Attributes of a Health Psychologist

Topic: Psychiatry
Words: 2225 Pages: 8


People suffering from mental or emotional problems and impairments may turn to health psychologists for various psychiatric therapies, including evaluation and diagnosis. Behavioral, cognitive, and affective structural therapy techniques are all used to help people improve their social well-being, mental health, or professional growth and treat pathological conditions. Psychologists specialize in healthcare operations in various social situations to give therapy, rehabilitation, and systems support. The environment in which they work and the community to which they belong both have a significant effect on deciding the sort of knowledge they bring to the team, which affects the roles they play on the team (Henderson et al., 2018). Psychologists work with people of all ages, including children, adolescents, parents, and families struggling with various issues. These patients may be those coping with significant obstacles, such as divorce, terminal illness, impairments, mental health illnesses, addiction, trauma, educational hurdles, and job expectations.

Therefore, health psychologists need to possess specific personal characteristics to deliver the best possible service. The ability to successfully interact with patients is the most crucial attribute that a health psychologist should possess. Psychologists must communicate effectively with their patients, which includes listening to them with empathy, sensitivity, and understanding (Nadal, 2017). One should have a good grasp of the underlying meaning or query behind the words expressed by their clientele. A physician needs to listen attentively to patients without interrupting them while discussing their issues. As a result, they should wait until the patient has finished speaking before commenting. That also indicates that they must be willing and able to pay special attention to nonverbal clues, such as eye contact and posture of the body, to convey their meanings more effectively. Psychologists should be aware that they must develop a relationship with each patient individually. When a psychologist has excellent communication skills, it becomes easier to comprehend what their patients complain about and effectively address their concerns.

It is also essential that health psychologists adhere to professional ethics and respect the boundaries they establish with their patients. Psychologists have a responsibility to educate themselves on the standards outlined in the code of ethics of the American Psychological Association, as well as the rules of their state’s licensing board of psychology (Hailes, 2021). Moreover, they should exhibit honesty, integrity, and openness in their conduct. There is no room for criticism throughout the process, from counseling consumers to preparing case documents to filing insurance claims. As a result, the acts of a psychologist tend to align with their stated ideas and ideals. Psychiatrists, like other professionals, have professional boundaries they adhere to and seldom go outside of them in the course of their work. They are obligated to maintain a respectful barrier between themselves and the people they serve. As a direct consequence of this, patients are provided with instructions for locating assistance outside of the psychologist’s office hours or if one is unavailable.

The power imbalance, ethical rules, and sexual harassment laws prohibiting such actions ensure romantic relationships between the client and the doctors do not occur. Openness and respect for patient’s privacy may help them feel more at ease, essential for the exercise’s overall effectiveness (Nadal, 2017). Generally, health psychologists who are proficient in their field tend to be kind, understanding, and trustworthy. They recognize that individuals cannot instantly disassemble long-standing and unwanted behaviors. They treat the patient with dignity while guiding them through self-discovery rather than insisting that the patient change their behavior and demonstrate how to do so. They recognize that progression is not linear because there are periodic setbacks.

Reluctant or dissatisfied clients are not pressured or bullied to make a move when they can. In addition, clients often have an innate sense of whether or not a counselor can be trusted. Psychologists establish their trustworthiness by emphasizing the need for confidentiality (Nadal, 2017). Customers are assured that their confidentiality rights would be respected and information on any possible exceptions to the confidentiality rule, such as an imminent risk of damage to the customer or others in their immediate vicinity. The psychologist’s role is to reassure the client that they should feel comfortable sharing their emotions and ideas without fear of being judged. Responding to patients in a friendly and constructive manner is an essential part of their job. As a result, exercising patience and mastering the art of providing valuable feedback to customers helps them feel loved and respected, making them more likely to talk about the challenges they face. Psychologists often recommend counseling skills, such as the capacity to sympathize with a client.

A health psychologist must have a high level of empathy. Understanding one’s own unique set of circumstances and those of others is a necessary step in developing understanding and compassion for others. A psychologist may build a strong emotional connection with patients by understanding them (Gidhagen, 2018). Psychologists in the humanistic school of psychology believe that empathy can only be achieved via unconditional moral compassion. A patient is supported and accepted for who she is, and they do not rescind their support when the patient does anything wrong. Psychologists can identify and acknowledge the weight that is carried by powerful emotions. They exert self-control over their feelings and ideas while engaging with detained patients, such as those who have committed sexual offenses, to educate them and help them rehabilitate.

Finally, health psychologists need to understand health and treatment strategies and have a genuine enthusiasm for learning by gaining experience via attending counseling conferences such as the ACA Conference. Lifelong learning is a hallmark of a competent psychologist (Nadal, 2017). Conducting conferences, analyzing evidence-based scientific studies, and providing advice to colleagues are essential ways for psychologists to stay relevant in their area, especially given the rapid pace of innovative ideas and behavioral methodologies. A psychologist’s desire to assist patients might fail if the psychologist is not adequately prepared to deal with a certain kind of person or disease (Nadal, 2017). An inaccurate diagnosis or counsel that demeans the patient may cause significant emotional distress. To prevent this from happening, psychologists need to have the conscience to recognize circumstances in which they need further preparation. Therefore, students can acquire problem-solving abilities such as recognizing issues and devising solutions, which ultimately contribute to the productive completion of the therapy session.

