Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology, is a branch of psychology concerned with the practical application of research findings and methodologies in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Clinical psychologists classify their basic activities under three main headings: assessment (including diagnosis), treatment, and research. In assessment, clinical psychologists give and interpret psychological tests, either for the purpose of evaluating individuals' relative intelligence or other capabilities or for the purpose of eliciting mental characteristics that will aid in diagnosing a particular mental disorder.

The interview, in which the psychologist observes, questions, and interacts with a patient, is another standard tool of diagnosis.

For purposes of treatment, the clinical psychologist may use any of several types of psychotherapy, and recently the tendency has been toward an eclectic approach, using a combination of techniques suited to the client.

Clinical psychologists may specialize in behaviour therapy, group therapy, family therapy, or psychoanalysis, among others.

Research is an important field for some clinical psychologists because of their training in the use of experimental studies and statistical procedures. Clinical psychologists are thus often crucial participants in research projects bearing on mental-health care.

Clinical psychologists perform their services in hospitals, clinics, or in private practice, while others work with the mentally or physically handicapped, prison inmates, drug and alcohol abusers, or geriatric patients. In some clinical settings, a clinical psychologist works in tandem with a psychiatrist and a social worker and is responsible for conducting the team's research.

Clinical psychologists are also employed in industry, where some specialize in services to emotionally disturbed employees and others in services for managerial officials.

Other clinical psychologists serve the courts in assessing defendants or potential parolees, and some are employed by the armed forces to evaluate or treat service personnel.

The training of clinical psychologists usually includes the university-level study of general psychology and some clinical experience and amounts to 5-7 years of higher education in all.

Because they have not earned a medical degree, clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medications for patients.