Frequently Asked Questions About Comprehensive Psychological Services

My father worked at an off-shore oil rig in the Middle East for at least two decades. He would come back to the US for a month around December to celebrate the holidays with us, and I would always see him smiling happily. He also made sure to return a week or two before the winter break so that he could drive us to school and back, even for just a few school days.

Whenever I asked Dad how it was like to work on a massive structure in the middle of the ocean when I was a kid, he often created this cool picture in my head. He said that from the US, he would need to land in a Middle-Eastern country first. Then, a helicopter would arrive to take him straight to the oil rig. His job was to ensure that the massive drilling equipment used to extract oil from the bottom of the ocean was fully functioning.

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In the mind of a child, it all sounded like something out of the movies. That’s especially true since my father would bring home photos of him on different parts of the off-shore building, wearing cool Ray-Ban glasses and a jacket. Not to mention, the job paid him so much money that my little sisters and I could go to a private school and live in a Spanish-style villa in Los Angeles. I thought it was the best job in the world.

When my siblings and I finished college and moved out of the house, my father decided that it was time for retirement. We all supported his decision, considering he had been away from home for a long time. Even if he could visit yearly, it was still not enough for him to enjoy the fruits of his labor. So, when he came back for good, the entire family surprised him with balloons and banners at the airport and proceeded to celebrate with booze and good food all weekend.

Settling In And Telling Tales

Once my father was home, the family had a new habit of spending Sundays together. My mother would always prepare a spread in the backyard as the boys would start grilling a steak. Of course, there would also be a bonfire in the evening and a lot of stories.

One Sunday evening, my sister asked Dad if there were any ghosts at the oil rig. She meant it more as a joke – she didn’t honestly believe in ghosts – but Dad smiled and said, “Sure, there are. They were alive, though.”

It piqued my curiosity. Leaning forward, I asked, “What do you mean, Dad? How can ghosts be alive?”

“Well, if you work in the middle of the ocean, you need to be mentally resilient. You need to make peace with the fact that you won’t see your family for most of the year and that you will likely start at an infinite amount of water even when it’s your off day since transportation is quite limited there,” Dad explained.

“Did anyone go crazy?” my sister asked.

“Almost, yes, especially when it comes to the newbies. That’s why the company started sending psychologists off-shore for counseling and cognitive testing not too long ago.”

What are the advantages of psychological testing? 

Psychological testing offers the following advantages:

    • It helps psychologists gauge how advanced a person’s cognitive function is in various areas. This will allow someone to understand how much they can excel in a specific career or how much they need to improve.
    • It provides an objective view of how problems can be resolved. Such information is ideal for both the psychologist and the patient to determine how the latter can avoid similar issues later.
    • It allows people to become more efficient decision-makers. By taking the test, they can understand their weak points and work on them accordingly.
    • It guides psychologists on how they can assist an individual through their mental health journey. This is especially important for new practitioners who are yet to comprehend their patients’ actions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a psychologist? 

Advantages:

    • You can work whenever you want. You get to decide about your work hours and how many people you can meet every day. This gives you enough time to ensure a work-life balance.
    • You have a great chance of earning well. That is especially true if you live in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and other high-end cities.
    • You do not need to work for someone else. After earning your doctoral degree, you can set up a clinic and be your boss.
    • You get to meet people from all walks of life and help them deal with their emotions and issues. It is rewarding to know that they will come out of your office feeling slightly better than ever.

Disadvantages:

    • Not every patient will be easy to deal with. Many of them have deep-seated issues that make it almost impossible for them to accept help; others may try to argue with you every time, thinking they know what’s best for them.
    • Considering psychologists tend to work with people with erratic behaviors, you probably need to be on-call to help them during emergencies sometimes. It may happen even during holidays.
    • Though it sounds lovely to have your clinic, setting up one can be as tedious as any business. Not to mention, renting an office space may be an issue if you don’t have room for your home practice.
    • It is quite challenging to handle different payment options, too. It is ideal for every client to come with cash, but many people don’t, so you need to accommodate their credit cards or insurance.

What are the advantages of Counselling? 

    • You may be able to accept yourself for who you are more easily.
    • Your communication skills may improve.
    • You can stay away from habits that promote self-defeat.
    • You may stop thinking of anger as the best way to express your thoughts.
    • Your mind may become clearer, and you get to make better decisions in life.
    • Your stress level will decrease gradually as you become aware of your stressors.
    • You may figure out how to resolve issues without getting stuck in a rut.
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Why is psychological testing necessary to Counselling practice? 

Psychological testing is vital to counseling practice as it gives the counselor an objective view of their client’s mind. This is sometimes better than merely listening to the client and their loved ones about their issues, especially if they are in denial and their family and friends are enablers.

Psychological testing can show how long an individual has been dealing with a mental disorder, what symptoms manifest, and how it has affected their way of life. Once the counselor gets the results, they can understand why the client does or says something.

What is the purpose of a psychological assessment? 

A psychological assessment aims to help psychologists figure out someone’s personality and why they react in a certain way. Most – if not all – psychologists require potential patients to get evaluated psychologically before they even attend the first counseling or therapy session. The documentation will allow the psychologists to compare the patient’s words to what they previously answered in the assessment.

What do psychologists make annually? 

The answer to this question depends on where the psychologist practices or what field of psychology they are in. According to studies, the most in-demand psychologists are in the industrial-organizational area. They work for various companies to help CEOs and managers understand their employees’ behaviors. Such psychologists may earn more than $100,000 a year.

