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10 essential characteristics of a good psychologist

10 essential characteristics of a good psychologist

June 12, 2024

Being a good psychologist is not always an easy task , because this profession can become stressful and overwhelming.

Dealing with other people and their problems, sometimes serious, and helping them to manage their emotions correctly can be exhausting. Among professionals of psychology it is known that, especially those who are dedicated to psychological therapy, the first ones who must attend therapy sessions are the therapists themselves. This can help them be more objective when it comes to treating their patients.

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Principles to be a good psychologist

Many times, the difference between being a good psychologist or a bad psychologist is in the attitude, in following a series of principles or habits that improve good professional work. Psychological therapy, sometimes, may not work, but psychologists should avoid that bad practices are the reason why the patient has not benefited from therapeutic help.

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But, What are the principles that a good professional of psychology should apply? How should a good psychologist or therapist be? Next we explain them to you.

1. Never judge a patient

Throughout his professional career, a psychologist can meet patients who think differently to him in many ways . In addition, some of the experiences that patients reveal may not be understandable to many people. But the psychologist or therapist must understand the situation, and in spite of not sharing the patient's way of acting or thinking, he should never impose his opinion.

The psychologist is a professional who has been trained to provide the patient with the necessary tools to improve their psychological well-being. So, a good psychologist neither judges nor criticizes his patients .

2. Be accessible

Patients are usually people who need professional help for different reasons, but they are usually in a situation of psychological and emotional distress. A good psychologist allows his clients to feel comfortable in their sessions and it is accessible. This helps the patient open up and feel prepared to overcome their fears.

3. Actively listening

The therapist must pay full attention to his patients , so you should not only hear what he says, but should listen to him fully. This means that you must listen actively, that is, pay attention with the five senses to what the patient says.

Further, the psychologist must not continually interrupt his patient during the session , because it is not positive to maintain the therapist-patient connection. In this sense, it is essential that the psychologist provide excellent rapport in his sessions.

4. Be self-conscious and sincere

The therapeutic relationship is not always easy , because psychologists are human beings with their own emotions and thoughts.

But the good psychologist is self-aware and knows when he stops being objective and is based on prejudices when it comes to helping his patients. In addition, good psychologists are sincere with both the patient and themselves, which allows guiding the patient on the road to recovery.

5. Be in continuous training

A good psychologist is continuously forming , because he must be able to understand and treat his patients in the best possible way. Our society is constantly changing and technological advances are changing our way of interacting with the environment.

To understand the current reality, it is necessary for the therapist to update his knowledge constantly. Training is basic to continue improving and to continue growing professionally.

6. Be ethical

The psychologist, in addition to possessing theoretical and practical knowledge for the proper development of their profession, must be aware of its resources and limitations and of the ethical principles that govern the exercise of their profession . There is a deontological code that all mental health professionals must follow strictly and that guarantee a professional and quality service.

The social responsibility of the psychologist obliges him to respect the dignity of his patients and to preserve and protect fundamental human rights. Among some of the ethical obligations of the psychologist, we can find: use their knowledge to promote human welfare or maintain professional secrecy.

7. Communicate effectively

Since psychologists deal with people, it is necessary that they master certain interpersonal skills and communication skills.

For one of the reasons why there is a good professional relationship between a therapist and a patient is good communication and understanding between both , it is absolutely necessary that the professional possesses a series of communicative resources that convey their message clearly to the patient.

8. Be patient

One of the qualities that the therapist must possess is patience . Throughout the therapeutic sessions there may be ups and downs on the part of the patient, something that may also affect the psychologist, making him question his method of work.

The psychologist-patient relationship is not always idyllic, and in many cases the psychologist must be tolerant and patient, and must be able to transmit that patience so that the patient is aware that the ups and downs are normal.

9. Be empathetic

But the therapist must not only be patient in front of the person in front of him, but, in order to carry out his professional tasks successfully, he must be empathetic.

This means that he must be able to put himself in the other's place to feel what he feels and think as he thinks . In this way you will be able to understand the magnitude of the problem that the person is living and will be able to help you. If the psychologist does not manage to be empathetic, he can minimize the problem that the patient is experiencing, which could lead him to use inappropriate tools.

10. Derive when necessary

The psychologist must understand that he can not help the patient in all his reasons for consultation or is an expert in solving all the problems. One of the principles for being a good psychologist is know how to derive when necessary .

Therefore, the psychologist must refer the patient to another professional so that the latter can benefit from the help provided by another health professional. If you do not do it, you are committing a bad professional practice.

Bibliographic references:

  • Official College of Psychologists of Spain. (2010). Code of ethics. Available at: //
  • Badós López, A. and García Grau, A. (2011). Therapeutic skills Available at: //

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