Without a doubt, the career of Psychology is one of the most interesting ones nowadays, and training as a psychologist can be an enriching life experience. But many recent graduates complain that the career is impractical.
Some students take four years of their degree, almost two more years in the Master of General Health Psychology, and do not manage to put into practice everything they have learned. This becomes a serious problem when dealing with people and, in many cases, their emotional conflicts.
Interview with Sonia Algueró, director of the Master in Integrative Psychotherapy
Luckily, some graduate studies allow students to be trained not only in theoretical aspects, but also to be able to practice as psychotherapists and thus gain confidence in clinical and psychotherapeutic practice. An example of this is the Master’s degree in Integrative Psychotherapy from the Mensalus Institute in Barcelona .
Today we will talk to Sonia Algueró, clinical psychologist and general health psychologist, founder and technical director of the Mensalus Institute and director of the Master’s Degree in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Mensalus Institute, so that she can tell us about this totally practical training, designed for those who wish to acquire the functional skills necessary to be able to carry out their professional work as a psychologist.
Jonathan García-Allen: The Mensalus Institute offers a Master’s degree in Integrative Psychotherapy. I read on your website that it is a training course with a unique methodology whose aim is to help students to become future psychotherapists. What is the difference between your Master’s degree and similar ones?
Sonia Algueró: We carry out a master’s degree in assistance where the student can apply the knowledge acquired in his or her academic career within a real context, either from the observation of live cases or from live participation. This is the big difference.
In addition, week after week, you can draw on the theoretical knowledge you still need to carry out psychotherapy. The small groups and the exhaustive follow-up by the tutors guarantee a guided learning process at all times. The student is never alone, there is always a team behind him/her.
There are many students who, upon finishing their higher education, think that they are not prepared to exercise their profession, do you think this phenomenon is a real problem?
Totally. This is the main reason why they sign up for our Master’s. The training offers the possibility of practicing as a psychotherapist with real patients supervised and tutored at all times. The acquisition of skills resulting from the staging helps the student to overcome fears and overcome those obstacles that may arise in the practice of professional practice.
There are different orientations in psychotherapeutic practice, but what advantages does the integrative positioning characteristic of the Master’s in Integrative Psychotherapy at the Mensalus Institute offer?
Working under an integrative approach facilitates the use of all the necessary techniques according to the demand, the diagnostic hypothesis and the clinical hypothesis. It allows us to take advantage of the wide range of resources that we currently have given the scientific advance of all psychological theories.
From the integrative approach and using an evaluable methodology of the therapeutic process, the student will have the possibility to know how and when to apply the knowledge acquired in the approach that has been trained, as well as to extend his knowledge with tools from other approaches under the protection of the common principles. In short, the integrative approach in psychotherapy allows for better adaptation to the needs of the patient.
Do you think it is necessary for psychologists to experiment with their own psychotherapeutic style?
We consider that it is basic that the student knows and develops his own therapeutic style, this will facilitate him to be able to work with greater efficiency. At the same time, it will allow him/her to have more useful self-knowledge when interacting with patients and different problems.
We work on each student’s personal and professional style in depth. On the other hand, they also get used to seeing us work under different professional profiles in the training sessions, training that, we should remember, is always done with live patients.
In the Master in Integrative Psychotherapy students have the opportunity to learn from other psychotherapists by viewing cases live through a one-way glass. How does this help them?
As I said before, the fact of offering the knowledge from real live cases (through the one-way mirror, a screen and a camera circuit) makes it easier, from the first day, for the student to get used to witnessing the psychotherapy led by different professionals, as well as observing, commenting and directing the psychotherapeutic intervention as it happens with the difficulties and characteristics of the professional reality.
Do you think Psychology has all the recognition it should? What initiatives can be taken to change reality?
No, not at all. I would tell them to claim, through the collegiate body created to defend our profession (the college of psychologists), the rights that have been taken away from our profession, unlike other professions that have defended their rights and have not been taken away from them.
From your point of view, what would you say to those recent graduates in psychology who want to practice as psychotherapists but do not feel prepared to stand in front of a patient?
I would tell you that in our master’s degree you will have the possibility of training and improving your psychotherapeutic skills as well as overcoming the universal fears evidenced in the scientific literature: fears to which every psychologist is exposed and idiosyncratic fears of every student.
They will also have the possibility of expanding their knowledge and, of course, the key element: increasing the actual practice of psychotherapeutic intervention techniques that will help them expand their resources as psychotherapists.