Myths About the EPPP

Maybe you’ve heard things about the EPPP keep you from taking the next step towards licensure. But, are you correct about what you believe about the EPPP?

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) collected common myths about the EPPP and countered with the truth in an article called “EPPP Myths versus Reality.” We have addressed some of those myths below and included how the Taylor Study Method can help you prepare to pass the exam.

Myth:

I am less likely to pass the EPPP if I receive a hard version of the exam.

Truth:

It is true that versions of the EPPP vary in difficulty. But the difficulty of the exam you receive is considered in how the exam is scored.  What that means is that each version’s passing score is equated to consistently test your level of knowledge. As the ASPPB puts it: “Practically speaking, this means that the “harder” forms require fewer correct answers to pass and “easy” forms require more.”

Myth:

Most people will fail the EPPP.

Truth:

Your chances of passing the EPPP are extremely high if you study with TSM. In fact, we are so confident that our program will make you successful that we bargain your purchase on it.

Myth:

The exam contains trick questions.

Truth:

Some questions might have more than one answer that seems somewhat correct. The point of this type of question is not to trick you, but to see if you understand why the correct answer is, indeed, correct. In addition, the EPPP questions have gone through review workshops to ensure they meet the specific criteria set by the ASPPB.

Whether you once believed these myths to be true or you are uncertain you would be able to pass the EPPP, we believe you can do it. The dream is yours, and the reality can be yours too.

 

Further Reading

 

 

Digital Distractions: Staying focused in an increasingly distracting world

I know I’m guilty. I see my phone light up or hear a buzz, and in an instant, I’m pulled out of whatever I am doing, no matter how deep into the task I may be. Distractions are all around us and avoiding them is next to impossible. After all, that phone buzz might be something trivial like an Instagram notification, or it could be an email from a professor with vital information about an assignment—I might as well check to be sure. And just like that, I’m lost in all the notifications and Buzzfeed quizzes that come my way. Without even knowing it, an entire hour can be wasted.

I know I’m not alone, as has been confirmed by several surveys [1, 2, 3]. One study found as many as 97% of students found themselves distracted by their phones or other forms of technology [2].

Even though there seem to be several detrimental aspects to technology, it is simply not feasible that we entirely do away with technology. We seem to be faced with a double-edged sword. On one hand, our entire culture is entirely enmeshed with technology, with the academic sector seeming to be some of the deepest involved [4]. Because our educational system is so deeply involved with technology to the point of dependence, doing away with technology is simply not a practical goal.  Since we as students and budding professionals are required to be electronically connected, how can we make sure that we are focused on the task at hand, rather than the latest tweet?

The first tip to ensure that you are staying on task is to keep your goals in mind [5]. A good way to do this is to lay out a “to-do” list and prioritize what needs to be done first [6]. This allows for a second, yet integrally intertwined, tip—focus on only a few most important goals, rather than an entire list [5]. This allows you to keep a visual reminder of your task in front of you, as a sort of prompt to stay on topic. Keeping the list close also allows you to write down things you might be worried you will forget if you don’t attend to them right away. You are then able to stay on task better as you won’t need to run off on the occasional rabbit trail until one task is entirely accomplished [5].

By keeping fewer and the most important goals in mind, you are actually allowing yourself better focus [5]. Studies have shown that human working memory, the part of your mind that holds the tasks at hand, can only hold a maximum of about 3-5 items, give or take two items [7]. Because our minds can only hold such a finite number of meaningful trains of thought or tasks, it is important to be judicious about these slots [7]. As mentioned before, this gives you more working memory to devote to the task at hand, rather than the infinite number of other things vying for our attention [7].

Even with meticulously prioritized to-do lists, the temptation of social media still calls out. No matter how intently you intend on focusing, you are still human—breaks are required. This leads into the next tip: set predetermined breaks for yourself [8]. Our friends in behavioral science have helped to demonstrate that when we have a reward set out for us, we are more likely to keep working hard for that reward [9]. Moreover, you might be less tempted by that Facebook notification if you know that you will get to check on it in the next 50 minutes [8].

