In a new series on inspiring careers and how to get them, award-winning entreprenuer Jessica Elliott speaks to professionals at the top of their game find our how you can get their dream job.
Dr Becky Spelman discovered psychology as a child growing up in a small town in rural Ireland. She dreamed of working in a field where she could help individuals communicate better and find a higher degree of happiness in their lives.
But there were many obstacles to overcome to achieve her dream career as a Harley Street psychologist and psychotherapist, from a lack of information and learning centres, through to few female role models in her chosen profession.
These are Dr Becky’s top tips on how to break into a career in psychology, and why you’d want to.
Be interested in people
“I was drawn to psychology as when I was a kid I was fascinated by the people around me, of all ages. I would notice people, and see where people were good at communicating, and where they were not. I have never lost this fundamental interest in how we interact with each other and the world around us, and it’s this that makes every day as interesting as my very first day for me.”
Want it for the right reasons
“Whatever way you look at it psychology is a career path with an endless level of studying and commitment, so it’s not an easy ride. However, the best days are when someone actually comes to you with a difficulty, and you feel absolutely confident that you know how to help them get better, and you guide them through the steps to achieve this. If this goal appeals to you, then you’ll find the reading and commitment are easily worth the effort.”
Do your homework
“Unlike when I was studying, there are many courses around the UK and further afield that offer excellent psychology entry qualifications, that come with solid accreditation. However, the downside of such choice is how do you find the right one for you? Write down your desired outcomes in advance, and then read up on the specifics of the course to find out which best matches these, and always check out user reviews in advance - some of the best looking courses I have seen on paper come with some of the worst student feedback.”
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