Wanting to help people - cliché?

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Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by RichardH » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:56 am

I recently had a mock interview for the Clinical Psychology doctorate. When asked why I wanted to be a clinical psychologist I replied that I wanted to help people and justified this by explaining how I like the person centred approach taken by psychology, formulation and helping others to develop life skills which empowers them.

In my feedback I was told I should never say I want to help people, it’s to cliché! :evil: But for me this is why I chose this profession so what do I do?

I guess I'd like to know what others think, is wanting to help people cliché??? :oops:


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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by Dr.Dot » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:02 am

I guess your response to the question doesn't really help in them understanding why you would choose clinical psychology over another 'helping' profession. You mentioned formulation, but you could do that as a CBT therapist, counsellor or other talking therapies practioner.
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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by othello » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:21 am

Also there might be a need to explain why you want to help people. You could help people by being a customer support person or a priest but there is something about helping people in the context of health that appeals. Even more specifically mental health appeals. So why would you want to do that? And as Dr.Dot pointed out why psychology? Why clinical psychology?!
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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by nyla789 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:45 pm

I've been practising interview questions with a friend for upcoming interviews, and this is one of the issues we've been discussing together - why do I want to do clinical psychology? And my answer also seems to be 'I want to help people' but I HATE saying that, because I really do think it's a cliché! Will def take into account the above advice and think about it some more!

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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by Borrowed Cone » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:57 pm

Collecting refuse is a honourable and helpful thing to be doing. Just saying...

Clinical psychologists aren't always able to help people anyway. I guess saying "because I want to help people" might be showing that you don't have a realistic view of the profession which is basic a requirement at interview (I'm not saying you do/don't, just a possible interpretation by an interview panel)

Clinical psychologists work with people in distress, but they also work as managers, as consultants to other MDT members (who may also be people in distress!), as researchers, as lecturers... they're not always "helping people", so to speak.

I get the "wanting to help people" thing on some level but it just isn't realistic or specific enough to clinical psychology as a profession.

I do have a question for you, RichardH: why do you want to help people?

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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by astra » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:41 pm

I suppose too that "wanting to help people" could sound a little patronising, like the people you are helping are somehow different from you and more needy - it could sound a bit like "I'm so sorted and great, I can help those less fortunate". I'm sure that's not how you meant it, but it does sound a little un-self-aware. Maybe reflecting more on what it is about you that makes you right for the profession (leadership, listening, academic, organising skills to name but a few things you might think of), and what it is about this specific profession that makes it right for you (for me it's the balance of multiple challenges - academic, leadership, people skills and so on). I guess also "helping people" does not adequately reflect the breadth of the role, and suggests an uninformed view of what the profession is about.
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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by matt.berlin » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:46 pm

As well as answering why you want to help people, maybe think about how you want to help people. What is it about the way(s) that Clinical Psychologists work that appeals to you? And who is it you want to help?
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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by Tiggerman » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:57 pm

I was once told by a psychologist that you should answer it truthfully.... so if it is why you want to do it then you should say it, becuase as much as its a cliche, if thats genuinely why then it should shine through... but maybe go into a bit more detail like other people have said, why clinical psychology as opposed to other helping professions...
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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by captain artichoke » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:38 pm

I 'admitted' in my DClinPsych interview that I wanted to help people and got offered a place. I did back it up with quite a bit of reflecting though - where my desire to help people might have come from (if I'm focusing on other people's problems its quite distracting from my own :oops: ), how being helped isn't necessarily what people need etc - and I did precede it with a 'I know I'm not supposed to say this but...'. I agree - think being honest is a good thing, but so is having a good understanding of what you mean by it, otherwise I guess it is a bit cliché.

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Re: Wanting to help people - cliché?

Post by marmalade » Thu May 19, 2011 11:11 am

You can explain that you want to help people with a bit more detail, you want to improve people's quality of life with the application of psychological theory!, you want to empower people and assist them in becoming more independent and managing their difficulties, find innovative solutions and strategies for difficulties service users may present.... explain what you mean a bit more and give examples of what actual aspects of the role you would find most interesting and enjoyable.

In my interview I talked about how I wanted to be a part of improving mental health services so that they meet the individual needs of more people, and discussed situations where I'd felt the service wasn't meeting people's needs appropriatly and how I'd felt frustrated about this.

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