Another benefit of the pre-planned study break is the ability to return to your work refreshed and ready to go [10].  However, one article notes that only social media or internet-based breaks may not be enough to allow you to return to your studies energized [8]. Instead, the authors suggest more physically engaging activities, such as taking a walk outside (not just a couple laps around the library), organizing the stuff piling up around you, taking a shower, or even just chatting with a friend about something unrelated [8]. All of these options allow you a short reprieve from the studying that lies ahead and allows you to escape the computer screen for a bit [8].

Even with a study break and the most organized list possible, I will find that my mind wanders onto other things. Controlling “internal distractions” is also necessary to make the most of your study time [5]. These internal distractions can be defined as any internal stimuli (like thoughts, memories, or even conflicts) that act as diversions or aberrations from the task at hand [10]. These internal distractions can be taken care of through a variety of ways. The list to leave any pressing thoughts that pop up, sometimes referred to as a “parking lot”, is one way that you may already be employing [11]. Perhaps in order to manage these internal distractions, you need to have something to drown out your own thoughts—like background noise or music (both Spotify and YouTube have excellent playlists of focusing music) [12].  Offering strategies on how to handle these internal stimuli is even more subjective than these other general focus tips. In order to find what will work the best for you in terms of controlling internal distractions [12], you may need to spend some time consciously getting to know yourself and your study habits first.

Sometimes outside of regulating ourselves, we still need an external supervisor. Thankfully, some application developers have us in mind [11]. There have been several (free!) apps and extensions developed to help people like me (and a good proportion of the population) study more effectively by removing the temptations of social media [11]. These applications and extensions typically work in similar ways; by disabling access to whatever websites that you need “taken away” so that you can work [11]. Macintosh users can try the app “SelfControl” [11], and people using Google Chrome can also install the extensions “StayFocusd” or “I-Am-Studying” [11].

The demands on students seem to be greater now than they have been before, simply because we are living in the age of information. The need to be connected is ubiquitous. However, the same method through which we access so much information can also serve as a massive distraction. Implementing these focusing strategies can help you take more advantage of all of the data at your disposal while better blocking out the digital distractions!

Now, that’s enough time perusing a blog—get back to studying!

Motivation vs. Expectation: How to reward yourself for going beyond the minimum?

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

How is your self-discipline with work? Do you put off your therapy notes until minutes before they are due? Are you a procrastinator that uses pressure as motivation? Do you get frustrated with yourself because you are doing the minimal to get by?

Regardless of what inspires you or how you stay focused be sure that you are always reaching beyond the minimum of what is expected. There are many benefits to being motivated to accomplish your goals or tasks. Whether it’s the sense of accomplishment, marking off your to-do list, or the potential that your employer will recognize how hard you have worked.

Rewarding yourself for staying motivated and exceeding expectations is a great way to keep the cycle going. Here are a few tips that will help you along the way.

What does it mean to you?

Taking time to ask yourself how you benefit from exceeding expectations is one way to stay motivated. For example, volunteering to take on a new task at work will allow you the opportunity to show others how dedicated you are to your job. You are willing to take on extra work to help the team. Whether it’s planning the next treatment team meeting or organizing a team building activity you can make a difference.

What reward would matter most to you?

Everyone’s idea of a reward is different. One person may buy themselves something small, and others may reward themselves with something that isn’t physical. For example, if you had a goal and exceeded it, you may want to plan to take a day off from work so you can enjoy yourself. Having this to look forward to can help keep you motivated to continue to exceed your expectations of yourself.

What have you been able to accomplish so far?

The quickest way to boost your confidence and motivation is to look back at what you have been able to accomplish up until now. You need extra inspiration to go further. Making a list of what you are proud of accomplishing is a great start. It doesn’t matter how small or trivial it may seem, give yourself credit for it. Use this list as a refresher when your motivation begins to decrease.

You want to exceed your expectation because it will benefit you. It may feel at times like you are doing it only for your job or another person, but you will be the one to reap the benefits. Find what motivates you, especially on tough days and keep at it. Your hard work will pay off.

Reasons why you need to stop studying 3 days before your test

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

Are you the person that is walks into the exam reading the study guide? Do you feel that if you don’t look over your note cards one last time that you will fail the test? Many people cram everything they can into the last moment before entering the exam room. If you think you are going to retain the last bit of information, you are mistaken.

