So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Study people's behaviour, motivations, thoughts and feelings
- You'll need science and maths ability with excellent communication skills
- You could specialise further within your branch of psychology
As a psychologist, you'll specialise in an area of psychology like education, occupational, counselling, neuropsychology, forensic or criminal, clinical, or sports and exercise.
In education, you'll help children and young people overcome difficulties and further their educational and psychological development. Occupational psychology will involve helping businesses improve their performance and increase employee job satisfaction. If you're working as a counsellor, you'll help people resolve their problems and make decisions, particularly at stressful times in their lives. Neuropsychologists help patients with brain injuries and diseases to recover or improve their quality of life. Forensic and criminal psychologists use psychological theory to help investigate crimes, rehabilitate offenders and support prison staff. Clinical psychology involves working with people to help them deal with conditions like anxiety, stress, depression and mental illness. Sports and exercise psychology allows you to work with individuals, teams and organisations to improve motivation and performance.
- Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioural issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, or reference materials.
- Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behaviour modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, or play therapy.
- Counsel individuals and groups regarding problems, such as stress, substance abuse, or family situations, to modify behaviour or to improve personal, social, or vocational adjustment.
- Discuss the treatment of problems with clients.
- Write reports on clients and maintain required paperwork.
- Consult with or provide consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
You could be based in a hospital, school, clinic, prison or community mental health team.
To be a psychologist, you'll need counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach, knowledge of psychology, customer service skills, the ability to understand people's reactions, sensitivity and understanding, excellent verbal communication skills, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, and to enjoy working with other people.
You'll need a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited degree in psychology leading to Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), work experience in the specialism you want to work in, a BPS accredited postgraduate qualification relating to your chosen specialism. If you have a degree that isn't in psychology, you may be able to complete an approved psychology conversion course.
You'll then be able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and work as a psychologist.
You'll also need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.
To work as a psychologist, you'll also need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
You could specialise further within your branch of psychology or take on a research project leading to a PhD qualification. You could also move into teaching or research as a career.