Personality traits of psychologists

The Top Eight Characteristics a Psychologist Should Have | Work

By Mary Dowd Updated June 29, 2018

Knowing what characteristics matter most in a psychologist can be invaluable - whether you are seeking therapy, exploring a career in psychology, or both. Personal characteristics may be innate or acquired. Successful psychologists possess many of the interpersonal qualities you look for in a friend, coach or mentor. They are warm, approachable, encouraging and invested in your success. Additionally, psychologists need proper training and credentials to counsel clients.

Passion for Learning

Commitment to lifelong learning characterizes a competent psychologist. Because new ideas and therapeutic approaches continually emerge, psychologists must stay abreast of their profession by attending seminars, reviewing evidenced-based research findings and consulting with colleagues. A desire to help people can backfire if the psychologist is not adequately prepared to work with a certain type of client or situation. Inappropriate advice or an inaccurate diagnosis can profoundly harm a client. Psychologists must have the self-awareness to recognize areas where they need more training.


Psychologists exude empathy and genuine concern. They notice nuances in voice tone and body language. Skills such as active listening and reflection encourage clients to share repressed thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Psychologists communicate understanding and acceptance of powerful emotions being discharged. They manage their own reactions and feelings when working with incarcerated clients, such as sex offenders, in an attempt to understand them and bring about change.

Problem-Solving Ability

Although tempting, psychologists resist the urge to give advice. Instead, they patiently wait for the client to open up, identify problems and express reasons for dissatisfaction with life’s circumstances. Motivation is evoked by pointing out discrepancies between the client’s goals and misaligned behavior. Goals are discussed and a treatment plan developed outlining next steps in therapy.

Appropriate Boundaries

Psychologists adhere to boundaries and never cross the line of the professional, therapeutic relationship. They maintain appropriate personal distance. Clients are given instructions for seeking help after hours when the psychologist is not available. Romantic relationships with clients are never considered due to the power differential, ethical codes and sexual exploitation laws prohibiting such actions.


Clients intuit whether a psychologist is trustworthy. Psychologists show they can be trusted by emphasizing confidentiality. As part of the initial intake, clients are informed of their privacy rights and notified of any possible exceptions to confidentiality, such as threats of imminent harm to self or others. Psychologists reassure clients that are free to share thoughts and feelings without judgement. Feedback to clients is constructive and supportive.


Psychologists are realists who recognize that long standing, maladaptive behaviors cannot be unlearned quickly. Instead of telling the client what to change and how to change it, they patiently guide the client in the process of self-discovery. They accept that progress is nonlinear and setbacks are common. Angry or resistant clients are not forced or manipulated into changing before they are ready to do so.

Solid Ethical Core

Ethical psychologists internalize the standards set by their state licensing board of psychology and the ethical code of the American Psychological Association. They demonstrate openness, honesty and transparency. Everything from counseling clients to writing case notes to insurance billing is above reproach. Behaviors of ethical psychologists are congruent with their professed attitudes and values.

Cross-Cultural Sensitivity

Self-awareness and commitment to diversity exemplify an effective psychologist. A cookie cutter approach to diagnosing and treating clients does not work in a pluralistic society. Socially conscious psychologists understand social constructs, such as race, power, privilege and systemic oppression. They recognize and confront their own personal biases while striving to be fair, just, equitable and inclusive in their practice.


  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Psychologist
  • American Psychological Association: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Ethics
  • California Board of Psychology Rules and Regulations
  • Auburn University: Clinical Psychology Program
  • Case Western Reserve University: Center for Evidenced-Based Practice


  • American Psychological Association: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct

Writer Bio

Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in counseling and student affairs from Minnesota State Mankato. Helping students succeed has been her passion while serving in many areas of student affairs and adjunct teaching. Currently she is a dean of students at a large, public university. Dr. Dpwd’s writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles.

10 Personality Traits in a Great Therapist

Home » Blog » 10 Therapist Personality Traits

Few professions are as far-ranging and as widely applicable as psychology.

The discipline requires expertise in such varied topics as behavioral research, medical science, clinical analysis, legal issues and sociology. Jobs in this field include school counselor, marriage and family therapist, child psychologist, and industrial-organizational psychologist.

The most talented and in-demand therapists tend to have a set of personality traits in common that enable them to work most effectively with patients and help them solve their emotional or mental problems. Anyone considering a career as a therapist or other type of psychology professional should consider these 10 basic questions before taking the plunge.

