The study considers the peculiarities of the professional and personal development of a psychologist in the coordinates of modern social demand. The practical requirements to the personality of a professional psychologist have been studied. The differences that indicate the dependence of the subjective importance of the professional-personal qualities of a psychologist on the position taken by the subject are revealed. The study was carried out in several stages, such as selecting the list of characteristics for psychological profiling of a professional’s personality, working with experts and making a “working” list of professional psychologist’s characteristics, working with testees to identify professional personal characteristics common for a modern psychologist, a final content analysis of the practical demand to the professional psychologist personality. The content of practical demand in the professional-personal qualities of a psychologist was studied by using three selections - practicing psychologists, their clients and subjects not related to psychological practice. The most multiphasic and clearly structured psychological portrait of a psychologist is formed in subjects involved in the scope of the relevant professional activity; the least detailed portrait is had by individuals who never receive professional help from psychologists. Under significant differences in built professional portraits of psychologists, with considerable probability, there are qualities that make up the professionalism of a psychologist and his/her ability to make an effective psychological contact with any client. A common feature of all the groups considered is recognizing the weak development of the ability to innovate in the personality structure of a professional psychologist.
Keywords: Professional psychologistprofessional and personal qualitiespsychological services
The complex of objectively acting factors “bears” certain expectations and forms specific requirements for any profession and its subjects. Expectations and reality, having traditionally an insignificant share of coincidences, stimulate searching activity in their converging. At the same time, it is the expectations or demands of some interest groups that are intended to serve as an orientator for the development of the profession, as they denote the areas of the greatest demand for a particular type of specialists in a certain type of activity (Karandashev, 2017; Klimov, 1995; Kuznetsova, 2018). Their timely monitoring and reflection of the need for specialists with specific professional and personal qualities, that are viewed through its results, allow to draw adequate conclusions as to who and with what professional-personal characteristics is required for this profession, and in what way she/he should be trained and retrained. Ignoring such demands means losing communication with consumers of relevant professional services and, as an inevitable consequence, the latter’s disappointment in their quality (Shevkieva, 2014).
The psychology profession is not an exception. The features of its subject content and the multidimensionality of the innated components of the professional activity in it, designed in psychological practice, act as a prerequisite for formulating a complicated and controversial demand to the characteristics and personality structure of a professional psychologist (Martsinkovskaya, 2015; Petrovsky & Yaroshevsky, 2008). This demand is applied to the profession of psychologist under the influence of two sources - scientific and social. The characteristic feature of a social inquiry is a direct connection with practice.
The professional and personal qualities of a psychologist are currently accompanied by transformation of ideas about the psychologist of the Soviet period history and the formulation of ideas about his/her modern appearance (Berulava, 2003; Golyanich, & Semenova; 2018; Zhdan, 2018). The assessments arisen in this case largely reflect the subjectively shaped understanding of the practicability of the psychologist having certain qualities in the context of the new realities in the professional labor market and the range of services demanded from it. Against the background of the changes occurring with the personality in new conditions, the remained attitudes about the professional and personal qualities of a psychologist make an appeal to studying the personality of this professional group representative is particularly interesting in the framework of the modern inquiry both from a theoretical and practical point of view.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to identify the basic vectors of the prognostic assessment of the correspondence of the psychologist’s personality and profession in the coordinates of the modern social and scientific demand.
The study of practical demand to the personality of a professional psychologist was carried out in several stages:
Selecting the list of characteristics for psychological profiling personality of a professional.
Working with experts and making a “working” list of characteristics for professional psychologist.
Working with testees to identify professional and personal characteristics common for a modern psychologist.
Final content analysis of the practical demand to the personality of a professional psychologist.
We compiled the initial list from the qualities identified at the stage of theoretical analysis of the problem (Plahuta, 2014; Bogomazova, 2013; Eremenko, 2010; Shevkieva, 2013). Its total number was increased to 150 items.
At the next stage of the research work, the experts (n = 50) were tasked to form the list of qualities from the existing selection, which, in their opinion, are more applicable for characterizing the personality of a professional psychologist. The independent work of experts allowed to formulate the list of 50 qualities, including the most frequently selected names as the most informative or the most common for a number of qualities from the initial list.
