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The principal goals of the career development are the selection of a particular career and choice of the appropriate education related to the vision of career. Throughout this process, a person identifies his or her interests, capabilities, and competencies to evaluate the extent of their matching with the professional opportunities and potential outcomes of training (Creed & Hughes, 2012, p. 147).
The strategic approach towards the achievement of both personal and professional goals helps to foresee and assess the undesired occasions, challenges, and negative results and makes everything possible for the success attainment. The strategic planning involves the skills of rational and critical thinking and makes a person learn to take the responsibility for his or her actions and decisions.
“The choice of an occupation is construed as an attempt to fulfill a desired way of life through one’s work” (Guthrie, Coate, & Schwoerer, 1998, p. 373). The choice of career depends on the person’s perceptions of self, personal values, skills, and abilities. It is possible to say that when an individual chooses to become a practitioner-scholar in the field of psychology, he or she is driven by the interest in the nature of the human mind, and the aspiration to help people is included in the set of his or her values.
The thirst for the explorations and research is the intrinsic feature of any practitioner-scholar in psychology. However, being at the very beginning of the path to the professional development, a young person needs to elaborate and design a strategy that would be usefully and effectively applied in practice and would lead to the fulfillment in the profession.
Strategy development is the efficient method of any goal achievement: personal, academic, or career. First of all, the long-term objectives must be formulated. The personal values and vision are very helpful in this regard because they let envisioning the ideal image of the desired position in the future with all the necessary qualities, capabilities, and strengths. Once the long-term goal is clear, it is important to detect the short-term objectives the achievement of which will lead to the main goal.
It is important to evaluate and analyze the external professional environment and identifies the potential obstacles or the sources of support for the career development path. Some time must be devoted to the evaluation of the personal weaknesses and competencies as well. A great amount of determination and motivation by values and vision combined with the analysis of internal and external advantages and disadvantages help to develop the behavior aimed at the achievement of success.
The field of psychology provides a lot of opportunities to grow and train oneself. A practitioner-scholar can find support in the professional knowledge of many scholars and scientists who described and shared their brilliant ideas in the articles, books, and other research papers.
A newcomer to the field can be motivated and encouraged by being involved in discussions and communication processes with the experienced colleagues who can provide guidance and indicate the gaps in knowledge and competence that could be improved. A graduate practitioner-scholar can be assisted by the professors and peers who feel equally passionate about psychology.
And he or she can easily retrieve all the important information about professional requirements, legal and ethical duties in “Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct” created by the specialists from American Psychological Organization (APA).
The constant investigation in psychology, studying, and evaluation of both over-past and up-to-date research are the factors that affect the personal level of commitment. The assessments of the short-term achievements and outcomes of the strategic plan application help to stay confident. The ability to manage the challenges and make the correction in the strategy timely increases its reliability.
The competencies introduced in the course are of great significance for the future career as practitioner-scholar. The creation of professional vision, development of the scholarly communication and critical thinking skills, the ethical and rational consumption of previous research, knowledge of and compliance with the standards of psychology practice lay the foundation for the enhancement of competence, professional credibility, and experience.
When a person can envision an ideal image of what he or she wants to become, it puts him or her at the advantageous point where the steps that should be taken on the way to accomplishment become clear. On the contrary, when there is no vision, there is also no plan and no strategy available. Therefore, for a graduate, it is extremely important to take some time to explore his or her own interests in psychology.
It is better of all, to learn to create visions and identify personal and professional values at the initial level of the career development because this skill will be of tremendous use in the future. Creation of vision and action plans play a significant role in research.
Researchers need to determine all the steps necessary for the investigation beforehand because it facilitates the work and saves time. For example, the scholars envision the potential results they want to gain and according to their presumptions the appropriate tools and methods of research are chosen. Learning how to create a vision and design the strategic plan is thus important for the practitioner-scholar career.
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The ability to communicate in a scholarly way determines how the other specialists regard you. A person’s image as a professional depends on the manner of communication to a large extent. Communication according to a scholarly fashion means the serious attitude and academic approach towards work.
It means that a psychologist shows respect to his or her colleagues, patients, and other people related to the profession. The communication in psychology is associated both with colloquial and written speech. The improvement of the communication skills must be one of the main concerns for those who want to become competent specialists.
The consumption of previous research must be appropriate and reasonable, especially in writing. When writing a research paper, the literature review can be considered a part of the work that provides the theoretical basis for the study conduction. However, the rationale is crucial. It is also important to comply with the APA formatting style rules to ensure all the ethical norms are followed.
Only the paper that is written in APA style can become a representative of the psychology discourse community (Madigan, Johnson, & Linton, 1995, p. 429). The involvement into the communication processes within the discourse is very important for the practitioner-scholar because it determines his or her perception of self in psychology as well as the perception of others.