What would happen if you stopped studying three days before your exam? If you are gasping in horror, take a moment to consider the following reasons why you need to move your study material to the side a few days before your exam.

 

You have been preparing for months

You didn’t start studying yesterday. Your preparation began months ago, and you followed a study plan. If you wonder, “Did I study enough?” you are normal. This exam has a lot of weight on your career, but remember that you started prepping well in advance.

You have used a proven study program and answered exam questions. If you continue to review until the last few days, you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and forgetting what you have learned. Let it go and relax. Part of your plan was to practice self-care three days before the exam. This means that you will allow yourself to watch TV, read a book, visit with friends, or get outside.

Focus on sleeping, eating, and deep breathing

The last three days before your exam need to be spent recuperating and resting. This doesn’t mean you can’t review a few note cards. Your body and mind need to relax so that you can retrieve the information.

Try practicing mindfulness techniques to help you relax and focus on the moment, especially when you begin to feel nervous. Practice deep breathing exercises to help relieve any anxiety that you may be experiencing. Make sure that you eat a balanced meal that isn’t full of carbohydrates. Doing this three days before your test will help you function at your best.

You don’t want to create more anxiety

You are feeling anxious enough. If you study until your exam date, you will more than likely increase your stress. You want your hard work to pay off. Be sure to use the last few days to rest and relax so you can recall all of the information you learned.

A few days before the exam you will experience a spike in stress hormones. This is to be expected. This is further proof of why you need to focus on removing stress.

Your exam date is just around the corner. You have planned, studied, and now it’s time to take a deep breath. Since you used a study plan and kept up with your material, you are as prepared as you can be. Remember to use your mindfulness and breathing techniques throughout the exam. You can do this!

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Stay Focused When Summer Fun is Calling

3 Ways to Stay Focused When Summer Fun is Calling

Summer is in full swing. Between beating the heat poolside, hosting barbecues, and attending weddings, it can be difficult to focus on EPPP exam prep. Where do you find the time to study and fit in the fun?

The key to studying successfully during summertime is balance. It is important to manage your time in a way that allows you to study effectively and not miss out on the fun.

Here are 3 ways to stay focused on exam prep in the midst of summertime.

  1. Set a Schedule

With study sessions, consistency is better than perfection. It is more important to show up and learn regularly than it is to power through miscellaneous hours of undirected study. So, set a schedule and stick to it!

When creating a study schedule, be realistic about what you can accomplish and when. For example, if your friends always go to the downtown market on Saturday mornings, leave that chunk of time open. This way, you won’t risk bailing on important study time and you will have a needed break with friends.

Having a consistent study schedule will allow you to focus on the material you are learning instead of focusing on arranging your time each day. It will also allow you to fully invest in whatever you are doing. For example, during your planned morning at the Saturday market, you can relax instead of worry about whether you should be studying.

  1. Take breaks

It can be easy to justify skipping breaks for the sake of additional study time. However, breaks are vital to memory and retention. Much like how your stomach needs time to digest, break down, and store food, your brain needs time to process what you’re putting into it. So, when creating your study schedule, incorporate consistent breaks.

Depending on how long you spent studying, breaks should be about 10 – 30 minutes long (the longer the stretch of studying, the longer the break). They should be low-tech and, ideally in the summertime, spent outside. Incorporate exercise to get oxygen flowing through your brain. And be sure to take breaks when you have them planned even if you don’t feel like it in the moment so that you maintain endurance throughout your study session.

  1. Have fun

Summer activities do not have to come at the cost of studying and vice versa. When you create your study schedule, think of those barbecues, weddings, and weekend getaways that you absolutely don’t want to miss and plan your study dates around them. Choose the events that are the most important to you and adjust your study sessions accordingly. And then, when you’re at the event, don’t think about studying and allow yourself to enjoy summer.

Of course, EPPP exam prep will come with some sacrifices. There will be a few summer activities that you might have to miss out on. Just remember that exam prep is only a season and will not last forever. When you pass, it will all be worth it!

