VIA Survey Results: My Top Traits and Qualities; will they impact my role as a psychologist?

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I have taken several of these personality assessments while in school, but I do not believe they associated them with the six-character strengths (Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Transcendence). I found it helpful to gain a good understanding of which characteristics I practiced more and which characteristics I am less likely to use. Having more or less of a trait does not constitute as a bad or good, it simply recognizes what experiences and perceptions make you unique. After completing the VIA, my results indicated my top three traits as (1) curiosity, (2) perspective, and (3) kindness. Both curiosity and perspective character traits were under the virtue of Wisdom, and kindness was under the virtue of Humanity.

The Wisdom and Humanity virtue go hand in hand. They describe how the traits within the virtues help me connect to something greater than myself. I do not believe there is anything more important than my impact on the world and other people. Interpersonal relationships are at the core of human needs, and I value living in a way that encourages others to be gentle and kind to themselves and others.

Top 3 Traits

1)    Curiosity:“taking an interest in ongoing experiences for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating, exploring and discovering.” [Wisdom]

The VIA offered a description of curiosity, and I believe I align well with the need to explore and discover. Often, I approach many experiences without a pre-biased opinion, so I can get the thrill of what the experiences bring to me. I get frustrated with myself if I can’t remove my pre-biased opinions, because often my own bias is wrong! I also have a desire to build continuous knowledge. I enjoy conversations that offer me new perspectives, and that piques my interest with new ideas. VIA also explains that the curious person enjoys new things. For example, I enjoy seeing new places and going on new adventures. I also enjoy meeting new people and taking a risk that will lead me to greater knowledge about myself and the world around me. My internal drive is through the lens of curiosity, so I usually feel engaged and interested. According to VIA, this curiosity is highly correlated to the satisfaction of life.  

2)    Perspective:“Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that makes sense to oneself/ others.” [Wisdom]

Having perspective is something I take for granted. It happens naturally, and until I got into the helping relations field, I figured everyone possessed this ability. Perspective means that I can focus on several facets of a situation at once. I am able to listen to others, think about life issues that connect, understand how to conduct myself, all while considering what the best options are.  It sounds like I can quickly create a word map in my mind. VIA shared that “perspective is distinct from intelligence but represents a high level of knowledge,” this makes sense to me. I can stay present in a conversation.  I can also focus my suggestions and questions in a way that connects to life as a whole as well as the individual. I like to share big-picture perspectives with others, and I think that impacts the company I keep. I tend to surround myself with people older than me and have been told I am wise for my age. 

3)    Kindness:“Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.” [Humanity]

This trait aligns well with a core practice of mine from a young age. I remember my mother and friends telling me that I was full of kindness. I never thought it was a difficult thing to have within a personality. However, as I got older, I realized kindness was dependent on how you were taught to be kind and how it intrinsically affected you.  I have a deep connection and concern for other people, but I do not consider myself an empath. I can focus on what they need and how I can be present for them.  I notice that I am not the person in need of kindness at the moment, and I prefer to focus on others. I get told that I am nurturing and have a warm energy (a beautiful compliment). I have noticed that due to my humanity and wisdom virtues, people often want to be near me, and I connect to others easily. 

Lowest 2 Traits

1)    Perseverance: “Finishing what one starts; persevering in the course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks.” [Courage]

I thought it was funny that perseverance was a low for me. I possess this trait, but my attitude associated with perseverance is not very pleasant. I get frustrated, bogged down, discouraged, and many other “negative” emotions. Despite my emotional combustion or internal emotional adversity during trying times, I come out with a completed goal. I believe what I am describing here is a key part of perseverance. I am not disciplined with schedules, and that may be why this was one of my lower traits. My Holland code equated to ASE (artistic, social, and enterprising), one thing I took away from this code was that an artistic person does not do well with prescribed schedules and they are often late to the first thing of the day. These two traits are juxtaposed, but I possess them both. 

2)    Self- Regulation:“Regulating what one feels and does being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions.” [Temperance]

Similar to the perseverance trait, I believe I am someone who can self-regulate and balance myself. However, just as VIA states, this practice of self-regulation can be depleting and draining. When I was answering the statements that pertained to self-regulation, I believe I was focusing on the attitudes and emotions that came with self-regulation. Self- regulation is a skill that must be practiced several times throughout a day, the more you practice it, the better you get at using it. I find that the moment I get home from a long day of self-regulating, I flop on the couch and give a big exhale. It is hard work upholding several relationships, encounters, and random experiences that make presenting to others so important. 

Connection to Psychology

All of these traits and core virtues are essential to who I am as a person and to who I am as a psychologist. I speak about the connection between the two often. Being a psychologist is drastically different from other professions. We genuinely have to embody both roles as who we are but know when to switch gears. Metaphorically speaking, which pair of glasses are you putting on?  I use the top three traits, courage, perspective, and kindness to approach how I will create change with my clients and also how I will influence the field. I love the path that I am on because I easily feel connected to what the primary mission of psychology is; to focus on the bigger picture and make attempts to improve the lives of all people and reduce human suffering. 

These traits I have identified are necessary for understanding how other people live in this world. My wisdom is a gift, and I can offer information to clients in a way that supports but also teaches. I am kind and nurturing, and the most vulnerable people require this form of kindness. My primary intent is to genuinely care about a person’s wellbeing. Within a therapeutic space I believe that is reassuring. I can increase buy-in and belief because I consider the person first and then consider all other facets of their world and how they make sense of it. I can perceive the bigger picture and can lead my questions in a way that helps the client reach this perspective on their own. My curiosity keeps me engaged, and in tune, and when I am stuck, I can ask questions to gather more insight. I believe that these traits are essential to be a psychologist.

With Intention.