The final list includes the following qualities: autonomy (1); adaptability (2); exactitude (3); high maintenances (4); delicacy (5); dynamism (6); discipline (7); benevolence (8); spirituality (9); resilience (10); self-starter (11); culture (12); diligence (13); cognitive complexity of perception (14); communication skills (15); competence (16); congruence (17); correctness (18); creativity (19); mobility (20); motivation (21); observance (22); independence (23); objectivity (24); experience (25); focus on achievement (26); liability (27); openness to change (28); cognitive abilities (29); enterprise (30); psychic stability (31); reflexivity (32); self- control (33); self-determination (34); self-understanding (35); self-actualization (36); sensitivity (37); ability to innovate (38); suggestive abilities (39); tact (40); uncertainty tolerance (41); accuracy (42); respect to the personality (43); success (44); open-mindedness (45); emotional flexibility (46); empathic (47); eruditeness (48); ethics (49); efficiency (50).
At the next stage of the study, the content of the practical demand in the professional-personal qualities of the psychologist was studied by using three selections - practicing psychologists (1st selection, n1 = 200), their clients (2nd selection, n2 = 200) and subjects not related to psychological practice (3d selection, n3 = 200).
For all three selections, the examination procedure was standard. The testees were offered a set of 50 cards with a list of qualities selected by experts. They should arrange the cards in descending order of their importance relatively to the personality of the modern psychologist. The most significant quality was attributed to the first rank, the least significant quality - the 50th rank.
The further analysis of the empirical results was carried out using the cluster analysis method.
Cluster processing of assessments was carried out in three groups - practicing psychologists, their clients and persons not related to psychological practice. The results testified that the importance of professional and personal characteristics attributed to the modern psychologist as necessary do not coincide in the representations of three groups. There are differences testifying to the dependence of the subjective importance of the professional-personal qualities of the psychologist on the position taken by the subject to evaluate.
The cluster analysis of the total matrix of psychologist professional and personal qualities rank assessments allowed to establish that professional psychologists are combined in several groups.
Based on the ranking estimates of the psychologists, the structure of the constructed cluster tree allows to single several groups of professional and personal qualities of a professional psychologist out its composition, which are the closest in order of importance for his/her work:
- qualities, providing the adequacy of the professional activity results - objectivity (24 rank), experience (25 rank), independence (23 rank), observation (22 rank);
- qualities, providing the adequacy of the professional activity results,
- qualities, characterizing the predictability of the professional behavior of a psychologist, - discipline (rank 7); mental stability (31 ranks), reflexivity (32 ranks), efficiency (50 ranks), ethics (49 ranks);
- qualities, providing the success of a psychologist in new situations; - openness to change (28 rank), competence (16 rank), responsibility (27 rank), focus on achievements (26 rank), self-starter (11 rank), cognitive complexity of perception (14 rank );
- qualities, characterizing the dynamism of the profession; - dynamism (6 rank) and mobility (20 rank);
- quality, client-centeredness of the profession, - tact (40th grade), self-control (33rd rank), congruence (17th rank), respectful attitude to a personality (43rd rank), sensitivity (37th rank).
In general, in the ideas of psychologists, the structure of the professional and personal qualities of their professional group representatives is quite structured. It contains several well-defined structures connected at the axiological level: qualities, providing the adequacy of the results of activities, predictability of its implementation, success in new situations, dynamism and customer-centeredness of the profession.
We have established the “ten” most significant characteristics of a professional psychologist: competence (1 rank), objectivity (2 rank); responsibility (3 rank); communication skills (4 rank); uncertainty tolerance (5 rank); mental stability (6th rank); mobility (7 rank); success (8 rank); adaptability (9 rank); resilience (10 rank). According to representatives of the selection, the most significant qualities in the list for a psychologist are those that indicate his/her high professional skills (competence, objectivity, responsibility). According to professional psychologists, the qualities that reflect the ability to withstand the emerging difficulties (uncertainty tolerance, mental stability, success, adaptability, resilience) are important as well. The identified priorities of the psychologist personality in this professional group are quite explainable, because designated by from this field of activity and representing the difficulties arising in it.
It is interesting that psychologists themselves consider as meant little to the representatives of their professional group such highly cultivated qualities of a modern specialist: initiative (34th rank), focus on achievements (33rd rank), enterprise (43rd rank), ability to innovate (45th rank). Perhaps, by doing so, psychologists are trying to oppose their profession to professions that are dynamically updated and require corresponding variability and their specialists. Psychologists comment that the psychology profession is quite traditional and requires personality qualities from its specialists, more related to quality of work than innovations. We suppose that, the obtained results were also affected by the fact that the empirical selection was formed mainly by specialists who do not have their own business and remain in the role of hired employees, which does not require the considered qualities from them.
