Skip to main content
5 answers
5
Asked 275 views

What does a regular/average work day?

When you're a psychologist you help people with their mental health. How do you know when you've helped someone too much or you're just doing your job? I feel like the mental toll from being a psychologist would affect your own mental health greatly and I want to know how to balance the job and just being too nice. I'm in high school and this is one of the jobs I really want to do because I'm a very emotional person and I know what it's like to struggle with mental health.

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

5

5 answers


0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Nathaniel’s Answer

You can't really help someone too much. If you end up doing the work they need to do for themselves, it's not help, is it? The classic example is the butterfly emerging from its cocoon. It’s only in the struggle to break free that the butterfly becomes strong enough to survive as an adult.

As other commentators note, it’s all about boundaries: having clear boundaries of ones own, and not trespassing on the boundaries of others. You will learn about this, both in theory and practice, as you proceed through schooling. Two of the most important things I learned in my own training were how to time when it becomes okay not just to support a client, but to challenge them when they become stuck in an unhelpful behavior—not until you have built up considerable trust in each other—and how to question oneself about what to say, or not say, to a client: “Do I need to say that, or do they need to hear it?”

You can start learning about your own boundaries right away, though. Pay close attention to how you feel in your interactions. How doe it feel, not in general but right now, when you are asking someone for help? Is the feeling different when you know that person well? If you have received help from that person in the past, does that affect how you feel now? Does it matter whether their giving help was successful or not? Does it matter if it was open-hearted or not? What is your relationship with the would-be helper? Are they parent, teacher, age-mate? The more you know about your own responses and what affects them, the better you will be able to understand and anticipate others.

Finally, while practicing therapy/counseling, it’s important to have support of your own, another matter you will learn about in training. In school and early training, you will have a supervisor to debrief with, to examine your practices and feelings with. Later as a practitioner you might join a professional peer group. It’s also important to receive therapy of one’s own. Among psychoanalysts, possibly the most highly trained therapists, it is traditional to do 1.5-3 years, 3-5 times per week, of one’s own psychoanalysis: this is not the bar, but the gold standard. Again, the more you know about yourself, the better you will understand others.
Thank you comment icon This was really helpful thank you so much! Milan
Thank you comment icon Thank you Milan for letting me know that. Nathaniel Wander
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

David’s Answer

Hello Milan -- I think I see three related questions in what you're asking, so I hope I get this right.

"How do you know when you've helped someone too much or you're just doing your job?"
This sounds like your wondering how a therapist or counselor knows if they are getting over-involved in a case, or how to remain objective in emotionally-charged situations. Becoming a mental health therapist (psychologist, counselor, clinical social worker, and other professions) requires graduate level education, supervised fieldwork experience, and usually an internship or postgraduate supervised experience in order to become licensed. (A state license enables you to do independent private practice, but many agency or institutional jobs also require you to become licensed.) An important part of the training and supervised experience is to help you develop not only the knowledge needed to help others, but also competency based on supervised experience. You'll have the opportunity to learn through individual and group supervision how to be not only empathic and develop a therapeutic relationship with clients, but also how to stay objective and assess your effectiveness.

"I feel like the mental toll from being a psychologist would affect your own mental health greatly and I want to know how to balance the job and just being too nice."
With more maturity, education, training, and experience, you'll learn a number of research-based ways to helpful to others, and how to develop and maintain a therapeutic relationship with clients. This will include empathy and genuineness, and will always be focused on working with the client's needs and problems, not your own. Again, supervised fieldwork and post graduate professional experience will support you in your professional growth and development.