Further Reading

Seasonal Study Habits: How weather affects our productivity

5 Tips to Survive Wedding Season With EPPP Test Prep 

How to Overcome Temptation and Achieve Discipline for EPPP Success 

The Do’s and Don’ts of the EPPP Study Break 

The power of self-talk in exam prep

Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST

You already know how powerful self-talk is because you encourage your clients to utilize this technique. If you haven’t used self-talk as a technique to help you prepare for your exam, then you are missing out on a great tool. Your ability to use affirmations to increase your confidence in your test-taking ability can be just as powerful as the knowledge you have for the exam. Here are a few tips on harnessing the power of self-talk.

Choose 1-2 affirmations that you can easily remember

Whether it’s your favorite quote or a motivational sentence choose a few that are easy to remember. Make this affirmation a part of your daily life by saying it out load several times a day.

Write down the affirmation as a visual reminder

Your brain is full of important exam material so utilize the power of written word by writing down your favorite affirmation. Place it on your computer screen, mirror, or on the dashboard of your car. Let this affirmation ground you and be a constant reminder that you will make it through your exam.

Schedule alerts in your phone

You have every other part of your life scheduled so why not include a daily reminder of your affirmation. This will help you develop the habit of remembering to practice positive self-talk.

Record your affirmations as an audio reminder

Everyone learns differently either through visual, auditory or hands-on experience. Try using the voice memo on your phone to record your favorite affirmations. This will help when you start to feel anxious, all you have to do is play the recording, and you have an instant reminder. Listening to this recording on your way to the exam will also keep it fresh in your memory.

Studying the relevant material is only half the battle of acing your exam. Don’t let your negative self-talk or lack of confidence keep you from doing your best. If self-talk is powerful for your clients, then it can be just as amazing for you. Remember to keep your head up, identify your affirmations, and start practicing them daily.

Why Everyone Studying for the EPPP Should Practice Anxiety Relief Strategies

Why Everyone Studying for the EPPP Should Practice Anxiety Relief Strategies

While studying for the EPPP, staying healthy is vital to your success on the exam let alone your overall wellbeing. Chronic stress and anxiety can negatively affect your health by “causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep” per the Association of Depression and Anxiety of America (ADAA).

Because caffeine is on the rise, sleep quality decreases, and stress increases during EPPP prep, those preparing for the EPPP are more susceptible to anxiety even if they do not already consider themselves anxious.

In short, anxiety is a mental health state which generally causes fear, worry, or tension. It has several triggers, per healthline.com, which are likely familiar to you if you’re studying for the EPPP.

 Anxiety triggers

  • Stress

Stress, per the ADAA, “is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” This is one anxiety trigger you’re likely experiencing in your EPPP preparation, especially if your test date is approaching.

  • Caffeine

When preparing for an important exam, such as the EPPP, it’s common to drink an extra cup of coffee or two for those early morning and late night study sessions. While caffeine is okay in moderation, it can lead to anxiety.

  • Skipping Meals

When you’re caught up in studying, it can be easy to pack study snacks and forget the meals that keep you energized and healthy. Skipping meals can make you more susceptible to anxiety.

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing anxiety?

Symptoms

 Keep an eye out for these symptoms per healthline.org:

  • Nervousness or tension
  • Feelings of dread or panic
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Increased sweating
  • Twitching muscles
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty concentration on something other than what you’re worried about
  • Sleeplessness

If you experience any of the above symptoms, there is a way to manage the anxiety you might be experiencing.

How to manage

 Per the ADAA  you can manage anxiety in the following ways:

  • Take a break. Step away from your EPPP studies and allow your brain to rest by practicing relaxation techniques, mediating, taking a bath, or exercising.
  • Stay healthy. The trifecta to maintain good health is eating well-balanced meals, exercising, and sleeping adequately each night.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • When you feel panic, take deep breaths. It can even help to count slowly to ten and repeat as needed.
  • Laughter is indeed a great medicine. It releases endorphins and can ease pain.
  • Stay positive. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones can literally detoxify your brain. 
  • Ask for help. Tell your close friends and family how you’re feeling and let them know how they can help you. If your anxiety is persistent, seek professional help.

Ultimately, preparing for the EPPP can be an anxiety trigger for some. Therefore, it’s important to know how you might be triggered, what the symptoms are, and how to manage.