According to the position of the professional representatives the least significant professional and personal qualities for a psychologist are: high demands (50 rank), discipline (49 rank), diligence (48 rank), cognitive abilities (47 rank), culture (46 rank). Inclusion into the last "five" qualities of diligence and discipline may indicate that the psychology profession has now become freer, less associated with the implementation of instructions from management. However, in this regard, it disquiets that the quality of creativity, reflecting the high role of free creativity in the personality structure of a specialist, has taken only 44th place in the resulting hierarchy. Low importance has got the psychologist's cognitive abilities (rank 47). This indicates that the release from disciplinary pressure is not accompanied by a redistribution of the resources received in favor of improving the activity. It can be assumed that greater freedom of activity of a professional psychologist can only extend to organizational, rather than to its qualitative aspects.
Thus, professional psychologists have formed a rather complicated structure of ideas about the professional and personal qualities of their profession representatives. It groups the qualities, providing the adequacy of activity results, the predictability of its implementation, success in new situations, the dynamism and customer-centeredness of the profession. At the same time, professional psychologists underestimate the disciplinary aspects of their activity, downplay the importance of creativity manifestations in it.
Significantly different structure of the psychologist's personal and personal qualities was obtained in the selection of clients of psychological services. Cluster analysis of the rank assessment matrix revealed several groups of the closest qualities.
This structure is less complicated than the previous group. The greatest semantic similarity in the obtained psychologist’s personality structure was manifested in terms of the qualities of the observation (22) and objectivity (24). They are joined by such qualities as independence (23), mobility (20), creativity (19), and motivation (21). According to clients, the core personality of a psychologist is formed by such qualities as enterprise (30) and competence (16). They also have the qualities of congruence (17), efficiency (50), ethics (49) and reflexivity (32). From clients’ point of view, a separate group in the psychologist’s personality structure is formed by the qualities that characterize his/her behavior style — tact (40), benevolence (8), and self-control (33).
The getting structure, in principle, contains all the qualities that traditionally characterize the image of a professional psychologist. It is typical that the objectivity of psychologists turned out for a client the most closely related to their observation. There was a reproduction of the quality value expressed in the interaction with the client - tact, benevolence and self-control. We suppose that having revealed in the getting structure the convergence of such qualities as competence and enterprise of a psychologist, as well as independence, mobility, creativity and motivation reflect the modern vision of the professional service. It is also important that, in the ideas of clients, the effectiveness and ethics of the psychologist have a semantic proximity.
Thus, for clients the most important qualities in the psychological portrait of the professional psychologist personality are those that are basic for making professional contact and providing the adequacy of the achieved results.
The analysis of the most and least adequate personal qualities is the addition of the portrait “psychologist through the client’s eyes” to the image of the modern professional. We have established that the most significant in the structure of their psychologists personality for clients are the following qualities: competence (1rank), benevolence; (2 rank), empathic (3 rank), ethics (4 rank), correctness (5 rank), experience (6 rank), sensitivity (7 rank), tact (8 rank), self-control (9 rank), respect for personality (10 rank). According to these estimates, the top ten priorities for a modern psychologist include those that characterize the style of his/her professional communication (benevolence, empathy, ethics, correctness, sensitivity, tact, respect for the individual) and professionalism (competence, experience).
According to the clients, the top ten of the least significant qualities for professional psychologists include the ability to innovate (50 rank), independence (49 rank), autonomy (48 rank), diligence (47 rank), self-determination (46 rank), orientation on achievements (45th rank), initiative (44th grade), accuracy (43rd rank), dynamism (42nd rank), cognitive complexity of perception (41nd rank).
Consequently, from the perspective of the clients, the personality structure of a modern psychologist includes the qualities that characterize his/her professionalism and style of interaction with clients. To a lesser extent, it contains the qualities that characterize a psychologist as being able to cope with difficulties on his/her own and achieve professional success in uncertain, rapidly changing situations. Clients do not see a sufficiently developed ability to innovate, autonomy and initiative, or orientation towards achievement in the representatives of this profession. They, in clients’ opinion, have difficulty with self-determination and dynamic behavior.
The much less structured personality of a psychologist is represented in the estimates of persons not related to psychological practice (non-professionals).
The built-up graphic tree allows to single out the following groups of qualities that are relatively close in estimates:
- tact (40), dynamism (6), delicacy (5), benevolence (8), spirituality (9), resilience (10), experience (25);
- initiative (11), culture (12) and diligence (13), correctness (18) and creativity (19), efficiency (50), ethics (49) and cognitive complexity of perception (14);
- respect for the person (43), empathy (47), reflexivity (32) and adaptability (2).
The analysis of the obtained distribution demonstrates that the subjects who do not have the experience of directly receiving professional help from a psychologist build a rather chaotic, weakly structured image of his/her personality.
