Clinical Thinking Skills and Psychology

In practically every discussion on the topic of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, the notion of natural ability to help people is mentioned. Schwitzer and Rubin (2015) define this ability as the skill of a “natural helper,” indicating one’s predisposition to listen to people, analyze their feelings, and perform problem-solving skills (p. 27). This human characteristic is, by all means, meaningful to the quality of a counselor’s performance. However, the way this article emphasizes the criticality of such professional skills as diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment planning raises the question of whether people without explicit “natural helper” manifestations are prone to be qualified specialists.

Hence, since it is generally believed that one should have a gift of communication and empathy to become an excellent clinical psychologist, I believe that proper clinical qualifications can shape one’s expertise among people who do not have a distinct “helper” personality. According to the experts, clinically approved procedures for counseling rely mostly on the diagnosis appraisal and treatment tools, whereas specialists paying abundant attention to their personal attributes fail to provide quality intervention for the patient. Hence, it is natural to question the extent to which one’s talent affects the quality of counseling outcomes. In my opinion, it is critical for the specialist to have a certain level of emotional intelligence to have the ability to resonate with a person’s feelings, but it is not necessary to have experience in helping people prior to receiving clinical qualifications. In some cases, the natural urge to help others without using the aforementioned clinical skills can become a liability for a person seeking help. Hence, while many people do not recognize the ability to help others, they are able to practice their counseling with professional tools instead of instinct.


Schwitzer, A. M., & Rubin, L. C. (2014). Clinical thinking skills: Diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment planning. In Diagnosis and treatment planning skills (2nd ed., pp. 27-40). SAGE Publications.

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