This is not just a blog for other professionals but for anyone really, including clients from the past, present or future. What does being professional really mean? Actually it just means you are paid for what you are qualified to do, as simple as that – after all you get professional hitmen! It is a separate issue from an ethical code of practice – as psychologists we follow the guidelines given by the BPS, which are just common sense really e.g. do not form inappropriate relationships with your clients / participants. We also like to practice what we preach i.e. a health psychologist would like to be coping well with their physical health and a forensic psychologist would not be a criminal! Of course it goes without saying that as good citizens we don’t break the law. Also all good psychologists would want to have good mental health themselves.
I remember when I was studying for my doctorate that we took a module in ethical, professional and legal issues. And the lecturer (who was also a priest) suggested that it was ok for plumbers to swear and get tipsy outside working hours, but perhaps not appropriate for psychologists! I disagreed with him. I have even come across discussions on Linkedin that suggests that psychotherapists should be teetotal!! However we are human and it is that human empathy that appeals to our clients – unlike psychiatrists we don’t think we are God! My clients don’t have problems with me wearing leggings and working from my front room – rather they value my warmth, my life experience and my ability to explain complex psychological issues etc; as well as being someone who can give them undivided attention for 50 minutes each week- who else really gives you that?