"...this is one of the jobs I really want to do because I'm a very emotional person and I know what it's like to struggle with mental health."
Many people who have struggled with mental health problems are motivated to learn how to help others. This is an admirable and genuine feeling that can lead to a rewarding career. As you progress through college and work toward getting into a position to help others, keep in mind there are many avenues that can lead to a helping profession. Psychology is one, but also there are programs and work settings that require somewhat fewer years of education and training, including clinical social work, clinical counseling programs, school psychology, marriage and family therapy, occupational therapy, career counseling, and others. Although there is some overlap, each field has its own areas of expertise, specializations, and curricula. Also most of these fields work with people in a wide range of ages and degrees of severity of problems. So there's a lot to learn about what fits your specific interests and abilities, but you'll have time to figure it all out.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Michael’s Answer

Hey there; To be really effective at this profession, you have to be in a pretty sold place yourself. You develop your empathy, not sympathy, so you can deal with painful topics without letting it directly touch your soul.
Therapy involves three things: Letting them share (a burden shared is a burden halved), "reality testing (you can go interesting places with something in your head but when you put it in words and share it with another human it tends to bring the thing back down to earth) and providing the client tools to better cope. If you are doing those things, you are doing your job.
I was trying to understand what you meant by "too much" and too much would be violating proper boundaries and particularly getting emotionally involved. You are there to help them, not the other way around. This is never about you; it is always about them.
You need a lot of training and experience to be a counselor, and a good one needs to slay their own demons before they can help others with theirs.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Milan
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

James Constantine’s Answer

Greetings, Milan!

As a high school student contemplating a future in psychology, you might be curious about how to strike a balance between the requirements of the profession and your personal mental well-being. Being a psychologist can be emotionally taxing, so it's vital to establish boundaries and prioritize self-care to prevent exhaustion. Here are some tactics to help you tackle this issue:

1. Establish definite boundaries: It's critical to set clear boundaries with your clients to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This involves limiting the number of clients you handle, the time you dedicate to each, and the subjects you're comfortable discussing.

Reference:

* American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from <https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index>

2. Make self-care a priority: Regular self-care activities such as exercising, meditating, and spending quality time with loved ones can help you rejuvenate and maintain your mental health. It's crucial to prioritize these activities and allocate time for them in your routine.

Reference:

* National Institute of Mental Health. (2019). Self-Care for Mental Health. Retrieved from <https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/self-care-for-mental-health/index.shtml>

3. Look for support: Having a support system to help you cope with the emotional pressures of the job is crucial. This could include colleagues, supervisors, or a mentor who can offer guidance and support.

Reference:

* Hogan, M. J., & Burke, S. (2018). The Emotional Demands of Psychotherapy: A Study of Psychologists' Experiences. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 46(1), 38-53.

4. Keep an eye on your mental health: Being aware of your mental health and seeking help when needed is crucial. This could involve seeking therapy or counseling, taking a break from work, or seeking support from loved ones.

Reference:

* Australian Psychological Society. (2019). Managing the Emotional Demands of Work. Retrieved from <https://www.psychology.org.au/for-students/career-and-professional-development/managing-the-emotional-demands-of-work>

In conclusion, establishing clear boundaries, prioritizing self-care, seeking support, and monitoring your own mental health are all key strategies for balancing the demands of being a psychologist with your personal mental health. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure that you're providing the best care for your clients while also maintaining your own well-being.

References:

* American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from <https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index>
* National Institute of Mental Health. (2019). Self-Care for Mental Health. Retrieved from <https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/self-care-for-mental-health/index.shtml>
* Hogan, M. J., & Burke, S. (2018). The Emotional Demands of Psychotherapy: A Study of Psychologists' Experiences. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 46(1), 38-53.
* Australian Psychological Society. (2019). Managing the Emotional Demands of Work. Retrieved from <https://www.psychology.org.au/for-students/career-and-professional-development/managing-the-emotional-demands-of-work>

May God bless you!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Milan
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Katie’s Answer

Good morning. Although I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist I am a physician. As you progress through your training attention is spent on helping you develop coping skills and monitoring your own well being. In fact, I am on a number of committees that promotes this. It’s a little hard for you to see it this way now but being a psychiatrist isn’t like listening to a friend tell you about their day. The patients present to you for help. They know something is wrong and they are hoping you can help them work through it. Ending therapy (not the session but no longer needing follow up appointments) is a joint decision between the provider and the patient. It’s a very rewarding job, study hard!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Milan
0