6 Important Skills Needed to Be a Psychologist

by / Monday, 29 December 2014 / Published in Psychology

Male psychologist talking to a client

If you have a passion for helping others and are fascinated by what makes people tick, psychology can be the right career for you. But as you consider pursuing your degree, it’s important to know some of the critical skills necessary to be a psychologist. Although this list is not comprehensive, and these skills are not exclusive to psychology, having these attributes can make a good psychologist, great.

1.  CommunicationPsychology Communication Illustration

Communication is clearly critical for any career, but it’s especially important when studying human behavior. The ability to communicate with clients is imperative for clinical psychologists to help them, while research psychologists need to be able to effectively describe observations and portray their findings well.

2.  Numeracy

Although it may not seem intuitive, psychologists must have a facility with numbers. Researchers, especially those involved in quantitative information, look at large amounts of data that have to be interpreted. A good psychologist understands how to summarize these numbers with the use of statistical tests and equations. Without these abilities, researchers could not begin to understand what they are observing and whether it is significant to the wider human population, and clinical psychologists would not be able to understand the data and how to apply it to their practice.

3.  Research

No matter what your role in psychology, research will play a critical part. Whether you are conducting your own experiments and want to see if they have been performed before or are trying to help a patient by seeing what other psychologists have experienced, knowing how and where to find the information you need is critical. There are thousands of scientific journals out there, with information from decades of research. Being able to find the information you want, and evaluate it effectively, is crucial.

4.  EthicsPsychology Ethics Illustration

As with any profession that takes care of people, psychologists have an enormous responsibility. They have the ability to change people’s lives and are frequently dealing with people at their most vulnerable. Having a strong ethical code is important to ensure the safety and well-being of your patients. And as a researcher, basing experiments on a strong ethical foundation is critical to ensure you get unbiased, useful results without harming anyone.

5.  Patience

Results in psychology can often take years to see, whether in pure research or when working directly with patients. But for true progress to be made, patience is imperative. You must be able to keep yourself motivated, even when results aren’t immediately apparent.

6.  Problem-Solving

Just as in every career, things in psychology do not always work as planned. Problems will arise and they need to be solved. Good psychologists have to have alternative strategies available and be able to implement them quickly. Well written research plans actually account for common issues that may hinder work. Sometimes unexpected things happen, and you will have to step in and make a change to save your work. You need to have a library of approaches ready to make sure that your work moves forward.

Do You Have These Skills?touro university seal

The good news about the skills listed is that they can be learned. If you are interested in pursuing a career in psychology, you should consider an online psychology degree program that integrates all of these skills and many others in its psychology curriculum. Touro University Worldwide offers online psychology degrees at all levels. To learn more about our psychology degrees and concentrations, please visit our online School of Psychology.

Tagged under:
TOP