How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical psychology refers to a branch of psychology that deals with the diagnoses and treatment of mental disorders, abnormal dispositions, and psychiatric problems. It is a combination of psychological science and treatment procedures of critical and complex human problems. A clinical psychologist is the person who deals with the complete process of prevention, estimation, analysis, and healing of mental disorders.

The American psychologist Lightner Witmer was the first person who coined the term ‘clinical psychology’ in a paper written in 1907. Witmer defined the subject as a study carried through ‘observation or experimentation’. At present days, it is one of the most popular sub-branches in the psychology field.

A clinical psychologist must be a sound person who is able to think objectively and neutrally. S/he must be wise and prudent enough to sort out the problems of people who are going through difficult stages of their life and guide them to the right way, so that they can overcome their troubles.

What Does A Clinical Psychologist Do?

The main duty of such professionals is to reduce the distress and improve the psychological condition of patients. They have their own unique ways to find the causes of mental distress and apply the means to bring positive changes to the patients’ lives.

Clinical psychologists generally offer treatments for:

i. Schizophrenia
ii. Depression
iii. Neurological disorders
iv. Addictive behaviors
v. Personal, professional, or familial relationship problems
vi. Eating disorders
vii. Learning disabilities; and many more

They may adopt a number of different treatment approaches. However, most of them have to perform some typical tasks, such as:

1. Using psychometric tests, observation of behaviors, interviews, etc. to assess patients’ behavior, abilities, and needs.
2. Be creative to devise and monitor perfect programs for therapy and counseling in collaboration with colleagues.
3. Developing and weighing up the provision of service for patients.
4. Acting as counselors and supporting caregivers.
5. Carrying out practical research in order to add to the evidence base of practice in various settings of healthcare sectors.
6. More experienced professionals may keep detailed paperwork about patients in order to track their progress.

In order to handle complex problems of patients, They often work in multidisciplinary team alongside other professionals.

What it Takes to be a Clinical Psychologist?

It is a long process to become a clinical psychologist. In fact, no other sub-branch of psychology takes so much time to be completed as this one does. However, the profession is worthwhile for investing such long period because they are allowed to enjoy a lot of freedom in their career.

The educational requirements for becoming a clinical psychologist are quite painstaking. After earning a bachelor degree, most clinical psychologists have to spend four to six years in graduate school.

Two kinds of degrees are available in the field of clinical psychology – a Ph.D. and a Psy.D. A Ph.D. program is theoretical in nature and is centered on research. On the other hand, a Psy.D. program is more pragmatic in nature and is practice-oriented. Without pursuing these two types of degrees, opportunities are also there for students to enroll into graduate programs that provide a terminal master’s degree.

In the USA, clinical psychologists have to pursue a doctorate degree. They are given training within clinical settings. In the U.K., students can pursue doctorate degree through programs funded by the National Health Service. These programs are very competitive in nature and are centered on both practice and research. Students who want to undertake any one of these programs must have to have experience along with an undergraduate degree in a psychology curriculum approved by the British Psychological Society.

Workplace

The work setting of clinical psychologists varies depending on the specialty or work area. The normal work areas for research psychologists are universities or colleges. They have to teach some courses in each semester besides performing their research responsibilities.

Some industrial psychologists work in corporations or companies. They help companies to manage their employees and key assets better.

Neuropsychologists and forensic psychologists are seen to work in private practice. Neuropsychologists also work in hospitals while forensic psychologists have to perform the clinical verification process in court and court settings.

However, clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings. They often go for private practice or work in public mental health sector. They also work in clinical counseling centers of universities and colleges where they help students to overcome some minor problems, such as adjusting to college life. They are also to be found in office setting working besides other types of mental health professionals, such as social workers and psychiatrists.

Salary

According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2000, a licensed clinical psychologist earns an average of $87,015. In fact, the typical salary of a clinical psychologist ranges from $51,000 to $90,000.

The salary level may vary according to some factors such as years of practice and experience, level of education, workplace settings, and even on geographical location. A more experienced and highly educated psychologist will definitely earn more than a less educated and experienced psychologist does. Similarly, the salary of a psychologist practicing in a developed country will be higher than that of a psychologist practicing in a developing country.

Find a Psychologist – Things to Consider

Psychologists are medical professionals who are comprised and associated to social sciences and research. Individuals with mental issues go to these professionals for diagnosis and treatment. Psychologists are further branched into smaller categories with various specialties. Here are things to consider in finding the right psychologist to help you.

