A psychologist is a therapist professional who studies behavioural and mental ability by observing and interpreting people’s relationship to each other and the environment. Psychologists work in different areas. Some work with medical teams to improve the overall wellbeing of the patients, some work independently researching or working with clients to provide solutions and suggestions for personal problems.

Typical duties of a psychologist

  • Neuropsychologists conduct scientific research on behaviour and brain functioning.
  • Collect and analyse information through interviews, observations, surveys, and tests.
  • Study and analyse patterns that will help predict and understand the behaviour
  • Use their knowledge to understand individuals and groups behaviour.
  • Develop programs in schools and workplaces that will help improve the environment by addressing psychological issues
  • Work with members of the community to help them bring desired changes.
  • Identify and diagnose disorders brought about by mental disturbances, emotional or behavioural factors.
  • Develop plans and carry out appropriate treatments for disorders.
  • Work with physicians and social workers to help ensure a patient’s overall wellness.

Psychologists offer a listening ear to their clients and provide explanations to thoughts, emotions and feelings. Psychologists use techniques like observations, experimentation and assessments to develop theories about attitudes and behaviour that influence actions on people. They are also known for evaluation through controlled lab experiments known as psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.

Traits of a psychologist

Psychologists possess distinct personalities. They are investigative, intellectual, analytical and reflective individuals. Some psychologists are social, generous, patient cooperative, caring, helpful, wise, friendly and empathetic.

Typical workplace for a psychologist

Some psychologists work independently doing research or counselling patients. Others fit into the healthcare system working with physicians and social workers to treat patients and promote overall well being. Those in private practice have their own offices in metropolitan areas where they set their schedules with clients for sessions. Others work in clinical centres, hospitals, rehab centres and community mental centres. School psychologists work in public educational centres from kindergarten to high schools or tertiary colleges providing guiding and counselling to learners and staff. You will find other psychologists working in government agencies, research centres and non-governmental organisations.

Psychologists in the private practice set their working hours and may work part-time as consultants. They often work on evening hours and weekends to accommodate clients working or regular 9 to 5 working hours. While those employed in institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, may work on evening hours or weekends as private practice for a side hustle.

A path to becoming a psychologist

Entry into psychology graduate is competitive, but most master’s degree programs do not require a major in psychology but introductory psychology or statistics. At the same time, some doctoral degree programs do require a master’s degree in psychology. In most jurisdictions, psychologists require licensure or certification before practice.

The difference between a social worker and a psychologist

A social worker is someone who acts as a client advocate, advisor and coordinator of care. His duties are to liaise with the family of a patient, for finances, admission, discharge, housing and follow-up appointments. They offer outside services and act as a link to the courts in case of legal procedures.

Caring psychologists work with families, individuals and couples to identify mental or behavioural disorders. After diagnosis, they develop a treatment plan and collaborate with doctors to offer comprehensive treatment. In short, a psychologist addresses problems due to society, while a social worker addresses issues within a community.