Psychologists are mental health professionals who study mental health and problems related to the mind and behaviour. The life of a psychologist is fascinating and challenging at the same time. The real hard work begins the moment you decide to pursue psychology as a career. Because there is a stigma in our Indian community surrounding mental health and mental health practitioners, it might be tough to persuade them of your career ambitions. The respected title of ‘Psychologist’ is more difficult to get than it appears at first. Acquiring the title of Psychologist needs a rigorous and vast educational path, as well as practical experience and a commitment to continued professional growth.
Education, training, and licensure
A PhD in psychology is required to work as a psychologist. Depending on the program, a Ph.D. Normally takes six to seven years to complete. During this educational journey, one learns about numerous fields of psychology such as social psychology, cognitive psychology, child psychology, abnormal psychology, positive psychology, and many more. Methods of research and statistics are also significant aspects of psychology that help during research in this subject. With this theoretical knowledge, the practical knowledge of the field goes side by side.
Supervised internships and residency can be done in order to experience working with clients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. After completing the doctoral degree and internship, a psychologist must obtain a license for practicing. One must write examine and do a number of tedious tasks under the supervision of licensed psychologists.
Work and Responsibility
Psychologists perform a variety of job responsibilities on a daily basis and their work depends on their speciality. Their common job responsibility includes cliental sessions, assessments, planning, research, and consultation.
Psychologists go on one interactions with their clients asking them about their problems and observing their behavior and actions. They create a safe space for their clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and this helps the psychologist to foster self-awareness and personal growth. Their cliental depends on their specialization, couples, children or organization.
Diagnoses and Assessment:
To make clients comfortable, they use various diagnoses techniques and assessment tools to evaluate the client’s behavioral, mental abilities, and emotional well-being. This includes standardized tests, interviews, and questionnaires. Diagnoses help psychologists to make treatment plans according to the needs of their clients. These treatment plans include therapeutic interventions and counseling.
Also Read: 5 Most Famous Psychologists
Research and Publication:
Many psychologists are involved in research and contribute to the field of psychology. Experiments, surveys, and literature reviews are done to do research. Publication of research results in academic journals or books is common and contributes to professional knowledge.
The reward of being a psychologist:
Being a psychologist is beneficial to everyone. It is a profession which helps every individual whether it’s the peer of the psychologist or the psychologist themselves. Psychologists earn a good salary, especially those with several years of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for psychologists was $100,130 in May 2021. With a valuable earning, the private practitioners have flexible work hours, they have their own hours. They have great control over their work and life.
Challenges of being a psychologist
Everything that comes but benefits has challenges too. The similarity is with psychology as the more a person is recognized in this field the more challenges and hardships they face.
Balancing professional and personal life:
A psychologist needs to have some ethics while practicing their career or while dealing with clients as they need to preserve the confidentiality of the client and ensure their wellbeing, which can be challenging as psychologists have their own personal life and responsibilities and these dilemmas might hinder their daily working. It is a human tendency to discuss everything that happened at work with either friends or close ones, but someone who is aspiring to become a psychologist or is one can’t do this because of various ethics in society.
Lack of awareness within the culture:
Our country is of different cultures and people from various ethnicities. Psychologist might face the challenge of dealing people with from different cultures with people of different socioeconomic levels. They have to give various therapies which might be of higher cost and efficiency and difficult for some people to afford and this might lead the psychologist to change their regime of practicing therapies which might be difficult in one way or the other. Also conducting research on lower socio-economic status people, psychologists might face issues. Research is something that needs time and cost, and people should have proper education about it.
Difficulty in making safe space for clients:
One of the biggest challenges faced by a psychologist is to engage clients and make them comfortable during a therapy session. It is normal for people to be shy, ashamed, and embarrassed while opening in front of anyone. The clients are important for psychologists, and it is difficult to conduct a session unless they become confident enough to speak about their struggles. Making them, feel free to speak without anyone judging is the most tiring and tough task for a psychologist. Getting the true information from clients is also very challenging as many of them provide false and vague information that might be considered wrong in a psychologist’s career.
The work and life of a psychologist is emotionally draining as they have to keep their feelings enclosed and cannot show it to others. They deal with clients and people who need help and they put them before their own wellbeing. It can increase the amount of stress faced by a person. Psychologist may feel insecure because of their job status, which can eventually drain them both mentally and emotionally. And also, they might not be able to spend time with their near and dear ones which may lead to feelings of despair.
Lack of interaction with other professionals:
Professional isolation is a problem many psychologists face, especially the clinical psychologist. They might not interact with other professionals on a daily basis, which can make them feel isolated in and outside the working setting. It is important to have another colleague to interact with as they are the source of venting out various issues and problems related to the profession. Also, it can be frustrating if the psychologist doesn’t know about advancements in different areas of the field in interaction and conferences.
High Demand for Practice:
It can also be challenging for psychologists to run their businesses and to practice side by side as it can lead to stress and overburden. Also, there might be a time when there are too many clients, and they have to decline the referral of some and at some point, there might be very less clients and they require someone to opt for therapy as their business might as per their expectations.
Psychology is a field that is opted for and practiced by many. It is one of the most opted fields to make future in. Psychologists are also normal human beings just the practice and hard work of several years make them earn the prestigious title of ‘psychologist’. They have benefits and challenges in their work and work for the betterment of society. And they are the ones who make it normal for people to open up about their struggles without any pressure. They are valued individuals and making people feel at ease is their occupation.