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How to Transfer Your Skills to Psychology

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 11 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss

Psychology is a career that attracts a high proportion of more mature candidates, so it follows that it is well-suited to a wide range of skills.

Transferring your skills to a career in psychology certainly takes dedication and commitment, as there is a great deal of training required to be able to offer your services as a psychologist in any field, but it is definitely possible as long as you have the following skills to build on. While you do not need comprehensive skills in all these areas, it certainly helps if you are at least competent in all areas, with strong skills in at least one area.


It is impossible to be a good psychologist without having an inherent ability to communicate effectively. Although you can learn effective communication methods to ‘upgrade’ your communication skills, you must have a natural appreciation for communication and be able to talk on an appropriate level with all different types of people.

If you have gained effective communication skills from perhaps a sales job or being a teacher, there will be ways in which you can transfer these skills to be more suited to a career in psychology. Think about how you make people feel when you speak to them and how you respond to difficult communication, such as people that are upset or angry. Look into ways in which you can make the most of your current communication skills (such as overcoming objectives from a sales perspective) and turn them towards your psychology goal (such as using the overcoming objectives skills to help a patient that suffers with an extreme phobia).

Business Development

In any area of self-employment, business development skills are a must. Even though a career as a psychologist may mean that you are given clients by your employer, if you do decide to start your own practice you will need to be able to stay on top of the business operation as well as using the ‘softer’ skills.

The most important thing to remember about business development is that without it you will not have a business. You can be the greatest psychologist in the world, but unless people know about you, you will never make a living. It doesn’t need to be all ‘hard sell’ either, simply get involved in suitable networking opportunities, build an online profile (including social media) where people can relate to you as an expert and make sure you follow up all leads and potential leads.


Strong research skills are very useful for a psychologist as it will ensure that you are keeping ahead of industry trends. Whether that is hypnotherapy for weight loss or using art therapy, by understanding the different areas of psychology, you will be able to work to the best of your ability. Now, you do not want to keep chopping and changing so customers do not know really what you offer or you will not build a reputation as an expert in your field, but you do need to know what is going on in your industry.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
My wife is from Russia and soon to start a conversion course with the ultimate aim of becoming a clinical psychologist. She used to be a journalist so this is a big career change for her. We will need to self finance so were hoping for some advice, any advise on how to work and get practical experience preferably in a closely related field. Any advice would be most appreciated as we feel a little stuck at the moment! Thanks
Bob77 - 11-Mar-18 @ 7:50 PM
I hope to receive a mail from you. I am deeply in love and fascinated with the field of psychology though I have a degree in food science in a Nigerian university. I have what it takes to succeed in this field, I love people and have great people skills though an introvert but I talk when excited. I love speaking and building teens and children. How do I go about this without a certificate in psychology. I strongly consider a private practice. Thanks
seun - 16-Feb-16 @ 12:24 AM
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