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What's the Worst Part About Being a Psychologist?

The Disadvantages of Being a Psychologist

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We've looked at a few of the advantages of being a psychologist, but no career is 100-percent perfect in every way. While working as a psychologist can be an extremely rewarding and satisfying career choice, there are some potential disadvantages that all psychology students should consider. As you evaluate your career options, think about your own personality, needs and interests. Some people are better able to cope with certain issues, while others will find them to be more of a struggle.

1. Dealing with insurance and billing issues can be a hassle.

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Image: Sarah Williams

Whether you operate your own therapy practice or work in an established mental health office, you will have to deal with paperwork, insurance, and billing issues. If you decide to run your own business, you will need to learn how to bill insurance plans or hire someone to perform this task for you.

2. Setting up your own practice can be challenging.

Building your own business from the ground up can be a daunting task. In addition to basic tasks such as finding office space, purchasing equipment and supplies, and establishing a client base, you need to think about other issues such as malpractice insurance, health insurance, billing practices, document management, and tax obligations.

3. Dealing with clients on a daily basis can be emotionally draining.

Image: Carl Dwyer

While one of the great rewards of being a psychologist is the opportunity to truly help people, the daily strain of dealing with the difficult issues your clients face can be emotionally exhausting. In order to reduce the risk of burnout, it is important to find ways to deal with stress. Learning to create a division between your work life and personal life is an important first step. Practicing good stress management techniques can also be very helpful.

4. Your work schedule can be erratic at times.

Even though you establish normal work hours during the day, as a psychologist you may find that you are required to deal with client issues at unexpected times. Some clients are not be able to meet with you during normal business hours due to their own busy work schedules, which means you will have to shuffle your own plans around to make time for these individuals. In other cases, you might be called during off-hours or weekends to meet with clients who need help or are facing crisis situations. Because of this, flexibility is an important skill for any psychologist to develop.

5. You will need to devote time to finding new clients.

Psychologists are often self-employed and operate their own private practices. While this can be an ideal situation for people who like to work for themselves, it also means that a significant chunk of time, money and resources must be spent on finding new clients.

One way to accomplish this is to build relationships with medical professionals and other mental health providers so that they will refer potential clients to your practice. Hosting free support group sessions and advertising in the local media are other promotional options. Some professionals enjoy this aspect of running their business, but some feel that it takes away valuable time that could be devoted to therapy work.

Final Thoughts

Like any career, being a psychologist has both advantages and disadvantages. Only you can determine if the good outweighs the possible downsides. Spend some time researching your options in order to find the job that is the right fit for you.

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