Further Reading

Caffeine, Alcohol and Insomnia on the Rise During EPPP Exam Prep 

Brain Food: Holiday Treats to Boost Your EPPP Success

The Do’s and Don’ts of the EPPP Study Break

Use Gratitude to Detoxify Your Brain

EPPP Anxiety Part 1: Anxiety and Your Brain

 

 

 

Boost Memory Brain Fitness

Boost Your Ability to Memorize EPPP Material

You’ve probably heard the phrase “the mind is the first to go.” It’s not a false statement, but it isn’t completely true either. Over time, memory and retention can decrease if we do not maintain brain fitness just like our muscle tone will decrease if we do not continue exercising. So, it is true that your ability to memorize can dwindle with age. But it is also true that there is something you can do about it. Brain fitness will help you memorize EPPP material and keep you sharp as you age.

Brain fitness is multifaceted. It consists of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and healthy eating habits as well as actively exercising your brain. Boost your ability to memorize EPPP material and keep your brain sharp through the years in five practical ways.

  1. Brain work-outs

Check out “10 Real-World Brain Exercises That Actually Work.”  They include testing your retention, learning something new, and stimulating multiple senses at once. These exercises can sharpen your memory and ultimately help you study effectively for the EPPP.

  1. Health

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising, sleeping adequately each night, and eating healthy. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain and stimulates neuronal connections, therefore increasing your rate of retention. Sleeping enough  each night gives your brain the chance to store new information and be alert the next day. While certain foods are especially good for your brain, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet keeps your body and brain working optimally.

  1. Socialization

We, as human beings, have a need for connection with other people. Per Helpguide.org

“Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise.” So, go hang out with friends or volunteer for an organization that means something to you. Whatever you do, avoid isolation especially in the EPPP study process.

  1. Stress management

Stress is the enemy of brain fitness. Knowing how your body reacts to stress, and what triggers stress for you, will help you manage it. Learn the stress relief strategies that work best for you and practice them often during EPPP prep.

  1. Addressing health concerns

Don’t ignore your body when it is telling you that something is off. Are you overtired even after a long night’s sleep? Are you experiencing a constant pain? Whatever it may be, don’t let it go unsolved. Not only will solving the problem relieve you of the stress it causes, but a healthy body supports a healthy brain.

References:

How to Improve Your Memory: Tips and Exercises to Sharpen Your Mind and Boost Brainpower. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/how-to-improve-your-memory.htm

Melone, L. (2015, April 16). 10 Brain Exercises That Boost Memory. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx

Further Reading

Effective Communication

Happy June, loyal readers! Not only is June the month that it really starts to feel like summer, but June is also Effective Communication Month [1]. In order to start off the month right, I thought we could explore a little more as to why effective communication is so important in a field like ours.

First, let us talk about what communication really is. According to one publication out of Columbia University, communication is a task which requires at least two active participants [2] (unless we’re caught talking to ourselves, but that’s something different entirely). In the use of spoken language as our primary form of communication, we have been able to harness an incredible amount of information that can be transferred in an infinite number of unique ways [2].

Because we have just so many different combinations of words that can mean so many different things, communication can get tricky. Not only do we have an incredible vocabulary with which to play, we also have an ever-increasing list of ways to implement this communication—face to face, phone call, text messages, emails, social media, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, as psychological professionals, it is necessary that we have a handle on our own communication styles and any idiosyncrasies that may exist.

Where can communication go wrong?

Well, there are two major phases to communication: when the message is “encoded” and when it is “interpreted”. The first of these issues we’re going to hit on is when something isn’t “encoded” properly. Encoding is just a fancy way to say that you’re putting your abstract thoughts into a more concrete form—words. There are several different ways that things can be verbally (and nonverbally) encoded [4]. For example, let us say you were having a spectacular day. You could verbally encode this by telling your best friend “wow, I just had a great day today!” or “everything just went my way today!”. It could be nonverbally encoded through your body language, such as a big smile. Think about how you might encode messages in your daily life—you are hungry, so you suggest to your coworker that you all go out to grab a bite to eat; you don’t like someone that you went out on a first date with, so you tell them that it simply is not working out.

Since this is the first major phase, this is also the first major phase where communication can go wrong. The way that you put a message into words or nonverbal cues could be incorrect. For instance, simply selecting the wrong word by mistake can drastically change the meaning of your message. Even mispronouncing a word can muddle the message that you are trying to send.

