A (typical) day in the life of a psychologist

If you were ever interested in what a workplace psychologist does, read on...

It’s inevitable that when I meet new people socially, occupations come up in the conversation pretty quickly. As soon as I tell them I’m a psychologist, they want to know more. It’s nice to be asked, but my day to day routine is possibly not what most people might imagine.

I’ve been considering writing about my ‘typical’ day at work for quite some time, but the only problem is that I don’t have a typical day. And it’s the variety of my work that contributes in no small way to my happiness and satisfaction.

That said, there are a few things that happen regularly.

But first, a disclaimer: nobody lies on a couch in my office and tells me about their dreams. I’m not a clinical or counselling psychologist, so I don’t (tend to) work in the area of mental health conditions. I focus on the workplace and our experience of work. In general, psychologists are interested in how people think, feel and behave – my interest is in how they do those things at work.

As I said, my days are pretty varied.

I could spend my day working with clients, coaching, running training sessions or facilitating a team development workshop. I mainly work in the space of ‘people development’, which can take many forms. But unlike other occupational/workplace psychologists, I don’t get involved in selection, assessment or recruitment.

The coaching and training topics I work with are very diverse. They include:

  • Stress management
  • Career changes
  • Adapting to change / seniority
  • Relationship management
  • Productivity
  • Health coaching
  • Leadership style

Coaching client are usually referred via their HR department, but I do still get inquiries from the general public, who’ve usually found me online somehow or been referred by a friend who I’ve coached.

If I’m not with clients, I might be in ‘creation mode’, writing content for the company blog, prepping the podcast or writing new content for a leadership development programme.

If I’m on a client site, I might be planning a coaching programme and getting dates in the diary for up to twelve coachees at a time. I work globally, and right now, I’m working with clients in London, Dublin and Barcelona, so the end of my day might feature an anonymous hotel room and attempts to replicate my usual sleep schedule.

I could be coaching someone on the other side of the world via video, or providing telephone support to a colleague who has questions about a project we’re working on. Desk time could also involve facilitating a webinar with attendees from who knows where!

One of the big changes I’ve noticed in the last decade has been the increased use of technology that allows me to work remotely with my clients. Anything that can reduce the time I spend in airports is very welcome.

If I’m very, very lucky, I’ll be on the couch in my office, working my way through my reading list and feeling inspired.

So the vast majority of my time is spent with people – just how I like it – helping them to navigate the day to day challenges of work, careers, relationships and wellbeing.

Any questions? Send them in via the comments field below.

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