Written by: Natalie Mizzi

5 Things I Learnt After my First Year of Being a Psychologist.

My knowledge is valuable and not common sense

Parents, carers and teachers want to learn from me. The theories, strategies and recommendations I speak about are evidence based and not common knowledge. Whilst the general idea may have been heard of with the growing awareness of child development and mental health, I am needed to assist with its implementation, monitoring and tweaking. It is okay if I repeat myself in sessions and if it takes time for change to take place. It took me seven years of studying and thousands of hours of hands-on experience to acquire my knowledge. Seeing the effects of its application is bound to take time and it is not a reflection of me or my competency but rather the complexity of needs that I work with.

The number of resources I own will not make me a better psychologist

If anything, it’ll confuse me and make planning sessions more stressful than they should be. I do not need to spend an excessive amount of time choosing the perfect emotions resource to use with my client. The foundations of all emotion resources are similar and it is the way that I apply it in sessions which will benefit my client. Resources are always helpful but what is more helpful is responding to your client, following their lead and going at their pace. They will have felt heard and validated and won’t care that we did not complete all sections of the worksheet. In some sessions, I will be the resource and this is okay. In other sessions I will just listen and this is okay.

It takes time

I no longer have a deadline to work to or a due date to submit an assignment by. I am not going to get everything immediately and this is okay. It’ll take months to settle and find my feet and this is okay. Even after a year I will still not know it all, and this is okay. The nature of being an evidence-based practitioner is that my learning will never stop. I must remind myself that this is one of the reasons I was drawn to the profession. I will need to ask for and accept help to be able to grow. Throughout this process, I must remember to be kind to myself.

The perfect psychologist does not exist

I will not be the right fit for everyone. I will not be every client’s cup of tea. I will not possess the skills or competency to see every presentation. This is not a reflection of me but of the nature of the work. I will learn so much from senior psychologists but I should not compare. I will also learn so much from other allied health professionals. Again, I should not compare. I am the practitioner I am and for some, I will be a great a fit.

This is challenging

This is challenging, but I knew it would be. The nature of the challenges I am faced with will change but it will continue to be a challenging career. I must remind myself that this is another reason I was drawn to the profession. When I feel challenged, I can take this as a sign that I am growing as a practitioner. I will learn how to take care of myself and I will have to make this a priority if I want to be of value to my clients.

About the author
Natalie Mizzi
Natalie is a registered psychologist who works with children, adolescents, young adults, and families in a range of contexts including schools, early intervention, and research.
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