Psychology is the study of human behavior as it relates to the mind and various physiological processes. It is a diverse field that can lead to different career paths. However, when you are considering a bachelor’s or an advance degree in psychology, some self-examination is in order to determine if this field is compatible with your personality and personal goals, according to Psychology Today.
1. Emotional Stability
Regardless of the field of specialization that you intend to pursue, understand that psychology majors will likely end up in a career that requires interacting with the public. Handling staffing issues in the human resources department, interviewing school children with developmental challenges or interfacing with adult clients with mental health challenges require a solid emotional foundation. In spite of the stress and emotional environment, you will be asked to stay calm and remain neutral as a professional. Facing highly emotional situations may be a routine part of your job.
2. Solid Sense of Personal Ethics
Confidentiality is the rule rather than the exception when dealing with crucial information about the client or conditions related to the client. You will be entrusted with some very personal information by clients, and it will be your responsibility to safeguard the information while ensuring that your clients are safe from self-harm and are unable to inflict harm on others. This will require a delicate balance of common sense and respecting confidences. If you end up in psychological research, ensure that your processes and results are free of biases and inaccuracies as your research could have an impact on human lives.
3. Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills
You will be working with diverse groups with different backgrounds and personalities. Empathy is very important when you are trying to gain the confidence of your clients to make sure that you understand their challenges, so you can provide the care they need. In these cases, communication is the ability to gain the client’s trust and to establish a positive and professional relationship. Even if you intend to pursue non-clinical roles in the field of psychology, having excellent communication skills will help you as a researcher, a policy analyst or as a staffer for the human resources department. You must always come across as a trustworthy and reliable individual for people to trust you with their confidences.
As a psychology major, you will be dealing with new experiences and concepts that may contradict your personal philosophies. You may have to deal with individuals whose beliefs run counter to yours. It is important for you to learn and practice open-mindedness to find the best solutions for a given condition. You may be forced to deal with situational ethics to find the best solutions from the client’s viewpoint. To put the client first, you will have to approach difficult situations with an open mind. Self-control and discipline are prerequisites when dealing with individuals in distress who may be relying on your expertise to resolve their personal crisis.
5. Patience and Steadfastness
When dealing with behavioral challenges, do not expect to find quick-fix solutions. Each person is different with a unique background. It may take time to find workable solutions. Even then, you may have to slog through emotional barriers to get a sense of the underlying problems. As a researcher, you should be willing to put in the time to generate accurate data and to analyze the information thoroughly.
Much is demanded of psychology majors because you have chosen a career that deals directly and indirectly with the emotional and mental health needs of others. Make sure to determine if you have the essential traits needed to deliver specific services to clients who may be under extreme stress. Some of these skills may be learned through self-direction and discipline while you are in the process of completing your degree in psychology.