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How to Spot a Good Psychologist

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If you are trying to look for a psychologist in Bayswater or wherever you live, then you might often hesitate when you do because you can’t be sure how good they are. Not many of us are so experienced at choosing psychologists, therapists and other mental health professionals, so we can find it intimidating and hard to be confident in any choice.

A good place to start is by understanding what traits make a good psychologist or therapist. Below are some ideas. If you can detect as many of these as possible in a psychologist, then chances are you have a very good one there:

1. Credentials and Experience

First and foremost, you need to have confidence that a psychologist is properly trained and qualified to be doing what they’re doing. Some kinds of talk therapists who listen and offer advice may not be medically certified, and that’s acceptable, but when it comes to dealing in more medical matters surrounding mental health, and when looking at the more clinical side of psychology, a good psychologist will invariably have impressive credentials.

Of course, credentials and certifications aren’t everything. Plenty of sub-par practitioners in various fields attended the best schools and obtained degrees. Ultimately it’s how those skills and that knowledge is applied, which is why the following factors are equally important.

2. Strong Local and Community Reputation

A good psychologist will have a strong reputation for good practice, discretion (see below), a kind nature and helpful advice and treatments that make a real positive difference in people’s lives. One can find a great deal out about a psychologist’s reputation simply by taking the time to look them up online, reading the reviews or stories shared by former patients, and also keeping one eye open for any negative news.

Beyond medical reputation, a psychologist's reputation as a member of the community is also important? Are they active within the community? Do they take time to give back and contribute? Those who benefit from practising within a community but seem to do very little to give back to it are perhaps not the best examples.

3. Exceptional Listening Skills

Psychologists have to exemplify fantastic skills when it comes to listening. Not only do they have to take in all kinds of information and detail, but they also need to practice what is known as “active listening” where they’re making it abundantly clear to their patient that they are hearing what they are saying, understanding and acknowledging it.

A psychologist who just sits, blank-faced and unmoving might be listening intently, but it’s quite hard to tell when they don’t practice active listening. It’s therefore a better idea to favour those who go out of their way to indicate without ambiguity that they are listening. It gives you more confidence to open up and explain in more detail.

4. Strong Sense of Empathy

In order to offer advice and ideas on solutions to your mental health problems, a good psychologist has to be able to put themselves into their patients’ shoes, even if it’s just for a short time while they’re meeting for a consultation an hour or two each week. To do this requires a very strong and sharpened sense of empathy. Such empathetic feeling allows the psychologist to really understand and appreciate what their patient’s are feeling and experiencing. Better solutions typically follow that level of connection.

5. Professionalism and Discretion

We started on a very practical note, and we’ll finish on one too. Good psychologists need to be able to demonstrate consistent professionalism in their daily work: being on time for appointments, keeping promises, sticking to agreements, being appropriately dressed, and so on. They also need to demonstrate discretion. It would make great dinner party conversation for a psychologist to share patient stories, but the good ones will never do that.


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