Hello and WELCOME to another great article by PsychAssist. Over the past couple of weeks, we have received loads of messages from Psych Students and Psych Grads asking about any secret hints and tips some of the top psychologists in the country have used to get ahead. This initially seemed Ludacris as there wasn’t one simple trick to get a head in psychology; however, we did notice a pattern from top psychologists and one attribute was always evident. Within this post, we will give you that one skill that’s needed for you to get a head in psychology. I guess the secrets out!
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This article was inspired and modified by Driscol’s Reflective Model (2007) and we at PsychAssist recommend you have a look at this model to further your understanding.
So there we have it! The secret skill that is evident in all the top psychologists. Now before you think “well that was obvious” and proceed to click off this article and tell all your friends how bad PsychAssist is; just pause for a second. Do you even know how to reflect? Many Psych Students/Grads think they know how to reflect on their experience but really don’t. That’s why we at PsychAssist are going to systematically show you how to do this so you can get a head. It’s simple, all you need to do is ask yourself 3 questions.
What is this experience?
Now the first one is obvious as its asking the question, What is it that I’m doing? Many aspiring psychologists however just coast through their roles and don’t actually take in what they are doing. Stop and ask yourself this question. I’ll tell you a little story of the interview of my first AP job role. I remember the panel asked me the question of “tell us about a difficult client you’ve had in the past?” Now I answered with some clinical experience I had but I believe the thing that made me stand out was the fact that I spoke about my time delivering pizza’s for Pizza Hut. I detailed my experience of dealing with difficult customers (and trust me, people become quite difficult when their pizza is late). I wouldn’t have been able to recognise that this was excellent experience if I hadn’t stopped and asked myself this question.
What am I learning?
This is where it gets tricky! Many Psych Grads/Students don’t really know what they’ve learnt until later on down the line. There have been so many lessons I have learnt but only after I have left a post or when it’s too late. Nevertheless, there are ways to recognise the skills you have learnt quicker. This is where we would recommend utilising your supervision (ADD IN ARTICLE) as 90% of the time, it’s your supervisor that helps you recognise these skills much earlier than you. Build this section into your supervision agenda as development and ask the question what skills am I learning? I remember I would have supervision with my first supervisor and I would tell her all the things I have done for that week or month. She would then outline all the great skills I was developing that I couldn’t see.
How is this making me a better clinician?
Finally, the most important question. Its all good and well identifying your experience and what skills your learning but that’s not what interviewers want to hear. That’s where the final level comes in. You need to outline how this is making you a better clinician. I’ll use my Pizza Hut example as a guide for you. When I was explaining my experience as a Pizza Hut Delivery driver and how some customers would become difficult (and sometimes quite nasty) but I was able to explain how that made me a better clinician. I was able to demonstrate how being in those hostile situations developed my de-escalation skills which is vital when working within mental health. This was enough to show that I was very mindful of how these experiences were preparing me for life as an Assistant Psychologists and potentially when I become a Clinical Psychologist.
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