Similarly, if the psychologist deals with high-profile patients (e.g., celebrities, politicians, athletes, etc.), they can secure at least $110,000 annually. It should be emphasized that this amount is for rookie psychologists with only one or two years of experience. If you have been practicing for more than a decade, your annual income may double or triple. 

Are psychologists happy? 

Psychologists are no different from all of us, whose happiness may or may not be affected by the people or events around us. If we refer to the experts, studies claim that their happiness level is above average. Despite that, psychologists can be happier than others if they love helping people understand and deal with their mental health issues and know better than letting personal matters get in their professional way.

Why is psychology so important? 

Psychology matters because many people fail to figure out that everything you do can affect your mental health. Similarly, whatever you think of can affect your mood and behavior. When you understand psychology, though, you will always be conscious of why you experience a certain emotion, what you can do to improve your thinking pattern, and how you can get the most out of life every time.

What are the qualities of a good Counsellor? 

A good counselor has the following qualities:

  • Active Listener: What separates a good counselor from others is their ability to listen actively to their clients. Meaning, instead of sitting in the room and letting the person drone on and on about their issues, they sometimes jump in and react at the right moments without making the client feel belittled or not taken seriously.
  • Empathic: An incredible counselor knows how to make people realize that they are a reliable support system. You don’t judge your clients or laugh behind your hands because you understand how they feel and genuinely want to ease their burden.
  • Observant: Great counselors do not accept every word that comes out of the client’s mouth as the truth, even though they will not call the person out for lying. Instead, they will continue to observe their actions and speech pattern and offer their assessment in the end.
  • Patient: Every ideal counselor never gets mad or frustrated, no matter how much a client’s behavior deserves such a reaction. Instead, they exhibit extremely long patience and keep trying to help them get better.
  • Professional: An excellent counselor knows better than to offer a hug to a client or at least pat their back. Some may find such gestures consoling, but they are deemed unprofessional by many. To maintain professionalism, you should console a client through words.
  • Smart: Considering people come to you to gain clarity about their mental ordeal, it is only reasonable for you to be as knowledgeable about counseling as possible. Thus, you need to get licensed, continue training, and stay updated with the latest counseling trends and innovations.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of individual Counselling? 

Advantages:

    • It ensures that whatever you talk about in the counselor’s office will stay between you and the counselor. After all, no one else will be there during the session other than the two of you.
    • You will not need to compete for the counselor’s attention. This is a well-known problem in a group setting in which every participant only gets a few minutes to talk to the mental health professional before another person butts in.
    • It gives people enough time to feel comfortable with the idea of letting out their deepest, darkest secrets. Although it can happen when you join group counseling, too, you may feel pressured to speed up the process, primarily if everyone else has spoken up except for you.

Disadvantages:

    • The longer a client spends time alone with the counselor, the higher their chances are of getting emotionally dependent on the mental health professional. This poses a new problem, considering counselors are supposed to help people learn the opposite.
    • It increases the risk of solving only half of the problem. This is especially true for people who seek counseling because they fought with their friends, they’re going through a divorce, etc. The counselor will only hear the client’s side of the story, so the result may also be one-sided.
    • The counselor you end up going to may not have enough knowledge or experience. In truth, this is typical for counselors who offer assistance for free. If they do not have the word ‘licensed’ in their title, it means they may not be able to help you much.

Is Counselling dangerous? 

Technically, no, counseling is not a dangerous practice. You will merely sit in a safe space and talk to a counselor about your issues. Ideally, the latter will not judge you or say anything that may cause you to spiral down the drain. 

Despite that, it is no secret that not all counselors know what they are doing. That is especially true if you choose to get help from someone who does not have a license to offer to counsel. Lack of permit equates to lack of training or required education to counseling people. In that case, then counseling becomes dangerous.

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What are the limitations of psychological tests? 

You should not expect psychological tests to do the following:

    • Come with interpretations. Psychologists are supposed to interpret the test results based on their knowledge and understanding. Unfortunately, not all psychologists tend to interpret them in precisely the same way.
    • Make incredibly reliable measurements. The reason is that emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are not quantifiable. The psychological test developers are doing everything to make the measurements as accurate as possible, but they cannot always achieve that.
    • Safe from changes. Considering psychological tests involve cultural and social issues that may only be relevant for a few years, developers need to alter them frequently. Thus, what you may see in an assessment now may no longer be there if you retake it a few years later.

What are the principles of psychological assessment? 

    • Every step must remain consistent with coming up with reliable results.
    • Every question must lack cultural or social bias to avoid subjective effects.
    • Every test result can be put in comparison with that of a large group of people.
    • Every test result should be the same – or almost the same – to be considered reliable.

What is a full psychological assessment?

A full psychological assessment refers to a collection of tests that mental health professionals conduct on a client. For starters, they may ask the latter to answer a set of questionnaires aiming to evaluable someone’s thinking pattern, emotions, and behaviors. Then, they may interview the person and ask for their medical records while observing them.

Final Thoughts

I realized two things after that eye-opening conversation with my father. One, I felt mad respect for Dad for putting up with such a mentally stressful job. No matter how lonely he might have gotten, he stayed put into giving us all an incredible life. Two, it showed me the value of providing comprehensive psychological services to people who worked hard to provide us with oil for our stoves, cars, and electricity.

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