The profession of psychotherapist is a job option that attracts thousands of people year after year, being the Psychology career one of the most requested in most Spanish-speaking countries.
However, as all people who start training in this field discover sooner or later, the path to professionalization in psychotherapy is not one of the simplest. Knowing how to train in the best possible way is crucial to bring to our experience the differential factor necessary to stand out, to have clients and to be a psychotherapist both in theory and in practice.
How to be a psychotherapist: towards a viable career
We will now go over some basic advice on how to be a psychotherapist , knowing how to choose well where to invest the time and effort so that these bear fruit effectively.
1. Choose a good university centre
This must be clear to you: to be a psychotherapist, you have to obtain a university degree in psychology, and in many countries it is not even enough to take this step. Training in Psychology offers the theoretical and practical basis necessary to know how to orient oneself in this area of knowledge and applied science, although to specialize it will be necessary to continue studying.
How do you choose a good college? It is very important that you inform yourself about their working methodology to check that it is based on scientifically validated paradigms, and to make sure that they offer both training in the traditional format of lectures and master classes, and through hands-on learning with training materials, laboratories and real workplaces or simulations of this. The option of internships in external organizations is also a requirement that you should consider mandatory.
2. Choose your area of expertise
Psychology is a very broad field, so sooner or later you will have to choose what kind of content to focus on .
In the case of psychotherapy, it is also possible to specialize more and direct efforts to train in more specific subjects: eating disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one of these areas; ideally, you should choose three or four. This way, you’ll have expert knowledge but at the same time you won’t have such a degree of specialization that you’ll have trouble finding a job.
3. Learn on your own
To limit oneself to passively internalizing the contents taught at the university offers a very limited scope of learning, especially considering that in Psychology novelties appear very often . This is why it is necessary for you to learn on your own and to keep up to date with the latest research in your areas of specialization of interest.
That means reading scientific journal articles, especially, and while popular science books are also interesting and useful for discovering new ideas, they should not be your only source of information.
4. Continue to learn by courses and Masters
Masters are the type of training programs to specialize par excellence, so you can learn new content but, above all, apply them in contexts very similar to those you will find in consultation . It is therefore important to take advantage of this type of experience as a prelude to what you will do alone in your practice once you have become fully professional.
In other training programs, institutions have collaborative centers where clients can go, and although not a bad option, they lack the same standards of control. In any case, it is essential to be able to apply what has been learned so that the day does not come when the first consultation is offered and the client does not know what to do.
If you already have the necessary qualifications to work in patient care, whether in psychology or medicine, you may be interested in the online course Therapist’s Skills, available at rizaldos.com . Throughout this learning program, designed by psychologist Miguel Ángel Rizaldos, materials and personalized tutorials are offered to master the fundamental skills in helping people in the clinical and health context.
The course has a system of continuous evaluation, more than 200 pages of materials, and the assistance of a professional with more than 25 years of experience in clinical and health psychology. To see Miguel Angel Rizaldos’ contact information, click here.
5. Surround yourself with people who know
This is an idea that often goes unnoticed, but the difference between training alone and having frequent contact with other students or professionals in the field of psychotherapy, contributes greatly to our progress. It is a way of finding out about doubts that had never occurred to us and trying to solve them , of finding out about the state of the profession both in its contents and in its more circumstantial aspects (regulation and labour market issues) and, why not, of forging interesting friendships.
6. Keep in mind the code of ethics
In the profession of psychotherapist you not only have to know how to do it, you also have to know what is right to do and what is not. Therefore, inform yourself of all the details related to the code of ethics of psychotherapy, which among other things will help you to get out of doubts about the ethical implications of your work and to bear in mind how what you do affects other professionals, your clients and patients, and the people around them.