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Why this matters:

Not all patients are willing to share their experiences of trauma. Good psychologist candidates will have a handful of approaches designed to get patients to open up. You’ll also learn about the candidate’s knowledge of and experience with trauma in general.

What to listen for:

  • Focus on positive outcomes
  • Understanding of and experience with trauma
  • Ready approaches and strategies

Why this matters:

A patient’s nonverbal cues range from body language to eye contact, nervous tics to tone of voice. The ability to read these is important for psychologists because it affords deeper insights into their state of mind. This question helps you assess the candidate’s knowledge, experience, and observational skills.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to observe and identify nonverbal cues
  • Experience in identifying nonverbal cues
  • Examples drawn from previous experiences

Why this matters:

Here, you are assessing potential treatment specializations, including cognitive development, group therapy, and psychoanalysis. You are also learning about the candidate’s experience with young adults, who may form a significant percentage of your clientele. While you might need a more generalist psychologist, the ability to specialize can be useful in building a strong and diverse practice.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of a few common forms of anxiety
  • Customized treatment options for patients that are young adults
  • Mention of other specializations

 

Why this matters:

Psychologists often work with people who have a hard time opening up. These patients may have suffered trauma, which can trigger defense mechanisms or other forms of resistance. A psychologist should have ready approaches for how to build trust with patients — making them feel unconditionally safe.

What to listen for:

  • Patience
  • Strategies for making patients feel safe
  • Strong listening skills

Why this matters:

Psychologists will encounter a range of patients, including ones that are more challenging to work with. This question allows you to learn their approach to treating more resistant patients. Learn about how they had their patient open up — and how they made overall progress in the patient’s treatment.

What to listen for:

  • Focus on positive outcomes
  • Confidence when it comes to reluctant, resistant, or even hostile patients
  • Confidentiality around the patient’s identity

Why this matters:

Patient confidentiality is not an option — all psychologists are required to closely guard sensitive patient information, unless waived. This aids in treatment as well, adding to the sense of safety and comfort in the treatment room. Here, you are looking for examples of the candidate’s confidentiality protocols.

What to listen for:

  • General knowledge of the laws, rules, and regulations that protect patient confidentiality
  • Knowledge of why these rules are in place
  • Systematic steps for guarding confidentiality

Why this matters:

The therapy sessions conducted by psychologists are often intimate, and involve the sharing of personal information such as vulnerabilities, phobias, private thoughts, and more. Because of the intimacies created, patients may occasionally struggle to maintain appropriate boundaries. Psychologists must set firm limits and maintain objectivity.

What to listen for:

  • Strategies for how to set boundaries with patients
  • Strategies for what to do if boundaries are crossed
  • A strong sense of empathy

Why this matters:

Every candidate will have a different definition of success. The candidate’s answer should give you powerful insight into their “why,” including what they prize about the profession and what they hope to accomplish. Strong answers may include a desire to increase emotional resilience, build happiness, provide an outlet for expression, and otherwise improve patient lives.

What to listen for:

  • The candidate’s personal mission and values
  • A focus on improving lives
  • A clear idea of what it takes to be successful

Why this matters:

This question will give you insight into the candidate’s personality and career goals. It provides you an opportunity to see if their goals align with your organization’s, and what excites the candidate about the role. Make sure the candidate can see themselves at your practice, so their addition is a good fit for both of you.

What to listen for:

  • Long-term career goals
  • Excitement for the field of psychology
  • Knowledge of your practice — and what they can add and contribute
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