Hello and WELCOME to PsychAssist. It’s that time of year again where many Assistant Psychologists are about to leave their posts to take up their places on the clinical doctorate. This means that there will be a fresh batch of hopefuls looking to fill their spots, which could be you. However, how do you know if you’re ready for an AP role? Within this post we will explore the 3 qualities you NEED to have before applying for AP roles.
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THINKING OF AP ROLE? CHECK OUT: 5 Tips on Getting that Assistant Psychologist Job
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OK so this has to be the number one skill you need in order to gain an Assistant psychologist role. I don’t think there has ever been a Psychology Graduate that has gained an AP post without reflecting on their previous experiences. This is absolutely crucial and will take you so far within the world of psychology. This is something that all Psychology Graduates can do, even without psychological experience as you can draw upon any experiences you have. I remember I got my first AP role by reflecting on my time as a Pizza Hut delivery driver and how difficult some customers could be. You could do the same with any experience of dealing with the public.
PsychAssist Tip: Check out this article to give you a better understanding of how to be reflective. Also, make sure to keep a reflective diary of any experiences you have. This will also help you to prepare for interviews as it will jog your memory about different experiences you’ve had.
This is another crucial skill to have before applying for AP roles. One Psych Grad asked us about the difference between Support workers and AP’s and this skill is definitely a factor to differentiate the two. It’s really refreshing to see a support worker use their initiative and to prepare accordingly which shows many employers that they have the skills needed to take the next step. Now before you misinterpret this skill, you must always make sure that you are utilising supervision and know your clinical limits as you don’t want to be seen as reckless. Nevertheless, if something is within your boundaries and also utilises you taking the initiative then by all means continue.
PsychAssist Tip: Think before you ACT! Is this within my clinical limits? What would my supervisor say? These are the conversations you should be having with yourself before taking the initiative. This is especially important when working within mental health as your actions could potentially undo the hard work of others.
This is a skill that separates the successful candidate from the rest. So many PsychGrads go into AP interviews thinking that they have to know it all and be this PERFECT clinician. In fact, this is probably the quickest way to be rejected from a post as no one wants the finished article (if they did, they would have hired a fully qualified psychologist). Employers want to hire PsychGrads who are “blank canvases” as this allows them to mold you and to teach you different skills. This is ultimately what an AP should be as ideally you shouldn’t be in the same role for more than 18 months which gives just enough time to shape you and make you a better clinician. PsychGrads could even be incorporating this into their current roles by allowing yourself to soak in as much knowledge and experience as possible.
PsychAssist Tip: Be open and honest! Tell your supervisor that you are willing to learn as much as you can and if there are any resources they can signpost you to. This is crucial as when you are an AP, they’re usually fixed term contracts which doesn’t give you a lot of time to learn. Utilise the time that you have to soak in as much knowledge as possible.
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