1. Are you a good listener?

Above all other traits, a psychologist must be able to pay attention not only to what the patient says, but also the patient’s subtle body language. Personal information revealed through therapy often comes slowly and with effort, so great care must be taken to understand all forms of communication to help determine a proper course of treatment.

2. Can you keep a secret?

Another cardinal rule of therapy is that nothing said between psychologist and patient is ever divulged, unless mandated by law, as stated in the American Psychological Association’s Code of Ethics. Therapists should never share gossip learned during a session or bring their work home with them.

3. Do you genuinely care about others?

This may seem like a silly question, but it’s important to ask. Empathy is the backbone of the psychology industry and cannot be faked. It’s important that psychologists understand a patient’s emotional pain and to show compassion. Those who get easily frustrated with the problems of others and want them to “just get over it” will not last long.

4. Are you naturally inquisitive?

While listening to patients, psychologists must also guide the therapy process with their own questions. This is a good profession for those who are astute observers, like to ask follow-up questions, and are able to analyze vague statements by patients to hunt for hidden meanings.

5. Do you know yourself well?

No analysis is conducted in a vacuum, so psychologists must take into account their own natural biases, based on their education, background, social status and religious beliefs. They must know how to step back from their own lives to ensure that they can make objective observations.

6. Are you comfortable with talking to all types of people?

Therapy patients will come from diverse racial, political, socioeconomic, moral and cultural backgrounds. A good psychologist will have the interpersonal skills to hold conversations with every personality type and inspire trust in patients.

7. Are you a generally stable individual?

No one expects psychologists to be perfect; after all, they’re only human. But before they can sit patients down on the couch, psychologists must make sure that their own “mental baggage” has been addressed first. Hotheads need not apply.

8. Are you a tolerant person?

During therapy, psychologists must uncover the deepest, darkest thoughts and fears of clients to help them deal with their problems. By doing so, psychologists must refrain from passing judgment on anything being said, even if it runs counter to his or her personal and moral beliefs. In addition, therapists must be patient with incremental progress and with occasional push-back and periods of regression from clients.

9. Are you good at solving puzzles and riddles?

Good therapists are often those who can use logic to piece together solutions, often from limited information. Psychologists must be able to drill down through extraneous data to determine the root causes of patients’ distress and provide an accurate diagnosis.

10. Are you creative and flexible?

Psychology requires analytical skills, but it’s also an evolving art and science. The most effective therapists must be open-minded enough to challenge previously held assumptions about human behavior and consider new theories as society changes. The human mind is highly complex and ever-changing, and psychologists must be equally adaptable to new findings in the field.

Personal qualities of a consultant psychologist

First of all, the work of a psychologist requires not only professional knowledge and mastery of methods, but also special personal qualities, an invaluable attitude towards the client, the ability to show a person his capabilities and help unlock his potential. Without this, it is difficult to imagine a successful specialist who advises and helps to navigate in a difficult life situation. In general, personal characteristics are the basis for the development of the professionalism of a counseling psychologist.

The presence of certain qualities is one of the main indicators of competence. Therefore, to begin with, I want to focus on this factor. So, let's take a closer look at what personal qualities a practicing psychologist should have.

According to most professionals, and I fully agree with them, the following personal characteristics are important for the work of a practicing psychologist:

  • - Empathy and reflection;
  • - benevolence and altruism - the desire to help;
  • - respect and tact;
  • - the desire for development and self-knowledge;
  • - self-confidence, purposefulness, adequate self-esteem;
  • - tolerance and patience;
  • - erudition, diversified development;
  • - a penchant for analysis - an analytical mindset;
  • - intuition, insight;
  • - emotional stability, self-control, stress resistance;
  • - fast adaptation to various conditions;
  • - observation and openness;
  • - positive thinking, creativity;

Now let's take a closer look at all the listed qualities in order to understand why a psychologist needs them and how they affect his professional activities.

One of the most important abilities is empathy; deep understanding of a person, his real problems and awareness of his state of mind. Empathy is an emotional response, empathy and the ability to immerse yourself in the inner world of the client, and communicate at this level throughout the consultation, if the situation requires it. However, this feature of the perception of the interlocutor has nothing to do with compassion and pity. A professional psychologist must put himself in the place of another, feel his emotions, feelings, and at the same time be able to look at the situation from the outside.

