Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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Changing Jobs / Careers


Thinking about changing your job or career direction?

Most people these days will change jobs from time to time - perhaps because they are made redundant, or  because the job no longer satisfies them, or they see a new, more interesting opportunity.

There are lots of things to consider. Firstly, are you absolutly sure you want to change? And if so, do you want a job that is a continuation of your existing career direction, or do you want to do something completly different?

Have you considered what type of employment you would look for - fulltime, job sharing, maybe self employment? Our section on Changing Jobs provides a guide to some of the challenges and decisions that are part of the process of change in your career.

To explore these options, go to our section on Changing Job