1. What competencies are required for becoming an effective psychologist?Answer : The competencies which are required for becoming an effective psychologist fall into three broad sections:
(i) General Skills: These skills are generic in nature and are needed by all psychologists irrespective of their field of specialisation. These skills are essential for all professional psychologists, whether they are working in the field of clinical and health psychology, industrial/organisational, social, educational, or in environmental settings, or are acting as consultants. These skills include personal as well as intellectual skills. It is expected that it will not be proper to provide any form of professional training (in clinical or organisational fields) to students who do not possess these skills.
(ii) Observational Skills: A great deal of what psychologists as researchers and practitioners do in the
field is to pay attention, watch and listen carefully. They use all the senses, noticing what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted, or touched. A psychologist, thus, is like an instrument that absorbs all sources of information from the environment.
(iii) Specific Skills: These skills are core/basic to the field of psychological service. For example, psychologists working in clinical settings need to be trained in various techniques of therapeutic interventions, psychological assessment, and counselling. Similarly, organisational psychologists working in the organisational context need to have skills in assessment, facilitation and consultation, behavioural skills to bring about individual, group, team and organisational development besides research skills, etc. Though, specific skills and competencies are required for a very specialised professional functioning, nonetheless, all skill sets do overlap quite a bit.
2. What are the generic skills needed by all psychologists?
Answer : The list of generic skills needed by all psychologists are:
(i) Interpersonal Skills: ability to listen and be empathic, to develop respect for/interest in others cultures, experiences, values, points of view, goals and desires, fears, openness to receive feedback, etc. These skills are expressed verbally and/or non-verbally.
(ii) Cognitive Skills: ability to solve problems, engage in critical thinking and organised reasoning, and having intellectual curiosity and flexibility.
(iii) Affective Skills: emotional control and balance, tolerance/understanding of interpersonal
conflict, tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty.
(iv) Personality/Attitude: desire to help others, openness to new ideas, honesty/integrity/value ethical behaviour, personal courage.
(v) Expressive Skills: ability to communicate one’s ideas, feelings and information in verbal, non-verbal, and written forms.
(vi) Reflective Skills: ability to examine and consider one’s own motives, attitudes, behaviours and ability to be sensitive to one’s own behaviour or others.
(vii) Personal Skills: personal organisation, personal hygiene, time management, and
3. Define communication. Which component of the communication process is most important? Justify your answer with relevant examples.
Answer : Communication is a process that helps in transmitting meaning from one person to another. It is a conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional process in which feelings and ideas are expressed as verbal and/or non-verbal messages that are sent, received, and comprehended.
One important component of communication is speaking with the use of language. Language involves use of symbols which package meaning within them. To be effective, a communicator must know how to use language appropriately. Because language is symbolic, it is necessary to be as clear and precise as possible when using words. Communication takes place within a context. So one needs to consider the other’s frame of reference, that is, the context used by the sender to say something. Also whether s/he shares your interpretation. If not, it is important to adjust your vocabulary level and choice of words to fit the level of the listener. Remember that slang expressions, words unique to a culture or region, and euphemism can sometimes become obstacles in good communication.
4. Describe the set of competencies that must be kept in mind while administering a psychological test.
Answer : The set of competencies that must be kept in mind while administering a psychological test are as follows:
(i) Ability to select and implement multiple methods and means of evaluation in ways that are responsive to, and respectful of diverse individuals, couples, families, and groups.
(ii) Ability to utilise systematic approaches to gather data required for taking decisions.
(iii) Knowledge of psychometric issues and bases of assessment methods.
(iv) Knowledge of issues related to integration of different data sources.
(v) Ability to integrate assessment data from different sources for diagnostic purposes.
(vi) Ability to formulate and apply diagnoses; to understand strengths and limitations of current diagnostic approaches.
(vii) Capacity for effective use of supervision to implement and enhance skills
5. What is the typical format of a counselling interview?
Answer : The format of a counselling interview is as follows:
(i) Opening of the Interview: The opening of interview involves establishing rapport between two communicators. The purpose is to make the interviewee comfortable. Generally, the interviewer starts the conversation and does most of the talking at the outset. This serves two functions, i.e. it establishes the goal of interview, and gives the interviewee time to become comfortable with the situation and the interviewer.
(ii) Body of the Interview: The body of the interview is the heart of the process. In this stage, the interviewer asks questions in an attempt to generate information and data that are required for the purpose.
(iii) Sequence of Questions: To accomplish the purpose of an interview, the interviewer prepares a set of questions, also called a schedule, for different domains, or categories s/he wants to cover. To do this, the interviewer must first decide on the domains/categories under which information is to be generated. For example, in the questions used in job interview, the interviewer selected several categories such as nature of the organisation last worked for, satisfaction with the past job, views on
product, etc. These categories and the questions within them are framed ranging from easy-to-answer to difficult-to-answer. Questions are also formulated to assess facts as well as subjective assessment.
6. What do you understand by the term counselling? Explain the characteristics of an effective counsellor.
• Counselling is “a therapeutic and growth process through which individuals are helped to define goals, make decisions and solve problems related to the personal–social–educational and career concerns."
• Counselling involves helping relationship, that includes someone seeking help and someone willing to give help who is capable of or trained to help in a setting that permits help to be given and received.
The effectiveness of the counsellor is assessed by:
1. The ability to successfully resolve the client's problems.
2. Certain skills and characteristics which help in the process of counselling.
3. Following are the characteristics of an effective counsellor.
Authenticity: Authenticity means 'Being yourself'. It stands for accepting and knowing oneself and one's positive as well as negative aspects of personality, i.e., accepting weaknesses as well as the strength of oneself.
• Authenticity is acting without mask, without disguising oneself, without playing any role. (It is like you are not an actor in some play.)
• It means that ones behaviour is consistence with his image and self-concept.
• It refers to congruence between how individual describe himself that is his 'I' and what is collective judgment of others regarding him that is his 'Me'.
For example, When a friend tells you that he had spent all of his money on a useless venture and seeks your advise whether he should tell this honestly to his parents? If you feel that being honest to the parents is important and you give the same advice to him, then you are being authentic.
Positive Regard: Positive regard is accepting the person as he/she is, with non-judgmental and unbiased attitude with all his strengths and weaknesses and gray areas of his personality.
It can be done by:
(a) using the word T rather than 'You'.
(b) giving him freedom to say anything he wishes to say.
(c) expressing yourself, your feelings and opinions.
(d) responding carefully.
(e) not engaging in labelling. Being non-judgmental.
For example — If your friend tells you that last night he behaved very rudely with his parents and now he does not know what to do, instead of lecturing him on the mannerism and labelling him as ill mannered, you should try to understand him, go deep into the problem and situation and then give any advice, if needed.
Empathy: It is the ability to understand the problem of the client 'as if' it was your own, without loosing the 'as if' quality— it means that you should be scientific enough to feel the pain of the other person on the same level as he is, but it does not imply that you loose control over yourself, in that case you won't be able to help the person.
For example, Suppose your best friends' grandmother died recently, you should be able to feel the same emotion with the same intensity but it does not mean you go into depression.
Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing involves putting the message into your own words. Example: Client—I can not cope with the pressure of studies. I feel as if I am being deprived of the joys of life.
Counsellor—You are frustrated with studying all the time, which means no time for play.