According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a positive trend for workers in psychology, which has over 80 different careers. Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors. They work by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to each other and their environments.

As part of the healthcare industry, psychologists can work independently, collaborate with doctors and social workers, work with students, teachers, parents, or private practice if they choose. Although there is a difference in this discipline’s approach, a career counseling jobs employee will tell you that there are some specific characteristics or personality traits necessary for psychologists to have, and some of those are below.

Ethics and trustworthiness

Ethics are a set of moral principles that govern the behavior of a psychologist. Psychologists are morally obligated to protect patients from harm while maintaining ethical standards. Trustworthiness goes to your actions as a psychologist that will lead a patient to be open and honest with you. They go together because during sessions with patients, psychologists will hear information in confidence, and that information must remain between the patient and the psychologist. It may take a long time for a psychologist to gain the trust of a patient fully, but a psychologist must continue trying.

Some ways that trustworthiness between psychologist and patients are achieved by:

1. Focusing on the patient. Let the sessions be about the patient; they talk, and you listen.

2. Practice positive energy. Be honest but don’t let the vibe get weighed down with negativity. You want your patients to leave feeling better than they came in.

3. Make your office or meeting space unbiased. Ensure your patients that you are not judging them and hold no biases.

4. Be prepared for your meeting. Have your desk or space clear of clutter or information regarding anybody except the patient in front of you.

5. Remain patient and flexible. If you have something set to discuss, your patient wants to talk about something else, change direction for the immediate future, and reanalyze your session.

6. No coddling patients. Your job is not to indulge or tell patients what they want to hear. They benefit more from your honest, professional approach.


For a psychologist, every interaction will be different, and no situation is the same. Daily, you will have to be able to recognize and respond to what another person is feeling. Empathy is the ability to feel what another person is feeling. In psychology, there are three different types of empathy that psychologists must be able to put together. Cognitive empathy knows how the other person might be thinking and feeling. It is also called perspective-talking.

Emotional empathy is when you feel what the other person is feeling. Their enjoyment or sadness is palpable, and you feel it too. Compassionate empathy is when you don’t understand what the other person is feeling, but their feeling moves you to help them if needed.

As a professional, you will have to realize what you are feeling and control how you respond. Experienced psychologists take note of their patients’ feelings and work with them through those feelings. You need to understand, empathize, and be a sounding board without burning yourself out because of your empathy.

Communication skills

Most of your communication with patients will be oral. Being able to communicate in this profession effectively is critical to your job. What you say and how you say it can negate any breakthrough that your patient may have. Some tips for effective communication are:

1. Make disclosures. If you cannot do something or say something, tell your patient upfront.

2. Reflect to show your patient how you relate to them – share experiences.

3. Interpretations ensure that you understand what is meant by what you are hearing.

4. Questions let your patients know that you are interested in what they are saying and want more information.

Psychology is the study of cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors. Some characteristics or personality traits that one needs to be a psychologist are ethics and trustworthiness, empathy, and the ability to communicate effectively.