Professionalism is also defined by such a quality as reflection is not only the ability to see oneself through the eyes of people, but also a mirror mutual reflection of communicating subjects, reproduction and recreation of each other. Of course, at the first stage of communication, the client needs understanding and support. He needs to share his problems in order to express emotions, be understood and receive approval. But at the same time, individual consultations of a psychologist should contribute to the development of personality. A specialist teaches a person to accept himself, communicate with other people, helps to reveal his potential, to see possible life scenarios when choosing one or another position.

So, for example, if a client comes up with a problem related to a conflict situation, the specialist must first listen and feel his emotions. Only under this condition will a person receive moral satisfaction and prepare for further work. The task of the psychologist is to look at the situation through the eyes of the client, make it clear that he is on his side, and then offer to consider the conflict from different points of view.

If the practitioner is abstracted from the problems of the person and his personality, the work will not be effective and useful. Firstly, the client will feel that he is not interested in the specialist he has contacted. Secondly, such an approach is incompetent, because a person will not receive even elementary emotional support. In general, I believe that a consultant who does not have such qualities and does not develop them will not be able to help solve psychological problems.

As for benevolence, altruism, tact, respect for people in general, it is difficult to imagine a psychologist who does not want to help, shows disrespect and aggression towards the client. Without an elementary respectful attitude, dialogue is generally impossible, and even more so the communication of a consultant who is called upon to provide psychological assistance. Naturally, these or those qualities relate to the characteristics of the individual and were originally laid down. The desire and ability to help people develop, find solutions, realize their potential, teach them constructive and effective communication, etc. is the first step from which the path of a real psychologist begins.

Another personal quality of a psychotherapist associated with professional activity is positive thinking, which consists in perceiving failure as a stepping stone for new achievements, not regretting what cannot be returned, looking to the future, and not looking back. In a word, this is the ability to draw positive moments from the most unpleasant situations, and perceive the presence of problems as a driving force for personal growth and progress. This is what an experienced specialist should teach his clients who want to develop, to solve the difficulties that have arisen as effectively as possible. Reasonable optimism, positive and creative approach allow us to see events in the best possible way, and create the appropriate conditions for their development in the right direction.

Striving for self-knowledge and development, interest in people - the same conditions for professional growth as the previous qualities. Before starting to help others, an experienced psychologist must understand his own problems, understand which abilities he has more developed, which are less, what are his strengths and weaknesses. After such introspection, the specialist will be able to use his advantages more effectively, and work on those qualities that are less developed. Only constant development, self-knowledge and introspection will allow the psychotherapist to improve and grow personally and professionally. After all, work on oneself is the same indicator of competence as, for example, theoretical knowledge or possession of methods, and perhaps even more important.

The profession of psychologist requires determination and self-confidence . Such qualities are necessary to achieve results in any business. However, for a practicing psychologist, they are of particular importance, this is the inner core and strength that will allow the client to trust the specialist and feel that their joint work will give the desired results and fruits. But do not confuse confidence with excessive self-confidence, using your authority to influence a person's choice. Sometimes the situation develops in such a way that the line becomes very thin, and sometimes it is quite difficult to feel it even for a professional. The goals and objectives of the psychologist is to act in the interests of the client, not to put pressure on him, to show all kinds of options, but this will be discussed a little later. At the same time, self-assessment of the consultant is also important. It must be adequate. Inflated self-esteem will lead to the fact that the specialist will look at the client as if from above. Low self-esteem and insecurity are destructive for the personality of a professional and are not acceptable.

Tolerance and patience are essential qualities of a psychologist. The term tolerance itself means tolerance, acceptance, which may relate to the traditions and customs of other peoples, human behavior, his way of life or worldview. To be honest, I somehow don’t like this definition, because tolerance sounds like a person is forced to take one or another position, view, etc. Although the concept of tolerance is much broader and more diverse. This is not just tolerance and acceptance, but rather even a desire to learn something different from what we are used to, the ability to leave the comfort zone and expand our horizons. At the same time, we are in no way talking about giving up one's point of view, opinions, habits, on the contrary, tolerance makes it possible to see more, analyze, compare, share one's experience, knowledge, and obtain new information.

