I’m often asked how I can enjoy my job. People tend to think it would be too depressing or too stressful to sit and listen to others people’s problems
My answer is; yes, it is difficult to hear about the pain and distress someone else is experiencing. However, as a psychologist I have the opportunity to make a difference. If I do my job well I can help someone else feel less pain and distress. They can have a much more positive experience of life. It’s the opportunity to make a difference that motivates me and makes the job so rewarding.
The longer you work as a psychologist the more stories you have of people who have managed to make the transition from deep distress to a much happier time in life. Even if the person I’m trying to help believes there’s little hope, I know change is possible because I’ve seen so many people get better.
I sometimes describe my clinical work as working with people to solve problems that happen to have an emotional component. I enjoy the process of solving problems (if you play computer games, do puzzles or read ‘who dunnit’ murder mysteries you probably feel the same). Sometimes it can take a lot of time to solve a problem but that just makes it more satisfying.
I’ve always loved learning (although school very nearly put me off when I was younger). Clinical work gives you the perfect reason to learn constantly. The more you learn the better you get at solving problems and helping others.
So if you truly want to make a positive difference for others, you enjoy solving problems, you love learning constantly and you find yourself trying to understand others then perhaps you might enjoy a career in clinical psychology.
Of course, you might suit plenty of other careers too. There are many ways to help others.
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