The second major phase of communication is interpretation [4]. This comes when the receiver of your message takes the information that you encoded with words and works out their own meaning behind the message [4]. Continuing the first example that was provided above, when your best friend hears the words “wow, I just had a really great day today!”, they’re most likely going to understand that “Lizzy feels as though she had a good day today”. From there, the receiver or interpreter can attach other meanings that they are able to glean from your message, such as “Lizzy is in a good mood” or “something exciting must have happened at work today”. This process is the second half of all encoding processes, so you can understand how this might help us to draw other conclusions about the person with whom we are engaged.

Naturally, this phase of communication can create confusion as well. The interpreter is using the information that they already know about the speaker and the information being sent through body language and verbal language to reassemble the message that the speaker is trying to send. This message is then assigned meaning and the interpreter can draw conclusions from there. These meanings and conclusions that we assign to the partner in communication may or may not be correct. It is important to take each of these assumptions with a grain of salt, as the encoder of these messages might not be trying to communicate those deeper meanings that we are assigning.

Communication in a helping profession

According to one psychologist, helping professions are based almost entirely off our ability to communicate [4]. T. L. Thompson describes our ability to communicate with our clients and our patients as an “invisible helping hand” [5]. At this point in our careers, I’m sure you have already noticed your powers of persuasion and your ability to get your point across. Kottler suggested that some of these innate qualities may have subconsciously drove us into these professions [4]. On the contrary, it is possible that through our rigorous training we have developed these skills.

Whatever the case may be, it stands that we have these skills, and we need to be able to utilize them to the best of our ability in order to be successful with our patients. Kottler details why it is so important for us to have good communication skills—it is necessary not only to set a good model for our clients, but also to be able to employ our treatment strategies. Most (if not all) psychological approaches are based around communication and the use of words. One study found that most frequently in therapeutic dyads, the professional was the one at fault for the issues in communication [5]. With the blame for communication difficulties falling more frequently on the professional, it should only serve to further our desire to become better communicators for the sake of our clients.

What can we do?

As you can start to see, having a conversation or sending an email involves much more than just words.  Now that we know a little more about the actual message and how it can get misinterpreted, we can hopefully better address ways in which our communication can be improved.

Psychology Today published an article delineating three major, yet simple, methods that can be used to improve communication [6]. The first suggestion was to “be consistent” [6]. Being able to have messages that make sense together is extremely important for communicating not only with our clients but also with our peers and advisors. If we are talking in circles, or flipping back and forth between one thing and another, we are simply going to confuse our interpreter. Especially when working with clients, it is important to keep your message consistent. No one wants a therapist who can’t decide for themselves what should be done.

The second point to be an effective communicator was to keep the message clear [6]. In order to be taken seriously by our advisors, preceptors, professors, etc. we do not need to impress them with our word-of-the-day calendar. Rather, it is better that we should be straightforward and as understandable as possible when presenting an issue or any other message. With our clients as well keeping our message short and to the point is essential. They are not there to be impressed with our way with words. Instead, they are in our office to get the information they need and to gain insight on difficult life issues. They need our help, not our vocabulary.

Finally, Psychology Today suggested that being courteous in our words is the final step to improving our communication. Remember how easy it was for a message to be misinterpreted either through a simple issue in encoding or an issue with interpretation? It would be extremely easy for a client who is already depressed to interpret your lower affect one day as an insult or confirmation that you do not like them. Being sure that your demeanor is warm, and your message is positive and well-mannered is crucial [6].

With whom should I focus my communication skills?

So, to whom do we apply these fancy new communication techniques? Well, as a budding psychological professional, there are a few people who should be prioritized fairly high on that list.

Naturally, your clients should be the highest on this list. In the helping professions [5], such as our own, communication is often the key intervention strategy for our clients. Making sure that we are encoding our messages a bit more carefully, and that we are leaving little room for error in interpretation, as well as employing the “Three Cs” described above can help establish healthy communication[6] . Feeling as if the therapy room is an open place and is safe for sharing and communicating can help the client open up a bit more to you.

Communication between you as a student and your professors is vital [7]. In a teacher-learner dyad, being able to communicate is of utmost importance. Letting the professor know if what they are trying to teach is getting through can help the professor learn how to better convey the information. It can also help you as the student to btter gather the information that the professor is trying to pass along. Having open communication between professors also helps to build trusting relationships which can help you out later. Being able to rely on older professionals for guidance and for references can help you out as you progress through your career.

