This is a guest post by Fraser Smith, a Trainee Counselling Psychologist. Fraser is also the Counselling Psychologist representative for PsyPAG. Fraser has a real passion for helping others which is evidenced by his commitment and dedication within the field of Psychology. Fraser also hosts the YouTube channel GetPsyched, a channel dedicated to Psychology Students and Graduates looking to get a head in Psychology.
FOLLOW FRASER HERE:
LinkedIn: Fraser Smith
Just Graduated? Check out the 5 Myth Busters for Psychology Graduates
Still a Psychology Student? Check out 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university?
Got a 2:2? No worries check out So you got a 2:2, Now What?
Want to get Published? Check out How to Get Published as a Psychology Graduate
Follow us on TWITTER: @Psych_Assist
Going into counselling psychology can be a demanding process. The investment you make in personal development comes with the need to take on constructive feedback and apply it to your learning on a daily basis. Like any other doctoral course, the expectations of academic and skill development are high. I have to say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Setting out on the journey of becoming a counselling psychologist is challenging, but it is without a doubt the most eye opening and exhilarating process I have ever undertaken. As a current trainee, a few of the steps I have learned along the way, I think will help those of you in the process of becoming a counselling psychologist, or considering it.
Practice being reflective
Your ability to reflect on your own work, both with clients and in an academic setting is a huge requirement of counselling psychology trainees. It sounds simple enough, but it a skill in itself. My advice here is to take the time to reflect daily, practice your ability to reflect on your own work, and give yourself constructive feedback. This applies for current counselling psychology trainees, but can also be undertaken by others considering this route in psychology. Set aside time at the end of each day and ask yourself questions that can contribute to your development. It is a process you will have to get very used to, so best to start working on it as soon as you can.
Utilise your time
You’ll realise that one of the most valuable commodities you possess is time when undertaking a counselling psychology doctorate. You are pulled in multiple directions, with work, personal therapy, placement, classes, reading and essay writing. Some of the best advice I can give you is to prioritise your tasks and utilise your time as best you can. If and when you have a quieter week, utilise it to work on an essay that might be due way down the line. When you have a much busier week, ensure you focus on the most important task first. Being able to structure your time and commitments well will make the process that bit easier.
It’s easy to be consumed by the high demands of hand ins and placements, but don’t forget that there is so much more you can take advantage of in the world of counselling psychology. I am a huge advocate of networking in psychology, think of new and innovative ways that you can get your name recognised and develop your own brand in the field. There is likelihood that at some point you will work for yourself, even if that is in conjunction with working for others, so it’s important to start getting your name known as soon as you can. My advice here would be to utilise social media, get a twitter account, push content that interests you and connect with other psychologists, counselling psychologists. In addition, you should be seeking to attend conferences, the BPS counselling psychology annual conference is always a good one and you can access bursaries and grants if you look hard enough.
Discover what interests you
Finding your niche and working out what field in counselling psychology interests you the most is vital. It’s important for your research projects throughout your studies, but also for your career development. Having a speciality field of work or interest can really help whilst you study and after you graduate.
“I would recommend counselling psychology to anyone interested in pursuing a career in psychology. It is more than a field of study or a profession for me; it’s a passion and a commitment to continual learning and development. I hope these steps assist those of your currently training or considering it.”
Fraser Smith – Trainee Counselling Psychologist
Thanks for reading this weeks PsychAssist Post, see you next Monday for the Latest Tips and Hints on how YOU can get ahead in PSYCHOLOGY!