Thus, tolerance is important for an adequate perception of other people's views and worldviews. This is the basis of respect, understanding, openness, development and empowerment. That is why this quality is of such high importance in the work of a psychotherapist. In addition, I would call tolerance one of the ways of cognition that makes a person multifaceted, versatile and more erudite. And these features, in turn, are also necessary conditions for the professional development and work of a psychologist.

Analytical mindset is another personality trait associated with the success and competence of a counseling psychologist. The ability to analyze the situation, prioritize, think broadly and positively are fundamental skills that make work effective. The tendency to analyze is manifested in the fact that a specialist can put the situation on the shelves, and then, like a puzzle, put it back together, consider it from different points of view, without connecting emotions.

Of course, the work of a psychologist does not imply a complete shutdown of emotional perception, but conclusions and reasoning must be based on objective facts. At the same time, psychological intuition or, in other words, insight, is also important. This ability should rather be called a kind of talent, a gift, but it can and should also be developed. Being insightful means understanding more than the client says, seeing the hidden causes of their problems, summarizing all available information about the person and reading it. This is a rather difficult task that requires experience and work on oneself. It must be said that insight is a rare talent, and not all psychologists manage to develop it to the fullest. In my view, this ability is not just an indicator of competence and experience, but the highest achievement in professional development.

With all these features and qualities, communication skills, empathy and involvement during communication with a client, a psychologist must have emotional stability and stress resistance . Emotional overload often leads to burnout, stress, depression. For a professional, this is not excluded, but it is better if the professional's self-control is at a high level, and he calculates his strengths and capabilities. Emotional stability is manifested in calmness, in the ability to overcome strong feelings, and this, in a way, is a warning of nervous breakdowns and psychological burnout. Also, such qualities contribute to rapid adaptation to changing working conditions and rapid switching from one person to another.

Observation and openness are qualities without which the work of a psychologist is simply impossible. Interest in people, the ability to notice seemingly insignificant details, attentiveness, ease, naturalness in communication and a willingness to learn, to learn, the desire to see what others do not see. Without this, it is difficult to imagine a successful specialist who helps people find solutions in difficult situations. The psychologist's answers to the questions are indicated in another section.

In general, personality traits very clearly intersect with the professional activities of an experienced psychologist. Only under the condition of spiritual search, the desire for self-improvement, goodwill, a specialist is able to maximize his potential and help others in this.

Personal qualities of a psychologist

Professional and personal qualities of a psychologist are often interrelated. This specialty leaves its mark on both the lifestyle and the personal qualities of the psychologist, and his personal characteristics are displayed in the field and types of psychological activity he chooses. Some psychologists choose scientific research, another part - teaching the subject of psychology, the rest - practical psychological activity. Someone in the soul feels like a psychoanalyst, someone, in turn, a 100% Gestalt therapist. But the main thing that turns an individual into a psychologist is the ability to see the world around him psychologically, as well as the clear psychological orientation of the mind. To have a psychological view of the world around us means to be able to subject to psychological analysis all kinds of life situations, the actions of people, the peculiarities of their relationships.

Note 1

In the field of practical psychology, the very personality of the psychologist is considered an instrument of his work, and often plays a very serious role, no less important than psychotherapeutic techniques.

It is difficult to be one person in personal terms, but completely different in the professional sphere. The personal qualities of a psychologist form a significant foundation for the professional success of a specialist. According to some opinion, those individuals who can be called truly professional psychologists always have an extraordinary fusion of life and profession, the absolute inclusion of inner experiences and intense spiritual search in the context of professional activity and, at the same time, the inclusion of professional activity in the general context of their whole life. The ideal situation is for everything that an individual does as a professional to become an integral part of the spiritual search.

What can be called characteristic of the psychological perception of the surrounding world? The world of other individuals for the psychologist is a mystery. He is not inclined to attribute his own inner world to other people, he does not rely on the usual everyday experience, but each time he treats the psyche of another person as a riddle that needs to be solved. The psychic orientation of the mind is the result of its own life, which is generated by the unusualness of the inner world, insufficient adaptation to the outside world, excessive sensitivity to the state and behavior of people, the desire to overcome this lack of adaptation with the help of rational methods, with the help of studying the characteristics of the psyche of other individuals. In view of this, tolerance is inherent in psychologists, as well as condescension towards others, since initially they allow the possibility of various and not always standard forms of behavior, experiences and thoughts.

