There is no doubt that psychology is one of the most complex sciences and anyone who is professionally dedicated to it has never read enough to know everything about the human mind and behavior.
However, the emphasis on theoretical knowledge often obscures the fact that, at least in the case of psychotherapy, much of the professional’s skills and abilities have little to do with memorizing data and information. textual, but with the mastery of certain practical skills, linked to real-time interaction with patients.
And there is no clinical manual (or instruction manual) that allows you to offer a quality service to those who need it: you need to have several skills to adapt to what happens during the session. .
Therefore, in this article we will talk about the most important skills a therapist can have to develop well in their work and be able to give the best of themselves to patientsespecially in the world of psychological therapy.
The Therapist’s Most Important Skills in Patient Care
When it comes to providing the right psychotherapeutic care, the most important skills that professionals must apply are as follows.
1. Understanding the context
Yes in any communication situation the context is always able to give one meaning or another to the words, this happens even more in the field of psychological therapy, which touches on very personal issues that the patient may be reluctant to talk about directly. This is why it is very important for therapists to develop their ability to read between the lines and to understand what lies beyond the literal, in order to detect feelings and concepts related to what worries patients or what hurts them emotionally.
Assertiveness, understood as the ability to communicate important ideas without giving in to fear of discomfort (while always taking into account the feelings and interests of the interlocutor) is essential in therapy. Therapists must be able to guide the conversation to topics that are relevant at all timesand that means not running away from certain key conversations or questions that need to be asked when the time comes.
3. Organization of time
Knowing how to control time is crucial not only during a therapy session (during which you need to know when and how to address certain issues), but also when planning days and weeks in general. It should not be forgotten that the work of the psychotherapist psychologist does not stop when he does not deal directly with the patients; it is necessary to maintain good housekeeping and order in the work area (essential, among other things, to work smoothly and without interruptions when working with people who need help) and it is also necessary to carry out tasks related to communication and marketing, dealing with collaborators, making collections and payments, controlling finances, etc. As vocational as this work is, it remains precisely that, a work carried out with material means and in association with other professionals. He is These are seemingly trivial but essential tasks to stay afloat in the job market.
4. Tolerance of uncertainty
In therapy, there will always be room for uncertainty. We are dealing with people with all that entails: they are not puzzles to be solved, but very complex and constantly evolving human beings, so it would be totally counterproductive to try to know exactly everything they live, how they think every moment, etc. Falling into these pretensions only leads to frustration and wear and tear on the job.
Therefore, another key skill of the therapist is, while providing psychological assistance, assuming that one cannot and should not attempt to fully grasp the essence of the person with whom one is dealing, nor do they offer absolute explanations of their behavior patterns. The focus should always be on your problem or should be covered from there to detect relevant information.
5. Empathetic Sensitivity
Beyond information that can be expressed in words, it is important to connect emotionally with the patient. Of course, you have to keep a balance between close treatment and even personal appreciation (if one arises) and professionalism. that’s why the way of approaching the problems for which the patient came in consultation should not be purely intellectual or motivated by curiosity: you have to know how to respect certain limits and do everything possible to make the process comfortable (without giving up therapeutic objectives that can go beyond facing fears and getting out of the comfort zone).
6. Ability to learn to learn
Learning to learn means, among other things, adopting routines for consulting reliable sources of information, but not only that. It also consists of Test yourselfget used to reviewing information, practicing collaboratively, and combining it with individual study and practice, and more.
7. Synthesis Ability
The ability to synthesize allows therapists not to end up with a simple collection of data given by the patient: you have to know how to select the important and create, with it, a map of the problem to be treated and possible solutions. That is, knowing how to create new information with the information already given, which also provides a reference for, as the therapeutic process progresses, to know if you have worked with the right hypothesis or no.
8. Capacity for self-criticism
Finally, we must not forget that the work of psychotherapists involves a constant routine of learning from mistakes. There are too many variables at play not to get it wrong with any regularity, even in the smallest details. But if we take it for granted that as professionals we always have the most objective and informed view of what is happening to the patient, that ability is lost.
Do you want to specialize in the world of psychotherapy?
If you want to become a professional in the field of psychological therapy, the Master in Integrative Psychotherapy from the Mensalus Institute it’s for you. This one-year training program is designed for graduates or graduates in psychology who wish to develop as psychotherapists from an integrative theoretical positioning, and in addition, its completion allows to obtain a university degree in l Nebrija University of Madrid.
It is a very good option to learn the theoretical and practical aspects of therapy from the hands of psychologists who devote most of their professional activity to the care of patients at the Mensalus center itself; thus, the Master allows to see real therapy sessions and to participate in practices with real patients under the supervision of therapist-tutors. In addition, it offers the possibility of taking courses in person or remotely online live.