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Mistakes as a Provisionally Registered Psychologist

Mistakes as a Provisional Psychologist blog images with an eraser rubbing out the word mistakes on paper

Okay guys, Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining me for another edition of this blog. This month my first big NO-NO happened, the hiccup I was waiting for. It was something that I new was coming but could not pinpoint or shift quick enough to avoid.

Human biases and making mistakes as a Provisionally Registered Psychologist

I am a person. Shock horror. It happened guys. The first time that I did not have a nice interaction with a client. Will happen to all of us at some stage. Because we are humans and that is about the human condition. We aren’t going to be every one’s cup of tea and that is okay.  Our own experiences, our own set of beliefs and things that sway our opinions are part of us. Knowing those and being able to see them is a great starting point.

Here is how it went for me and what to do if it happens to you.

A client and I were having a conversation. This topic hit a little too close to home. Of course, I had opinions and thoughts and as we were having an open conversation. Both of us were bouncing ideas and discussing like adults do. I said something. And it was clearly the wrong thing. It offended the client. Now was this a massive topic about something serious and impactful. No. I would not say so.

However, it brings me to my point. As the health professional you want to be seen in a specific light. You want the client to like you and respect you and you want there to be that level of client retention. So what happens when you and your client butt heads on a topic.

What happens when you (I am talking the professional now. Or even the person reading this that has no interest in this stuff but found themselves on my page anyway) get into a challenging conversation.

Someone does not agree with the thing you’ve said. Calls you out of an area of knowledge you may be lacking in. Questions your clinical approach?

Context is important and depending on what the context is shapes how the interaction will unfold. Now I am lucky that this incident happened to be a pop culture reference. So in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a major incident.

However, I felt that this would be a relevant topic to share and discuss.  What happens if you offend someone? If you are not the right fitted person for someone else. What happens if they cancel and do not tell you why and then what? Do you start to question who you are as a psychologist?

What now? Where do you go from rumination?

Your reality is your creation right. We can choose our clinical approaches. We have the ability harness our skills. Decide which direction we go? Let's use this as an opportunity to go back to basics. What were we taught in primary school.

Think before you speak. Use language as power with intent. Rather than flippant and loose. All of these things are within our control. Take time to assess the environment and the clients situation.

Use the reflective period to critically assess your case load. Ask your clients for performance reviews. You can even create a survey monkey feedback form so you don’t have to be having that conversation directly. It can be private. But people are so scared of that. People would rather be blissfully unaware and have clients just drop out of service and disengage.

But I challenge you. Speak up. Ask people, your peers and Boss. Talk to  your friends, your family, your partner. Use feedback to your advantage so that you have that piece of reflection. It can be such an effective tool to use so that you can you grow.

Because we are far from perfect. Do not panic if you are not for everyone. You will not be and that’s okay. We all get caught up in this. It is so easy to do because we get so invested in the job.

Top Tips: Making mistakes as a Provisionally Registered Psychologist

  1. Just be mindful.

  2. Remember you are human.

  3. Be reflective.

  4. Context is very important.

  5. Believe in yourself and be super honest with yourself. Don’t run away from mistakes. Use them to fuel you.


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