Note 2

If an individual has realized that his own subjective world, as well as the world of objective reality are different, if he has realized that there are no people who are completely similar to each other, if in his own consciousness or subconsciousness there is a feeling of lack of his own knowledge regarding subjective world of other individuals, as well as the reasons for their behavior, then he has an obvious chance to become a psychologist.

According to V.N. Druzhinina is a practicing psychologist, unlike a research psychologist, is a person who is able to perfectly adapt to the social environment. He effectively interacts with other individuals and believes that it is possible to change them for an even better side. Aware of their problems, he, at the same time, does not in every case pay attention to the differences between himself and other individuals.

La Rochefoucauld said that the more intelligent an individual is, the more he notices the differences between people, but for an ordinary individual, all people seem to have the same face. Because of this, it becomes clear that a psychologist cannot be successful without considerable intelligence.

There are studies that have helped to identify the features of personality characteristics that are characteristic of good psychologists.

Differences between psychologists-practitioners and psychologists-researchers

Thus, R. Cattell and his colleagues studied the psychological qualities that distinguish psychologists-practitioners and psychologists-researchers. With the help of a sixteen-factor personality questionnaire, which made it possible to build "professional portraits", a study was made of the dependence of the effectiveness of professional activity on specific personality traits. This dependence is expressed in the following formulas:

  • For a practicing psychologist, efficiency = 0.72A + 0.29B + 0.29H + 0.29N.
  • For a research psychologist, efficiency = 0.31A + 0.78B + 0.47N.

In these formulas, A is readiness for human contact; N is the ability to maintain contact with people; B is the general intelligence of a specialist; H is the insaturation with human contact.

  • A practical psychologist needs human communication, he does not get bored with people, and contacts with them are not able to quench his constant thirst for communication. These are the most important factors for the success of his professional activity.
  • A research psychologist does not need intensive communication, and such factors do not greatly affect the success of his professional activity. At the same time, “general intelligence becomes the most important factor for them.

It turns out that there is reason to say that there are both similarities and differences in personal qualities that are important for such activities of a specialist psychologist as scientific research and practical work of a psychologist. Each of them imposes certain specific requirements on the personality of a specialist psychologist.

Literature analysis by T.A. Vernyaeva, as well as her empirical research, have shown that a research psychologist needs the same general personality traits that are needed for scientists of any other fundamental science. The specificity lies only in how pronounced his communicative qualities are, and this is due to the general attitude of psychologists to the study of a person.

Remark 3

Due to the fact that in the overwhelming majority of research situations in psychology, the interaction of the psychologist-researcher and the subject is necessary, they become necessary.

Practical psychology requires much more professionally specific qualities from a psychologist. According to N.A. Aminova and M.V. Molokanova, for a psychologist with a focus on practical activities, the following qualities are characteristic:

  • Obvious readiness for contacts.
  • General intelligence.
  • The ability to maintain contacts, that is, resistance to stress in the process of communication.
  • The ability to control one's own behavior, that is, to maintain emotional composure during communication.
  • Attraction (i.e. attraction).
  • Emotional contagion.
  • Empathy.
  • Self-reliance when making decisions.

List of professionally significant personal qualities of a practicing psychologist, according to T.A. Vernyaeva, consists of: benevolence, optimism, responsibility, organization, observation, curiosity, attractiveness, perseverance, patience, attentiveness, sociability, self-control, tact, altruism, sensitivity, politeness, responsiveness, humanity, objectivity, dynamism, intelligence, flexibility of behavior, a significant level of general and social intelligence, sensitivity, reflexivity, the ability to listen to a person, creativity, openness, skillful use of non-verbal means of communication, ease, stress resistance, sincerity and naturalness in the manifestations of emotions, emotional stability, as well as a number of other characteristics.

According to I.V. Syromyatnikov, successful psychologists are also characterized by significant indicators on the scales of sociability, intelligence, emotional-volitional stability, insight, diplomacy, courage, goodwill, self-control, empathy, correctness, tolerance, decency.

Of great importance for a practicing psychologist are the communicative characteristics of his personality, such as the ability to understand other individuals, as well as to influence them psychologically correctly. A psychologist must be able to work with people, understand their characters, have not only psychological knowledge, but also psychological intuition. The communicative qualities of a psychologist, which are significant for his professional activities, include the following: sociability, attractiveness, tact, politeness, the ability to listen and understand other people.

Remark 4

This complex of qualities is often called the talent of communication.

