How a Course in Psychology Can Support You When Volunteering

2 minute read

Psychology is quickly becoming one of the most widely taught subjects in the world and currently sits in the top 5 most popular degrees. Interestingly studying psychology goes well beyond its vocation, it’s also highly useful when applying for charity jobs and volunteering roles — and here’s why.  

In a nutshell, psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and cognition. Famous psychologists include Sigmund Freud and Martin Seligman, whose theories are still used today to understand criminal behaviour, mental health and other areas of positive psychology. Over the last 150 years, psychology has helped improve how we function as a modern society. So why is it so useful for volunteering and charity roles? 

Boost your empathy skills

Studying psychology teaches you how to be more empathetic towards others. This is especially important for volunteer roles as you will be working with people from various backgrounds, like those with disabilities or the homeless. 

On a more general level, you might also need to understand why people you’re working with are stressed or anxious, even if you consider yourself a rational person. Depending on your role, you will have to demonstrate an appropriate response that is encouraging, especially in times of distress. 

consider a career change

Learn about mental health

Studying psychology also enlightens you about mental health issues. In a lot of volunteering roles, you’re working with vulnerable persons such as those with eating disorders, autism or dementia.  

Understanding mental ill health means you’re more likely to be empathetic, but also know how to approach sensitive situations with more confidence. 

In fact, learning psychology gives you a better chance when applying for charity jobs in mental health care. If you’re someone who wants to become a counsellor or therapist, this knowledge (and voluntary experience) will kick-start your career. Why not take a look at some of the healthcare volunteering opportunities available on CharityJob 

Improve your communication skills

Another benefit of studying psychology is that you know how to predict people’s reactions and to act accordingly. For instance, if you are aware of the effects of depression on someone’s behaviour, you will be more in-tune with their triggers. 

Consider the benefit of understanding social cues: did you know that when someone’s arms are crossed it means they are closed off or bored? In fact, when people lean in towards you it means they are interested and more likely to trust you. Having this psychological knowledge under your belt is going to help you in the long run. 

Effective communication skills are also essential for charity job interviews. You need to be able to read the room, know what to say and what not to say 

empathy in workplace communication

Looks great on job applications 

Knowledge of psychology, be it via a degree or a course, will stand you in good stead both when applying for volunteer posts and paid positions in the charity sector. When an employer sees this subject on your application, it signifies: emotional agility, intelligence and strong interpersonal skills. All of which are top qualities required for many charity roles. 

Before you go

E-learning with expert psychologists in the field is the easiest way to gain knowledge. This is what will set you apart from the competition when it comes to applying for charity jobs. So why not start today? 

Naida Allen

Naida is a witty wordsmith with a love for writing and reading. She is a Content Writer and Social Media Executive at Tutor House — the top UK provider of online and in-person tuition. She specialises in topics relating to mental & physical wellbeing and career advice.

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