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10 Most Important Skills of a Clinical Psychologist

Those who hold a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology will have many of the most important skills that a clinical psychologist needs. During your education and hands-on training, you will acquire many more needed skills. Out of all of the skills a clinical psychologist needs, 10 are of the most importance.

  1. A Clear Set of Values - There are certain legal standards that must be adhered to, as well as ethical values. Violating any of the established ethical principals is a very serious offense. Always set professional boundaries with new clients, and carefully stick to them. Many problems that arise happen because of emotional attachments that should not have occurred.
  2. The Ability to Adapt and Grow - An important part of being a clinical psychologist is being open to continuing educational opportunities. There are always new developments in the field that may impact how you can help your clients more effectively. Always make sure you're able to keep any personal issues that you may be facing out of your professional life. You will need to evaluate your clients' progress regularly, as well as that of any affected family members.
  3. Accurate Assessments - A large part of your job will involve making assessments to determine whether a client is suffering from a mental or emotional illness. Good testing skills are essential to an accurate diagnosis. You will need to make sure that you have accurate information to provide to other medical team members who are responsible for medications.
  4. Good Therapy Skills - You must be able to create an environment where clients feel completely safe discussing personal issues with you. While you are likely to have your own preferred psychotherapy methods, be sensitive to the needs of patients and be willing to adapt, when necessary. Mutual trust is a clinical psychologist's most valuable tool.
  5. Excellent Research Skills - Research is an essential part of online masters in clinical psychology programs, and also plays a major role in real-life practice. Knowing about recent research breakthroughs where your patients' illnesses are concerned will allow you to help your patients in new ways.
  6. The Ability to Communicate Effectively - Clinical psychologists have to communicate regularly with a team of professionals, in addition to their clients. This may include psychiatrists or other medical doctors, social workers and nurses. The course of treatment needs to be carefully documented. You must also be able to give directions effectively.
  7. Good Listening - Clinical psychologists need to have good active listening skills. It's important to always give clients your undivided attention, and to refrain from interrupting. You want to gain a thorough understanding of why your client feels the way he or she does.
  8. The Ability to Solve Problems - This involves good analytical and creative skills. The needs of clients may change over the course of treatment, and it's necessary to be able to change the treatments accordingly. You will also need to integrate new findings into your established treatments.
  9. Flexibility - A clinical psychologist must be flexible. He or she may be called on to work in any number of work settings, especially in a crisis situation. While most clinical psychologists work in private practices with set hours, psychologists should always be prepared for emergencies.
  10. Excellent Reading Skills - Psychologists spend much of their time reading assessments and other case files on clients. It is also beneficial for clinical psychologists to spend time reading news and other information on their field. It's essential for you to be able to comprehend and retain what you read.

These skills help psychologists perform their jobs very effectively. It's very important to keep these and other essential skills fresh at all times. Your career should not be seen as the end of your education, but part of a lifelong learning experience.

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