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What is a psychologist?

Vincent McDarby is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin. In this video he answers your questions about what a psychologist does, what to expect if you go to see one and confidentiality.

Transcript of what is a psychologist?

Hi my name is Vincent and I’m a psychologist.

Often a young person will get referred to myself because, as a result of having a particular injury or illness, they might not be feeling so well. They might be feeling a bit down or a bit anxious.

Who you are

So what’ll happen is, they come in to meet with myself and we’ll just basically sit down and have a chat. To find out first of all, just a bit about themselves, their illness or injury. Who they are, where they’re from, if they’re in school, if they’re working, what are their likes, what are their dislikes.

Your experience

Then we’ll look at their injury or illness and we’ll talk about what they were like before the illness or injury. What their illness or injury was and what their subjective experience was through the injury or illness, and how they’re feeling now.

Then we’ll look at where they feel they’re not coping or they’re not doing well. From there then we’ll set out a path for how we think is best to move forward.

Nervous

Most people coming to see a psychologist for the first time are a little bit nervous and a little bit anxious. I would say that it’s completely normal for you to be anxious. It’s a new situation, for someone who hasn’t seen a psychologist before and we’re all nervous about situations that are new.

I would say the best thing is to come in and talk. Once people come in and talk they actually find that, there was nothing to be scared of. Just the process of talking through something is beneficial.

Confidentiality

When I first meet young people I explain confidentiality. What somebody says to me is confidential. So it means that I don’t go telling their parents or I don’t go telling somebody else.

However there are what’s called ‘limits’ to confidentiality, and they’re basically to do with risk or hurt. That would mean that if someone disclosed something to me that would lead me to believe that somebody was going to get hurt, either they were going to get hurt, or somebody else was going to get hurt. In that case I’d say look, we might need to go and tell someone else, just to ensure that you or somebody else doesn’t get hurt.

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