need a master's or doctoral degree in psychology. Psychologists must be certified or licensed to practice.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Social psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Experimentation and statistics
- Research design
A psychologist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Behavioral psychologist – a psychologist who studies people’s behavior to help them modify the way they behave
- Educational psychologist - a psychologist who studies learning processes
- Clinical psychologist – a psychologist who diagnoses and treats mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders
- Forensic psychologist - a psychologist who applies psychological principles to criminal justice
- Social psychologist – a psychologist who studies social behaviors and how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the group to which they belong
- Comparative psychologist – a psychologist who studies animal behavior
- Industrial psychologist - a psychologist who studies workplace behavior to increase workers productivity
- Psychometrician – a psychologist who measures mental traits, capabilities and processes
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Psychologists need to have:
- adaptability and tolerance
- honesty and integrity
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- good analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- negotiation, counseling and persuasion skills
- observational skills
- leadership skills
- the ability to keep client’s information confidential
- the ability to relate to a wide variety of people
- the ability to cope with stress, both physical and emotional
- the ability to interact with others frankly and confidently
- knowledge of research methods in psychology
- knowledge of human behavior and thought pattern
- knowledge of psychological assessment and treatment methods
- knowledge of contemporary issues that may affect clients
- knowledge of court procedures and professional ethical codes
Should I be a Psychologist?
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