People With a Substance Abuse Disorder

Substance abuse is a disorder that affects both the brain and a person’s behaviors, ultimately leading to an inability to control the individual’s use of a legal or illegal prescription or substance. This illness may manifest in a variety of ways. The term “drugs” may also refer to substances such as nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol. The dopamine system in the brain is directly stimulated by these medications, which results in feelings of pleasure being produced. An individual’s desire may be strong because of the drug’s intense stimulation. In the same way, people might forego their everyday routines to get and abuse narcotics. An individual’s casual use of a psychoactive substance in a social situation may be the first step toward developing an addiction to that drug. As addiction grows, an individual’s drug usage becomes more consistent. Addiction to opioids is often triggered by having access to prescription pharmaceuticals and receiving drugs from friends and family members.

Adhere to Treatment

Mental problems, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic disorders, depression, poor self-esteem, and a generally disorderly lifestyle are common among everyone who has a problem with substance abuse. Therefore, most people choose to seek treatment by reporting their symptoms to different healthcare institutions. When these patients attempt to seek assistance, they may run against several barriers. In the first place, the patients may have difficulty following therapy due to a lack of comprehension or expense (Ali et al., 2017). Patient education is time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring healthcare providers’ patience and perseverance. Older people, for example, are included in the timetables of clinicians. Because of this, some patients are given sufficient written information regarding the measures they should follow.

Patients must be reminded of the importance of following instructions by therapists who follow up on messages and emails to remind them. More effort is spent developing these tools and teaching the nursing staff to integrate them into patient communication. The more likely patients are to be aware of and adhere to treatment regimens. In terms of fees, doctors should have the financial awareness to set fair prices for their appointments with patients or, at the very least, work out payment plans with them.

Form Relationships with Their Health Care Providers

As patients work hard to build good connections with their doctors, they may encounter scheduling conflicts, clinicians not being available due to geographic restrictions, or transportation issues. Most healthcare organizations provide a set of typical business hours for hospital visits. On the other hand, an elderly person or a parent who is employed may not be able to take advantage of a clinic that is open from 8:00 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening. Flexible appointment times are essential for patients who need to visit their psychiatric provider despite their hectic work or training commitments. An effective countermeasure is an organization’s ability to use its operating hours or schedules to encourage individuals to call their doctors simultaneously (Madras et al., 2020). Many individuals use urgent care centers and specialized clinics to seek treatment beyond regular business hours.

Even when they have an appointment scheduled with their psychologist, patients may be prevented from visiting their therapists due to obstacles related to transportation. Patients who cannot go to the doctor’s office because of transportation issues or are physically unable to do so are at risk of not receiving treatment. As a result, patients who live in distant places are considerably more likely to miss appointments with their physicians than those in more metropolitan areas. The lack of physicians in remote places continues to be a problem for patients. People in rural locations are particularly hard hit when the government anticipates a scarcity of physicians in major metropolitan areas. Healthcare providers have already established relationships with Uber and other emergency transportation firms. For hospitals to keep their patients safe, these are instances of community health partnerships in action.

Gain Information About Their Health

Additionally, individuals may experience difficulties obtaining information about their health due to a lack of access to healthcare facilities. Often, access to patient care is not only a matter of having the right information but also a matter of delivering the correct information. Healthcare companies should ensure patients have access to appropriate facilities, even if removing barriers to getting them there is a priority. Medical institutions must have full health awareness to allow patients to pick the proper facility for their illnesses, even if these treatment alternatives represent a considerable step forward in access to health care. Value-based medicine relies on connecting patients with the proper care at the right time. As long as a patient has easy access to primary care, their chances of developing more severe disease are reduced (Marchand et al., 2019). Healthcare providers must also have the greatest patient-centered practices to guarantee that consumers may easily access these care facilities.

Patients with drug addiction disorders are likely to suffer stigmatization as they attempt to navigate the healthcare system. Even when they have overcome all of the difficulties associated with their rehabilitation, they will still face particular challenges in the real world (Zwick et al., 2020). It is essential to remember that addicts are amenable to therapy but still need specialized attention, sympathy, and support. Unfortunately, society does not always respond in this manner, which may lead to despair in an individual.

The behavior of a heroin addict is challenging for most people to look beyond. Because of their time in jail, others may see them as criminals. Because of this kind of bias, it is tough for a recently sober person to rebuild their life. Living in a town of a specific size might sometimes make things more difficult. Finding a job, making new friends, or coming up with fresh concepts are all things that might be challenging to do. The vast majority are thought to be addicted, and it may be very challenging to live with this stigma (Zwick et al., 2020). As a result, people will be more inspired to concentrate on their life’s purpose and think more positively instead of making negative remarks.


Working as a health psychologist may be a challenging occupation at times. When it comes time to confront their patients, psychologists must be patient and confident. Additionally, for them to be able to navigate through their activities, they need to show empathy and exhibit strong communication skills. As a physician, I rely on these characteristics to help me choose the best treatment options for my patients. As a result, I am more likely to succeed since I can solve problems that need critical thinking, which makes me competent. Psychologists must establish a more robust basis for excellent results to guarantee that treatments are justified to enhance the patient experience. In addition, I believe that better communication skills would benefit the patient, who would then feel more engaged in the treatment as a whole. More importantly, healthcare institutions should devise better techniques to guarantee that patients attend their treatment sessions consistently; otherwise, they risk having their condition return after a break.


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