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.
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.
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.
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.