Psychologists will have studied at university for around six years (undergraduate degree plus a minimum of three years postgraduate training), obtained degrees accredited by the British Psychological Society, and undertaken relevant work experience for around 2 years. One to four years into their studies, they choose an area to specialise in: clinical, social, forensic, cognitive, developmental or neurological. Regardless of their specialisation, all chartered psychologists have to agree to abide by the the BPS code of conduct and its ethics.
When might you see a psychologist?
Psychologists study human behaviour. They’re usually consulted when you need to take stock of your life or a particular situation. Psychologists guide, support and advise you. They are the first professional to turn to when you have a problem of a psychological nature.
Psychologists help with many of life's problems: personal issues, problems at school or at work. At school, an educational psychologist aids parents and children experiencing problems with results, truancy, or dyslexia; in business, an occupational psychologist supports staff who are stressed or have been made redundant.
Psychologists try to close in on your psychological behaviour. To do this, they use tests and scales that allow them to evaluate your personality and abilities. They also engage in discussion with the patient. During a consultation, they speak with the patient while observing and analysing his behaviour. The aim is to find the answers and directions that suit the patient best.
Psychologists work both within the NHS and privately. If you feel like you would like help with a mental health problem, first of all you should go and see your GP. If you choose to see a psychologist privately, you should ensure that they are accredited by the Directory of Chartered Psychologists (available through the British Psychological Society). This shows that they are highly qualified and have the right expertise. There are no guidelines concerning the fees they charge.
To find out more, visit the British Psychological Society website: www.bps.org.uk