One of the most exciting aspects of being a psychologist is that no two days are the same. We are privileged to meet and help a dazzling array of individuals in our profession and every client has a unique story to share. Different psychologists work in different ways but we thought we’d draw back the veil of mystery and share a snippet from the life of one of our psychologists. Say hello to Julia!
Happy Monday! After a hearty breakfast and a cheery goodbye from my family, I usually dive head first into the day by reviewing my calendar and client notes for upcoming sessions. I’ve usually prepared most of my materials for client sessions the week before but it doesn’t hurt to check and get everything in order.
My morning disappears quickly with individual client sessions. I’ve trained in a few therapy modalities so I got to transition between using cognitive behavioural therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy techniques to work with some established clients struggling with depression, anxiety, and grief. My last client of the morning cancelled, which isn’t uncommon and allowed me to catch up on session notes and whizz off a progress report to a referring GP. Sometimes I have to return calls but today all queries directed my way have already been answered by the friendly, knowledgeable client service team.
I usually like to take a break for lunch to refresh and recharge but today I chatted with my supervisor while wolfing down the somewhat interesting sandwich my 7-year-old kindly made me. Psychologists often continue to seek supervision long after the required hours of their official training. I find a fresh perspective on difficult cases to be invaluable and it means I continually develop my skills and don’t get stuck in my own thought cycle.
Much of the afternoon is taken up by co-facilitating group therapy with a colleague. The nature of group therapy is very different to individual therapy and I always find it fun managing the dynamics of a group. Sometimes clients go on to build their own friendships or support networks as well, which is pleasing to witness. Psychologists can often be isolated working alone with clients in the four walls of their room so it’s also really educational and interesting to notice my colleague’s approach to working with clients. Today, I made a note of the way she explained certain concepts so I can incorporate something similar into my own practice. I’ve got just enough time to write up some more notes and have a sneak peek at tomorrow’s schedule before the manager kicks me out with a few of my remaining colleagues so she can lock up for the night.
Self-care is important for everyone, including your local, friendly psychologist who has spent a long day on an empathetic rollercoaster ride with emotional clients. I tend to hit the gym straight after work to help me process the day and take time for myself before enjoying family time and leaving work at the door (most of the time!). Goodnight – psychologist Julia is hanging up her hat for the night to be mummy and wife until 8.30 tomorrow morning!