The structure of such a talent consists of the following blocks of personal qualities:

  • The ability to correctly and completely perceive the object, as well as observation and rapid orientation in the situation.
  • The ability to realize the internal properties and characteristics of a given object, the ability to penetrate its spiritual world, psychological intuition, which are based on considerable general erudition, as well as a purely humanistic orientation.
  • Ability to empathize, empathy, sympathy, respect for people, kindness, willingness to help.
  • Ability to conduct introspection, interest in one's own personality and in the personality of other individuals.
  • The ability to manage oneself, as well as the process of communication, the ability to be attentive, listen, the presence of tact, the ability to establish contact, inspire confidence, a great sense of humor.

The significance of the presence of these qualities indicates that the professional activity of a practicing psychologist can be classified as interaction.

The general attitude to work and life can be manifested in such personality traits that are important for a psychologist, such as organization, responsibility, optimism, openness, curiosity, independence of judgment, observation, flexibility of behavior, creativity, the ability to reflect on one’s own experiences, as well as professional activity . The ability to be empathic (that is, to empathize with other people), the ability to understand the state of those who applied for help are considered important personal manifestations of a practicing psychologist. But it is also important to be able to maintain a certain distance from the client.

Persistence, self-control, patience, self-confidence are among the important volitional qualities that are necessary for successful professional activity of a counseling psychologist. Otherwise, he will not be able to earn the trust of the client. At the same time, it is important that the psychologist is not characterized by excessive self-confidence and confidence in the ideality of his psychological conclusions.

Note 5

The psychologist's lack of tact is manifested in his tendency to ascribe to his profession great importance and exclusivity. Demonstrative behavior, as well as narcissism of a psychologist, can repel any client.

A psychologist must have adequate self-esteem, be aware of the individual characteristics of his own personality, his own abilities, weaknesses and strengths of character. Any psychologist should be aware of the extent of his incompetence. All this spurs him to self-development. It is worth knowing about possible ways and means of compensating for your personal shortcomings.

Table 1 summarizes the results of various authors and associations regarding the personality traits of counseling psychologists that contribute to or hinder their professional success.

Table 1 . The results of research on the properties of the personality of a psychologist-consultant.

Author, association

Psychologist-consultant personality traits

Leading to success

Interfering with successful activity

National Association for Career Guidance (USA)

Open interest in other people, as well as patience in dealing with them; emotional stability, as well as objectivity; the ability to inspire confidence in people

Not specified

Committee for the Oversight and Training of Counseling Psychologists (USA)

Trust in people; respect for the value of another person; insight; no existing prejudice; self-understanding; awareness of professional duty

Not specified

L. R. Walbirg

Objectivity, sensitivity, flexibility, empathy, absence of serious problems of their own

Passivity, authoritarianism, isolation, dependence, tendency to use people who asked for help to satisfy their own needs, inability to be tolerant of different motives of clients, the presence of a neurotic attitude towards financial resources

A. Combis

Perception of clients as capable of solving their own problems, as well as taking responsibility, identifying with other individuals

Not specified


Attentiveness, ability to listen to a person, cordiality, warmth, wisdom in friendly advice

Not specified

A. Storr

Sympathy, frankness and openness to the feelings of other individuals, the ability to identify with various people, warmth, but without sentimentality, lack of propensity for self-assertion with the desire and ability to protect it, the ability to serve customers

Not specified

R. Kociunas

Openness to experience, authenticity, developed self-awareness, strength of personality and identity, tolerance for uncertainty, acceptance of one's own responsibility, depth of relationships with other individuals, setting realistic goals, empathy

Not specified

C. Schneider

Maturity, personal and social maturity

Not specified

N.A. Aminov, M.V. Molokanov

Sufficient level of development of social intelligence, social weakness

Not specified

It has been found that the differences between "bad" and "good" psychotherapists (or counseling psychologists) can be explained by the specific organization of their personal sphere. If the personal profile of a specialist is dominated by such factors as courage and sociability, prudence and general intellectual endowment, one should expect great success in psychotherapy.

At the same time, it was found that the individual psychological characteristics of psychologists also determine the style of psychotherapy they choose. It turned out that with high rates of communicative competence (that is, the ability of a counseling psychologist to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships), he chooses to use client-centered therapy techniques.

Note 6

High levels of Machiavellianism (that is, the counselor's ability to exercise control over the content and atmosphere of social interaction) tend to use behavioral therapy techniques (that is, methods of controlling as well as limiting the client's behavior).

