Choosing between the different training options can be complicated. What should you look for?
The learning path required to pursue psychotherapy is not always clear. Depending on the place of residence of each one, the regulation in the exercise of Psychology of each country, and the motivations and needs that move us, we must find a way to enter this professional field by going to the training centers that more match what we want to do.
It is not just a matter of studying hard and well; In addition, we must find a training institution that measures up to what we require to become the psychologists we want to become. So … where to train as a therapist?
In this article we will see several tips on how to choose the centers in which to train to be psychotherapists, and the way in which we can estimate their quality.
Where to train as a therapist: how to choose where to study
Training to practice psychotherapy is not easy, especially considering the wide variety of knowledge and skills that are needed to work in this field of health. The type of training required to intervene psychologically in patients must cover broad facets of human behavior and the mental processes involved in them, something that can hardly be achieved without the guidance and supervision of experts in the field.
On the other hand, it is precisely the fact that there is a wide range of knowledge to learn that makes many students feel lost when it comes to proposing to progress in their educational career. After all, among so many subject areas, it is difficult to find a line to follow in order to sequentially internalize matters that help us understand the functioning of psychological therapy, establishing new knowledge on those that we have already made ours.
Fortunately, and although to get to dedicate ourselves to psychotherapy it is necessary to adapt the line of studies to the unique interests that define us as individuals, in general lines it is possible to find a series of criteria that can guide us when making decisions about where study to become a psychologist. These fundamental criteria are as follows.
1. Check the clarity of the content offered
If a training center does not offer a summary of the content that will be covered throughout its courses, that should be a first warning sign. Transparency regarding the type of subjects that will be taught in the classes is something fundamental, and in which we must support ourselves to know if that option is adapted to our needs.
2. Make sure they offer quality internships
It is imperative not to just learn when it comes to theory. In something as changeable and flexible as human behavior, you need much more than the knowledge obtained in books: you have to get used to carrying out practical cases that test your skills in real time, in contexts that are as realistic as possible. more similar to the day-to-day professional that the training context allows.
There are centers that offer internships referring students to other organizations where students can practice psychological intervention cases on patients. However, in this regard, centers that allow internships without having to go to another center are even better; that is to say, with patients from the very place where you are constantly learning. In this way, both theory and practice are better integrated, and a better match is possible between what is explained and discussed in classrooms and what is seen in cases treated with real patients.
An example of this is the University Master’s Degree in Integrative Psychotherapy of the Mensalus Institute (Barcelona), in which both practices with patients from the center itself as well as classes and observation are offered in which psychotherapists attend to these people who come for consultation, with the students located behind a glass that hides them (although the patient knows that he is being observed).
In these cases, several types of learning are combined that have to do with solving problems in real time : one of them placing students at the center of the action, and the other leaving them a space to make inquiries about what they are watching.
3. Pay attention to the paradigms you start from
The training centers you go to must start from a clearly scientific conception of what psychology is. This means that it is necessary that they base their teachings on well-constructed investigations with the aim of creating knowledge applicable to many contexts and of proving falsifiable facts that are easy to test from other investigation teams.
In this sense, it is important that the bulk of the content to be learned is based on the cognitive-behavioral paradigm, which is the one with the most evidence of efficacy.
4. Review your student care options
It is very common that throughout a course there are incidents, doubts or small problems related to the availability to attend a class, the scoring system or the need to contact the teachers to answer important questions.
For this reason, it is essential to find out about the type of orientation to students that the centers offer, especially through the Internet.
5. Check your schedule compatibility options
Especially in postgraduate studies, it is good to assess the possibility of pursuing these studies without the schedules overlapping with other things, in a way that adapts to the rest of the responsibilities that students of this profile usually have. For example, if to attend class you have to go to class at widely separated hours, investing almost the entire day in dedicating three hours of class, that will possibly wear us down and keep us away from solving other needs.
6. Pay attention to the type of therapy in which it is trained
Do not get carried away by what others are doing: if you are interested in a specific type of therapeutic intervention, do not be afraid to choose a center that places more emphasis on that kind of training. Mind you, assess the risks of learning only about one type of therapy, taking into account the context in which you plan to work and the amount of competition there is going to be. Ideally, you should not lose an overview of psychotherapy applied to a certain variety of health disorders, even if the focus is on two or three specific problems.