The critical thinking skills play a significant role both in writing and counseling the patients. The application of rational thinking and evaluation helps to synthesize the main ideas and concepts from the previous research conducted by other scholars and integrate them into a new original work (Granello, 2001, p. 296). Critical thinking is crucial for the analytical work conduction, and, when talking about writing, it supports the creation of the valuable text.
Talking about work with the patients, the evaluation of specific individual circumstances and conditions, and their collation with the extensive theoretical knowledge leads to a right and timely diagnosis establishment. Without the ability to analyze the informational ground, a psychiatrist is incapable of provision the effective treatment for the people with conditions. Therefore, it is possible to say that critical thinking skill measures the psychiatrist’s success.
The knowledge of the professional standards and norms is an essential part of the high-level professionalism. The psychological standards include legal, ethical, financial, and other aspects. As in many other fields, the compliance with the standards in psychology demonstrates the specialist’s competence and liability.
Competencies and Requirements
The core competencies in practice of psychology are “scientific foundations of psychology and research, the ability to access, evaluate, and apply scientific knowledge;” the knowledge of ethical codes and legal requirements; “the ability to assess human characteristics, behaviors, and social/psychological contexts;” “professional development, involving critical thinking, interpersonal functioning, and self-assessment,” etc. (Rodolfa et al., 2014, p. 125).
For the practitioner-scholar, the competencies that require special attention are the effective decision-making and ability to provide the evidence-based. The nature of these skills is twofold: on the on hand, there is informational basis knowledge and, on the other hand, there is a capability of thinking critically and rationally.
The mentioned skills can be developed through the continuous studying of the theoretical materials and literature and through the practice of the learned information by analyzing the multiple hypothetical or actual case studies. Building a professional knowledge base and obtaining the sufficient experience takes time and strengths. However, if the work is being done with persistence and determination, it will not take too long for the positive results to show up.
Vision and Goals
The values and knowledge inherent for the practice of psychology along with “the functional competencies, including types of psychological services/activities engaged in by professional psychologists” constitute the set of competencies each practitioner-scholar needs to have for being regarded as a competent specialist (Rodolfa et al., 2014, p. 126).
For moving forward on the career development path, a practitioner-scholar needs to take into account many requirements: the laws related to psychology, ethical duties and dilemmas, development of various skills such as writing, research conduction, professional communication, critical thinking, etc.
When obtaining of independence and high level of competency in the practice of psychology can be regarded as a long-term goal, building of comprehensive knowledge regarding all the mentioned professional aspects and development of skills are the short-term objectives.
The theoretical information learned throughout the course and through the self-education is a basis for the further growth and development. For being able to contribute to psychology by publishing a research paper or by treating the clients effectively, one needs to keep up with the development of the field itself and keep the mind flexible.
The specific directions to follow include:
- the development of the writing skills and complete comprehension of APA style norms and rules of writing, practice of the adopted skills and knowledge, studying and analysis of the materials related to the subject;
- expansion of knowledge regarding the behavioral problems in human, behavioural therapy, and the investigation of the literature related to the multiple issues connected with mental disorders and their impacts on individuals’ social performance and life;
- earning degree in the Capella program;
- investigation of the laws and ethical regulations related to the independent practice of psychology, and fulfilment of all the requirements necessary for the licence attaining; and
- participation in the additional training programs that would enable to obtain more experience and understanding of the practical and functional sides of profession.
The mentioned goals represent the milestones laid on the way towards the realization of the vision of the professional practitioner-scholar in psychology. The goals help to develop the core competencies, provide the efficient and client-oriented therapy, and conduct research that will be made according to the ethical and professional norms.
Creed, P., & Hughes, T. (2012). Career development strategies as moderators between career compromise and career outcomes in emerging adults. Journal of Career Development, 40(2), 146-163.
Granello, D. H. (2001). Promoting cognitive complexity in graduate written work: Using Bloom’s taxonomy as a pedagogical tool to improve literature reviews. Counselor Education & Supervision, 40(4), 292–307.
Guthrie, J., Coate, C. J., & Schwoerer, C. (1998). Career management strategies: The role of personality. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 13(5), 371 – 386.
Madigan, R., Johnson, S., & Linton, P. (1995). The language of psychology: APA style as epistemology. American Psychologist, 50(6), 428-436.
Rodolfa, E., Baker, J., DeMers, S., Hilson, A., Meck, D., Schaffer, J.,…Webb, C. (2014). Professional psychology competency initiatives: implications for training, regulation, and practice. South African Journal of Psychology, 44(2), 121-135.