This information is in full agreement with the results of other researchers. In a California (USA) study of psychological counseling for underage offenders, it was found that the psychotherapy of anxious young people who feel guilt and inadequacy is better with more sociable counseling psychologists who are able to show interest in the feelings of adolescents.

But in working with taciturn criminals, conforming to the norms of their subculture, or with underage criminals who exhibit manipulative behavior, a significant effect is achieved by counseling psychologists focused on external control of behavior, as well as restrictions, but not on internal ones. customer experiences.

Peculiarities of the professional activity of a military psychologist

Social intelligence is of great importance in the professional activity of a practicing psychologist. This is confirmed by relevant studies, especially in the case of military psychologists. It is believed that this also manifests itself in other areas of practical psychology. The structure of the social intelligence of a specialist psychologist has a three-component composition, it consists of cognitive, emotional and communicative-organizational components. A more visual representation of the structure of the social intelligence of a specialist psychologist can be obtained from Table 2.

Table 2 . The structure of the social intelligence of a military psychologist


Composition of component


Cognitive component

Social knowledge

Knowledge of special rules of conduct

Social memory

Good memory for faces and names

Social thinking

Determination of actual feelings

Determining the current mood

Reflection of actions of other individuals

Social forecasting

Formulate plans of action

Reflection of one's development

Social perception

Ability to listen to an interlocutor

Ability to understand sign language

Emotional component

Social sensitivity

Emotional expression


Ability to self-regulate


Emotional stability

Communication and organizational component

Social adaptability

Ability to explain and persuade others

Openness in relations with surrounding individuals

Social interaction

Ability and willingness to work with others

Ability to interact collectively

It was found that the communicative-organizational component plays a decisive role in the structure of social intelligence inherent in a military psychologist. Other components - such as emotional and cognitive - in various combinations and manifestations complement the first.

Note 7

It has been demonstrated that not very successful psychologists have underdeveloped components of social intelligence.

Such data make it possible to assert that the styles of professional activity depend on the content, as well as the degree of development of certain components in the structure of the social intelligence of a military psychologist. It was found that the predominant development of the cognitive component of social intelligence leads to the successful implementation of psychodiagnostics. It turns out that this stylistic feature is rightly called cognitive style. If the emotional component of social intelligence prevails, we can talk about success in providing psychological assistance to military personnel, as well as their relatives. This style feature is called emotional style. The predominant development of the communicative-organizational component, with a clear deficit of other elements of social intelligence, helps to achieve success in providing psychological support. The name of this style feature is the communicative style. A harmonious combination of all the listed components with a fairly high level of their development helps success in each of the types of professional activities of a military psychologist. This style feature is called harmonious style.

Note 8

This study has demonstrated that the professional activity of a military psychologist can be more successful with the acquisition of practical experience. The degree of development of social intelligence is also increasing. In this case, the special psychological education of a psychologist, as well as professionally oriented training sessions, help to a higher degree of development of social intelligence.

Are women and men equally successful in their professional activities as a psychologist? The study conducted by Malebasheva made it possible to detect gender differences in the style of professional psychological activity of military psychologists. The gender division manifested itself in the hierarchy of psychological factors, when choosing a model of interaction and the prevailing effectiveness of professional activity in some professional field.

The following basic factors that determine the effectiveness of the work of a practicing psychologist were also identified: ways of communication, the ability to listen to a person, emotional contagiousness, empathy, well-developed reflection.

  • Attractiveness, which consists of the following personal qualities: altruism, attentiveness, politeness, goodwill, humanity, naturalness of emotional manifestations, sincerity, intelligence, correctness, charm, ease, optimism, responsibility, openness, responsiveness, attractiveness, tact, sensitivity, decency, patience, sense of humour.
  • Adaptability, which integrates the following personal qualities: behavioral flexibility, dynamism, discipline, perseverance, initiative, creativity, insatiability with contacts with people, self-reliance in the decision-making process, psycho-physiological activity, organization, performance, self-control, self-control, resistance to stress situations, the ability to maintain contacts, purposefulness, tolerance, emotional stability.
  • Intellectuality, which includes the analytical mind, social as well as general intelligence, broad outlook, competence, curiosity, as well as objectivity.
  • Based on the results of this study, it became known that the hierarchy of factors for the effectiveness of professional activity differs for men and women involved in military psychology. The successful activity of a female military psychologist is largely determined by a complex of the following psychological factors: communication, adaptability, attractiveness, and, to a lesser extent, intellectuality. For male military psychologists, the effectiveness of professional activity is largely ensured by the following factors: intelligence, communication, adaptability and, to a lesser extent, attractiveness.