In the same vein, it is also important to have a solid communication with your internship directors, preceptors, or other training personnel [7]. In a workplace scenario, where you are still learning, perhaps courteousness is the most important of the “Three Cs” that were described above [6]. Being able to communicate your needs, while still remaining knowledgeable and conveying respect to those in authority is important [6].

Being able to keep in touch with your peers and cohort is also critical. Being able to build these connections that you will have for the rest of your professional career can only serve to benefit you. Opening up communication within your peers and cohort helps to create a solids support network of others going through similar situations and struggles as you. That can help you to find support or discuss coping methods that have worked for you and that have worked for others. Besides a support network, open communication within your peer group can help in your professional career when you are looking for referral sources, or when you need someone to whom you can refer out. Having these peers available as consults, referrals, and just good friends is all hinged on good communication.

Finally, keeping in touch with your friends and family (especially while you’re going through graduate school) is necessary. Even though it may feel as though you are drowning maintaining all these new professional relationships with clear and concise communication, it is important not to neglect your personal relationships. As one of my advisors frequently reminds me, just because you’re going through graduate school doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Make time to see your friends and family and make sure that they are receiving the message that you care about them and that they are a priority. You want to make sure that at the end of your time in graduate school, you have someone to celebrate with.

References

  1. Communications, V. (2014). June is Effective Communications Month. Retrieved from https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/06/05/june-effective-communications-month/
  2. Krauss, R. M. (2002). The psychology of verbal communication. International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. London: Elsevier, 16161-16165.
  3. Davis, M. H., & Johnsrude, I. S. (2003). Hierarchical processing in spoken language comprehension. Journal of Neuroscience23(8), 3423-3431.
  4. Kottler, J. (2017). On being a therapist. Oxford University Press.
  5. Thompson, T. L. (1984). The invisible helping hand: The role of communication in the health and social service professions. Communication Quarterly32(2), 148-163.
  6. Bourg Carter, S. (2013). The 3 C’s of Effective Communication. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201304/the-3-cs-effective-communication
  7. Skillful Communication in the Workplace – Smart Psychology. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.smartpsychology.ie/skillful-communication-in-the-workplace/

Why Teaching EPPP Prep Will Help You Pass  

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you should be teaching EPPP exam prep:

  1. Do you want to study effectively?
  2. Are you bored of the way you are currently studying?
  3. Are you an expert at your EPPP material?

The truth is, you don’t have to be an expert at EPPP preparation material to teach it. In fact, teaching is an effective way of learning even when you’re not the best at the subject yourself.

Here are three reasons why teaching should be a part of your EPPP prep.

  1. Teach to learn

When you know that you’ll be teaching information later, you are going to take in the information more carefully therefore increasing your retention of it. Then, when you do teach it, speaking and processing through the information out loud helps you understand the areas you are struggling. If you teach the information to a fellow exam candidate, perhaps both of you can help each other fill in your gaps of understanding.

Do you lack a study partner or someone to teach? Teaching is still effective if you don’t have an audience. Repeating things out loud in a way intended for teaching helps you process and learn the information in a different and effective way.

  1. Teach to shake things up

Exam preparation can get monotonous. Having a study schedule  with intentional break periods is vital. Even so, studying the same way every day can leave you bored and burned out. Increase your memory and retention by studying differently. Teaching what you learned in your last study session will help you see the material differently, making it stick; and making it a bit more interesting. Furthermore, you can feel less alone in the process of EPPP prep if you teach to a study partner.

  1. Teach to become an expert

You don’t have to be an expert on the material to teach it. In fact, teaching what you know can help you become an expert. “There’s always someone who doesn’t know as much as you”, as said by Belle Beth Cooper on “Life Hacker” website.

By teaching others who don’t know as much as you, you be seen as someone who knows a lot about what you’re teaching. Not only does teaching help you learn the material, it helps you gain credibility about the material as well.

Ultimately, whether you teach to an empty room, create lesson plans for yourself to do in future study sessions, or teach a study partner, teaching is an effective EPPP study strategy.

Further Reading