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Why are Honorary Assistant Psychologist Roles Controversial?

This article has been adapted from episode 121 of The Aspiring psychologist Podcast. If you prefer you can listen here or watch here. 



Introduction: Hey there! Ever heard about those honorary assistant psychologist roles? You know, the ones where you're expected to work for free? Yeah, those. Turns out, they're not as rosy as they might seem. In this article, we're diving into the controversy surrounding these positions, shedding light on why they're raising eyebrows and why it's time for a change.


Getting to Know Honorary Assistant Psychologist Roles: Let's start with the basics. Honorary assistant psychologist roles are those gigs where you're supposed to help out qualified psychologists in clinics, research projects, or hospitals. Sounds cool, right? Well, here's the catch – they're unpaid. Yep, you heard that right.


Reason 1: Exploiting the Good Will: Imagine putting in hours of work, helping out with assessments, admin tasks, and whatnot, only to get zilch in return. That's the reality for many in these roles, and it's not cool. Whether it's in the NHS or private practice, expecting people to work for free is just plain wrong.


Reason 2: Not Everyone Can Afford It: Now, here's where things get even messier. These unpaid roles? They're not exactly accessible to everyone. If you can't afford to work for free, tough luck. It's a major barrier for folks from diverse backgrounds who might not have the means to take on unpaid gigs.


Reason 3: Left High and Dry: Oh, and let's not forget about the lack of supervision and development opportunities. Sure, you might be gaining some experience, but without proper support, it's like swimming in shark-infested waters without a life jacket.


Reason 4: Making Unpaid Work the Norm: Here's the thing – the more we accept unpaid roles as the norm, the harder it becomes to fight for fair compensation. It's like saying, "Hey, it's okay to take advantage of people's skills without paying them." Spoiler alert: it's not.


Reason 5: Ethical Quandaries: When you're working for free, ethical dilemmas tend to crop up. Confidentiality? Boundaries? Yeah, good luck navigating those without proper training and support.


Reason 6: Diversity Takes a Hit: Unpaid roles aren't doing any favours for diversity in the field. By favouring those who can afford to work for free, we're shutting the door on talented individuals from all walks of life.


Reason 7: Confidence Crisis: Lastly, let's talk about the toll these roles can take on your confidence. Working for free and feeling undervalued? It's a recipe for imposter syndrome and self-doubt.


Conclusion: Time for Change So, what's the bottom line? It's time to shake things up. Let's stop accepting unpaid work as the norm and start fighting for fair compensation, proper support, and equal opportunities for everyone in the field of psychology. After all, everyone deserves to be valued for their contributions, regardless of whether they're getting paid or not.


Check out my books for Aspiring Psychologists here: https://www.goodthinkingpsychology.co.uk/my-books
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