    In the same study, it was found that male military psychologists, in terms of the structure and hierarchy of psychological factors in the effectiveness of their professional activities, are more often classified as “psychologists-researchers”, while women are in the group of “psychologists-practitioners”.

    This forms the prerequisites for a more successful solution by women psychologists of professional tasks that make up the field of providing psychological assistance to military personnel, as well as their relatives, diverse types of counseling work, psychological rehabilitation, psychological education and psychodiagnostics.

    At the same time, the factor "profile" of a female military psychologist suggests her lower predisposition to solving those tasks that relate to the field of psychological support for combat readiness, combat missions, combat duty, and guard duty.

    Female military psychologists choose a consulting model of professional interaction, which consists in facilitating self-knowledge, as well as self-development of the patient, accompanying him in achieving the goals of his own development, helping him to productive existence in certain life circumstances, increasing the number of degrees of freedom in the patient's choice of behavior , assessments, judgments, relationships.

    The study states that the condition that enhances the natural advantages of a female military psychologist in solving professional problems in the field of psychological assistance and compensates for shortcomings in the field of psychological support for military activity is the organization of full-fledged professional military training for this group of specialists. It was demonstrated that it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the professional training of a female military psychologist by developing in her such personal qualities that make up the factors of adaptability and intelligence, mastering the pedagogical model of professional interaction, as well as changing her perception of herself and self-presentation in the role of a military psychologist.

    Remark 9

    According to the joking statements of psychologists, in the near future science will reach such heights that each individual will have a personal psychologist, and each of the psychologists will have a personal psychiatrist.

    A psychologist himself is practically the same as a dentist himself: painful, very uncomfortable, and also threatens with complications.

    Experience in the professional field forms certain personality traits, habits and skills in a specialist psychologist. Because of this, he feels much more confident than a psychologist who is just starting his path. At the same time, a significant experience of selfless and responsible work can bring certain psychological problems to the specialist himself. We can talk about the so-called burnout syndrome and communicative overload in the professional activity of a specialist psychologist.

    Burnout syndrome

    Definition 1

    Burnout syndrome is a disadaptation to the workplace due to a huge workload, as well as inadequate interpersonal relationships.

    "Burnout" is directly related to long-term hard work, which is not properly evaluated, which has a difficult to measure content, which requires great productivity or appropriate training. "Burnout" appears much more often in the field of so-called helping specialties, which include the work of a counseling psychologist and psychotherapist. Having helped other individuals for a long time, they begin to feel disappointed, as they cannot achieve the expected effect. This work is accompanied by a strong loss of mental energy, leads to psychosomatic fatigue, emotional exhaustion. As a result, anxiety, anger, irritation, decreased self-esteem, sleep disturbances and headaches appear. Such individuals begin to excessively consume coffee, tobacco, alcohol, their appetite decreases or overeating begins. Burnout is also reflected in the decrease in the efficiency of professional activity. A negative attitude towards patients and work in general appears, the repertoire of work actions becomes scarce, and a negative “I-concept” is formed. Often there are such aggressive feelings as tension, anxiety, irritability, anxiety, agitation, anger, overexcitation. A person becomes cynical, pessimistic, he has a feeling of hopelessness, depression, apathy, a sense of meaninglessness.

    Does everyone get burnout syndrome? What factors influence its occurrence? Studies have shown the following:

    • Women are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion than men.
    • No obvious dependence of "burnout" on wages has been established.
    • If the activity in one's own eyes receives the status of insignificant, then the syndrome appears faster.
    • Those who lack autonomy (or overcontrol) are more prone to "burnout",
    • More vulnerable are those who react to stressful situations according to type L: with aggression, in competition, unrestrainedly, going to their goal at any cost.
    • Even workaholics can be considered burnouts.

    Burnouts are characterized by specific personality traits. These are sympathetic, soft, humane, enthusiastic idealists who are human-oriented, and at the same time unstable, introverted, obsessed with the humane orientation of their activities.


    It must be said that a psychologist in professional activities is not able to be successful in absolutely everything.

    Learn more