2 answers

As a psychologist, how are you able to cope with the people you are working with?

Asked Chicago, Illinois

2 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


People who must work with clients in high stress situations learn to "compartmentalize." Basically, you think about work while at work, and home while at home. Honestly, I would "forget" my customers the minute they walked out the door. I might have notes on things that I need to follow up on for them, but they are out of my mind. And they needed to be, because the next customer was walking in, and I needed to be 100% focused on them.

As one individual you are not going to be able to save the world. So, for example: as tempting as it might be to give them the money they need to go buy groceries, you accomplish a lot more if you let them know about the free food pantries, or, better yet, teach them how to find the free food pantries on their own.

I recommend you research compartmentalizing. It's an essential tool, and will help you be a successful psychologist!

G. Mark’s Answer


When you say, "working with," I assume you mean the clients rather than co-workers. The key to dealing with all the various challenges people have is to first realize that we are all challenged in some way. Your first impulse may be to be surprised or disappointed or critical of some aspect of a person's personality or proclivity. The point is that these are all relative to framework we come to a case with -- that is, our own personality. When I was young, I approached all people with using my own experience as a reference. This not only limited me, but truly limited my ability to engage, connect and understand others. Distancing yourself from this reference is not only difficult, but absolutely necessary. You cannot be useful to others if you limit yourself to your own frame of reference.