A Day in the Life of a Psychologist
So you are considering becoming a psychologist. This job is extremely challenging, and involves studying the human mind and attempting to understand human behavior. There are many different specialized fields that psychologists can go into, but the majority of psychologists work in a health care environment, and try to help people resolve their issues.
For the most part, your job will be to meet with patients, discuss any problems or psychological issues they may be having, ask questions and listen to the response, make a diagnosis, and prescribe treatment. Although this may sound quite straightforward it can take many sessions, even years, to properly assess a patient.
At times, the job of a psychologist can be stressful and unpleasant. You may be dealing with people who’ve gone through traumatic experiences, or have major psychological problems. As a psychologist, it is your job to remain clinically detached and you can never become emotionally involved with a patient, while you do your best to help them.
Many patients may be convinced that they need medication to correct their problem and may be unwilling to work on their issues without it. Other patients may shun the idea of taking drugs even if they really need it. A psychologist must gently help the patient come to terms with their issue, and assist them with selecting the most beneficial course of action.
Some psychologists may offer group therapy or family therapy in order to further help their patients. The sessions can be long, and the psychologist needs to do his or her best to keep the session on track. If these sessions are offered in a clinical environment then they may also be accompanied by individual meetings.
The psychologist will need to keep accurate records of all patient meetings for billing purposes as well as to create a legal history of the patient’s mental state. Some psychologists will record their sessions or their notes on a handheld recorder, and then transcribe their notes to the patient’s medical record at a later time. They may also be required to order lab tests in order to test for certain diseases or imbalances that may be causing, or contributing, to a client’s mental state. They may also need to refer the patient to a mental facility, or another medical professional.
A large portion of a psychologist’s time is also spent staying on top of advancements in the field of psychology. They may attend regular conferences, meetings, or workshops that deal with psychological issues, and they will regularly read psychological studies in order to remain on top of new changes and new mental issues. By doing so the psychologist can ensure that they are always at their best and looking out for their patient.
Some psychologists may, in addition to their regular clinical practice, teach psychology students at a local university. Usually these classes will only be a few hours per week, and the psychologist will also assign them a teaching assistant who will help put together lesson plans and grade papers. Being a psychology teacher allows the psychologist to refresh their training as well as providing additional income.
Although the road to becoming a psychologist is a long one, a career in this field is extremely rewarding. Some patients may take years, and some may never get better, but in the long run a psychologist helps to improve their quality of life. Psychologists can help patients get over a major traumatic event or help them improve relationships with their loved ones.
The field of psychology is growing, and there is a need for qualified psychologists to help the public. If you enjoy the idea of helping people then perhaps a career in psychology could lead you in the right direction.