Professional psychotherapy is always aimed at changing the client’s life. Like other healthcare workers, practicing psychologists should have a desirable list of personal traits that will enable them to be more successful in their work. During the course, I learned that this list includes qualities of competence, dependability, willingness to learn, self-motivation, discretion, empathy, enthusiasm, honesty, integrity, initiative, patience, positive attitude, tact, and a sense of responsibility. This paper will discuss the three most important traits for a practicing psychologist – positive attitude, empathy, and patience.
As I learned from this course, a positive attitude is one of the most important personal traits in psychotherapy. Therapy is impossible without a positive attitude since this character trait is the basis of the relationship with the client. I think that I have a sufficient level of positive attitude since, in most situations, I try not to judge people and give them a space in which they can feel free. Moreover, I understand that life’s circumstances shape people more than it might be evident at first glance. Most of the undesirable qualities in a person are easily corrected through the development of adaptive behavior.
Empathy is another essential personality trait for a good psychologist. Empathy primarily includes listening and motivating a person to open up by asking reflective questions and showing interest. I think that I have a quality of empathy and that this quality is very difficult to counterfeit. For some reason, I am sincerely interested in other people’s problems, and I really want everyone to find a way out of their inner labyrinths. The quality of empathy presupposes the ability to see and feel the subtle vibrations of a person’s soul and emotions in gestures, intonation, and body position. Since unexpressed and repressed emotions are the basis of most psychological problems, empathy is a unique tool of the practicing psychologist, which allows them to help the client open up, expose, recognize and eventually solve existing problems.
Patience is another essential quality of the psychotherapist. Therapy usually lasts at least two months, and the professional psychologist must understand that change is not easy but gradual. I believe I have enough patience to accompany the patients on their way to change the problem situation or problem state of the psyche by developing adaptive behavior. Patience is usually combined with a positive attitude and is even an integral part of it. Not judging the patient for making progress slower than the psychologist would like them to can be a decisive therapy element.
Notably, scientists conducted a study according to which psychological practice can change an individual’s personality traits. In other words, even in the absence of a neurotic or psychotic state, the patient may want to change some of their personality traits. This desire can be satisfied thanks to a new direction of psychotherapy – psychological intervention aimed at changing personal qualities (Allemand and Flückiger 476). Patience is critical in this therapy as change is usually gradual. Psychologists themselves can and should undergo psychotherapy with their colleagues. If novice psychologists do not have certain vital qualities desired for professional counseling, they can purposefully develop these qualities.
Thus, the three most important traits for a practicing psychologist were discussed – positive attitude, empathy, and patience. A positive attitude is the main trait for successful psychotherapy and guarantees that the psychologist’s attitude towards the patient will not become an obstacle to therapy. Empathy is critical to help the patient open up, talk about their problems, and give the psychologist the appropriate extent of information to create a therapy plan. Patience is also integral to successful therapy, as it allows the patient to progress in treatment at their own pace and ensures that the psychologist respects even small success.
Allemand, Mathias, and Christoph Flückiger. “Changing personality traits: Some considerations from psychotherapy process-outcome research for intervention efforts on intentional personality change.” Journal of Psychotherapy Integration 27.4 (2017): 476.