All About Clinical Psychology
WHAT IS CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY?
The field of Clinical Psychology integrates science, theory, and practice to understand, predict, and alleviate maladjustment, disability, and discomfort as well as to promote human adaptation, adjustment, and personal development. Clinical Psychology focuses on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human functioning across the life span, in varying cultures, and at all socioeconomic levels.
WHAT DO CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGISTS DO?
The Clinical Psychologist is educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge and skills so as to further psychological science, the professional practice of psychology, and human welfare. Clinical Psychologists are involved in research, teaching and supervision, program development and evaluation, consultation, public policy, professional practice, and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups, and organizations. Their work can range from prevention and early intervention of minor problems of adjustment to dealing with the adjustment and maladjustment of individuals whose disturbance requires then to be institutionalized.
Practitioners of Clinical Psychology work directly with individuals at all developmental levels (infants to older adults), as well as groups (families, patients of similar psychopathology, and organizations), using a wide range of assessment and intervention methods to promote mental health and to alleviate discomfort and maladjustment.
Researchers study the theory and practice of Clinical Psychology, and through their publications, document the empirical base of Clinical Psychology. Consultants, Teachers, and Clinical Supervisors share the Clinical Psychology knowledge base with students, other professionals, and non-professionals. Clinical Psychologists also engage in program development, evaluate Clinical Psychology service delivery systems, and analyze, develop, and implement public policy on all areas relevant to the field of Clinical Psychology. Many Clinical Psychologists combine these activities.
Assessment in Clinical Psychology involves determining the nature, causes, and potential effects of personal distress; of personal, social, and work dysfunctions; and the psychological factors associated with physical, behavioral, emotional, nervous, and mental disorders. Examples of assessment procedures are interviews, behavioral assessments, and the administration and interpretation of tests of intellectual abilities, aptitudes, personal characteristics, and other aspects of human experience and behavior relative to disturbance.
Interventions in Clinical Psychology are directed at preventing, treating, and correcting emotional conflicts, personality disturbances, psychopathology, and the skill deficits underlying human distress or dysfunction. Examples of intervention techniques include psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, marital and family therapy, group therapy, biofeedback, cognitive retraining and rehabilitation, social learning approaches, and environmental consultation and design. The goal of intervention is to promote satisfaction, adaptation, social order, and health.
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WHERE DO CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGISTS WORK?
Clinical Psychologists work throughout the United States in a variety of settings including individual practice, mental health service units, managed healthcare organizations, hospitals, schools, universities, industries, legal systems, medical systems, counseling centers, governmental agencies, and military services.
QUALIFICATIONS TO PRACTICE CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
An earned doctorate from a Clinical Psychology program represents the basic entry level for the provision of Clinical Psychology services. Unique to Clinical Psychology training is the requirement of substantial course work in the areas of personality and psychopathology, resulting in comprehensive understanding of normal and abnormal adjustment and maladjustment across the life span.
The American Psychological Association sets the standards for Clinical Psychology graduate programs and recognizes programs meeting these standards through an accreditation process. All states require a license to practice Clinical Psychology.
- The American Psychological Association
- OxfordHandbooks.com – The History of Clinical Psychology
- AACPSY.org – American Academy of Clinical Psychology
- AnnualReviews.org – The Annual Review of Clinical Psychology
- SSCP – Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology
- PsyPress.com – Clinical Psychology News
- Careers in Psychology