However, you can find some stereotypical positions. For example, the experience of a psychologist is connected with his/her tactfulness, delicacy, and benevolence; culture - with correctness, creativity, ethics; respect for the individual - with empathy and reflexivity.
Organizing the list, obtained from the selection and as a result of the ranking distribution, has demonstrated that the top ten most important professionally significant psychologist qualities includes: benevolence (1 rank), correctness (2 rank), responsibility (3 rank), tact (4 rank ), sensitivity (5 rank), empathy (6 rank), respect for the individual (7 rank), ethics (8 rank), self-control (9 rank), mental stability (10 rank). First of all, persons who have a mediated understanding of the psychologist's activity have assigned high ranks to the qualities that characterize the style of psychologist’s interaction with people (benevolence, correctness, tact, empathy, respectful attitude to the individual, self-control and emotional stability). There were important qualities in their ideas which characterize the general attitude of the psychologist to his/her work (responsibility, sensitivity, ethics). These positions are quite traditional, as can characterize the best representatives of all professions of the type “person - person”.
The minimal significance of qualities for the psychologist personality in the considered selection was attributed to the following qualities: ability to innovate (50 rank), enterprise (49 rank), autonomy (48 rank), initiative (47 rank), independence (46 rank), self-actualization (45 rank), success (44 rank), tolerance for uncertainty (43 rank), mobility (42 rank), focus on achievement (41 rank). The structure of the obtained "ten" includes qualities that can be reduced to the ability to independently achieve success in professional activities. These qualities, in their opinion, have been developed in them to a minimum degree and cannot be a part of the priority professional and personal qualities of the profession representatives.
Comparison of the estimated distributions of the psychologist's professional and personal qualities in three selections using the nonparametric χ2 criterion showed that they differ in pairs from each other at a statistically reliable level.
In general, assessments of the psychologist's professional and personal qualities importance differ radically depending on who does them — professional psychologists themselves, their clients, or people who have not had any direct professional psychologists experience.
The carried out research allows to conclude the following:
- modern ideas about the professional and personal qualities of a psychologist are characterized by considerable variability;
- the less the subject is connected with the profession of a psychologist, the less his/her ideas about professional and personal qualities are structured;
- the most multiaspect structure of the psychologist professional qualities is built up by testees - psychologists, i.e. persons who know the profession "from inside"; the least developed psychologist personality structure is built up by people who have no experience of receiving help from him/her;
- professional psychologists denote meaningful qualities of their profession by those that provide the adequacy of the results of activities, the predictability of its implementation, success in new situations, the dynamism and customer-centeredness of the profession;
- for psychologists, the most significant personality qualities of their colleagues are those that indicate their high professional qualification;
- according to psychologists, the great freedom of their professional activity does not lead to an increase in the creativity of their profession representatives;
- the basis of the psychologist personality for their clients is formed the connection between the reliability of the psychologist activities and observation;
- for the clients, the most important qualities of the psychologist are those that characterize his/her professional communication style and professionalism; the least important qualities are those that characterize his/her ability to cope with difficulties in changing situations;
- persons who have never received help from a psychologist single out the qualities that characterize the style of interaction of the psychologist with other people and his/her attitude to his work as the most significant; the least significant for them are those that allow to achieve success in independent professional activity.
The indicated features of the ideas about the professional and personal qualities of a psychologist testify that his/her image keep remaining poorly formulated at the level of everyday consciousness. This leads to the fact that different groups, differing, for example, in the nature of the experience of interaction with a professional psychologist, have their own portrait of his/her personality. The most multidimensional and more clearly structured psychological portrait of a psychologist is formed in subjects involved in the scope of the relevant professional activity; the least detailed is characterized for individuals who have never received professional help from a psychologist. Having significant differences in the obtained professional portraits of psychologists, they are, with considerable probability, present qualities that make up the professionalism of the psychologist and his/her ability to make effective psychological contact with any client. A common feature of all the studied groups is the ability to innovate. We have to identify the weak development of this quality in the personality structure of a professional psychologist.
To sum up, we recognize that the practical request in the professional-personal qualities of a psychologist is characterized by considerable variability. Obviously, it is required to create a positive image of a psychologist among different groups of population. It should also be focused the attention of researchers on the development of those qualities of a psychologist which have not gained significant rank weight among testees, but which allow to achieve greater professional success.
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29 March 2019
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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
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Shevkieva, B., Bembeyeva, N. A., Bovaeva, A. V., & Uvarova, G. N. (2019). The Profession Of Psychologist In The Coordinates Of A Modern Social Demand. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 812-820). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.93