Trained psychologists are skilled in guiding their clients through a wide scope of social problems like stress, relationships, work, family, school and such. Coping with everyday life for people with mental issues may not get through it on their own. It takes a professional psychologist to diagnose and find solution for that client to function optimally.

In United Kingdom, there are also various specialists that cater to specific psychological needs. Chartered Psychologist is the title given to all accredited psychologists. Here are some of the types of psychologists to walk you through the basics:

Clinical Psychologists

In United Kingdom, Clinical psychologists deal with psychological issues such as depression, relational problems, learning difficulties, depression, child and family problems. Their scope of psychology involves clinical assessments such as tests, interviews or observation of behaviour with treatments involving individual or group sessions based on psychological models and research. Clinical psychologists are usually working in health and social care establishments such as hospitals, health centres and child and adolescent mental health services to name a few.

Counselling Psychologist

Counselling psychologists use a new method wherein psychological theory and practices are integrated is used with therapeutic practice. Professionals under this category have high self-awareness and proficient to interrelate personal and interpersonal dynamics translated to a therapeutic framework. Risk and mental assessment, planning and implementing therapy, research and multidisciplinary team work and facilitation are some of the key tasks these psychologists do. Most counselling psychologists work in industries, prison service, and commerce and in any level of education from primary to universities.

Educational Psychologists

Educational psychologists in United Kingdom mostly cater to younger clients who have learning difficulties, social issues or emotional dilemmas. Professionals under this category are geared to enhancing the individual’s learning abilities. They also help instructors or teachers to provide a more suitable learning environment, especially for children, to maximize learning abilities through efficient and suitable learning methods. Educational psychologists often work with teachers and parents in most social or educational establishments.

In choosing the right therapist for you or your child’s needs, you might want to consider these qualities first:

1. Experience

Although age is considered to be subjective, the quality and efficiency of therapy may rely on your psychologist’s experience. Though may find that having older psychologists gives out a more mature presence, experience in dealing with a variety of psychological cases can help young or old clients to be treated more efficiently than those who are not yet well adept with specific cases.

2. Qualifications

As what was said prior, psychology is not a ‘one size fits all’ glove. Psychologists have specialized areas with specific treatments. In United Kingdom, Chartered psychologists are considered accredited and highly qualified to treat individuals with specific needs.

3. Environment

The atmosphere in which you or your child will be treated is also an indication of credibility. Professional psychologists are often found in a health institution or personal clinic with a calm atmosphere. The place should not be intimidating but relaxing to establish a good rapport with your psychologist for a more efficient treatment process.

All About Child Psychologists

What is a Child Psychologist (or CP)?

It’s a type of psychologist who deals with the mental, social and emotional development of children. Normally the child psychologists observe the development from the prenatal period through puberty. A few major topics include language development, genetics, personality, gender roles, cognitive development, sexual development and social growth.

They may work with different ages of children or it could be a specific age group. The number of patients would not matter as the psychologist would highly focus on helping to understand, diagnose and treat development, prevent, cognitive, social and emotional issues and supervise other teams.

Now there are some related options to this career:

-Abnormal psychologist a

-Adolescent psychologist

-Developmental psychologist

-School psychologist

-Educational psychologist

Educational requirements:

There are some opportunities with a master’s degree, but there are more options at the doctoral-level. There are several programs which offer child psychology degree, but it’s better to earn a Ph.D. or Psy.D. After completing the degree a supervised clinical internship is required that usually lasts for 3 years. Depending on the country you are in you would then normally be required to be accredited by a health counsel like the HPC.

What does a Child Psychologist do?

It depends upon where he or she works. Some of them counsel young patients in therapeutic situations, while some of them work in research so they can explore different aspects of child psychology.

The job duties depend on the specialization, a few of the tasks may include:

-Treating and diagnosing learning or developmental disabilities

-Manage behavioral issues

-Administering psychological issues

-Conducting scientific research

-Working with a health care team to create a treatment plan for a client

Educational requirements:

There are some opportunities with a master’s degree, but there are more options at the doctoral-level. There are several programs which offer child related psychology degrees, but it’s better to earn a Ph.D. or Psy.D. After completing the degree a supervised clinical internship is required that usually lasts for 2-3 years, and then pass state and national evaluation to become licensed.