Most people have some understanding of the term clinical psychology. They know that anyone that works in psychology is going to be dealing with mental health issues.
With that said, the average person has a limited understanding of what a clinical psychologist actually does. If you are confused by the concept of clinical psychology, you won’t have to be baffled any longer. If you read on, you’ll be able to have clinical psychology explained to you in an easy to digest way.
What Is Clinical Psychology?
In a nutshell, clinical psychology is the branch of psychology that is specifically concerned with assessing and treating people that have mental illness. The field combines the science of psychology and takes a more personal approach to it.
If someone is being treated for depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, then there is a very high chance that they will see a clinical psychologist. Most psychologists have a varied list of patients that they treat.
What Kind Of Education Do Clinical Psychologists Receive?
In the Australia, clinical psychologists usually have to receive their doctorate or masters before they can start seeing patients. They also have to receive clinical training.
The entire process is very rigorous, and it can take a great deal of time. As a matter of fact, it isn’t at all unusual for a psychologist to spend 8 years in schooling: 6 years for their bachelor’s degree, and 2 more years in graduate school and clinical training.
While 8 years of schooling may seem like overkill, it is actually very necessary. Treating mental health can be a challenge, and it is important to ensure that the people working in this field actually are able to handle the job that they are going to do.
Mental health is a delicate field, and requires considerable experience and skill. No one should get treatment from someone that isn’t a professional, who is registered and had experience in their issues..
Does Every Clinical Psychologist Treat Patients Directly?
If you are working as a clinical psychologist, you don’t necessarily have to treat patients yourself. You can also work in research. If you are in the field of research, then your primary focus will be finding more effective treatment options for patients.
Typically, someone that is studying clinical psychology will decide which area they want to specialize in before they go to school. If someone focuses on research while they are in school, and then decides that they want to treat patients later on, they may have to receive additional schooling.
What Are Some Of The Things That Clinical Psychologists Do?
Obviously, clinical psychologists work with patients in a one-on-one setting. With that said, the work that they do isn’t necessarily identical to the work that therapists do. There are a number of things that psychologists can do that set them apart.
As an example, a clinical psychologist may be qualified to deliver legal testimony about someone’s mental health. A person that works as a clinical psychologist would also be able to teach psychology to others, or to diagnose someone with a psychological disorder.
A therapist is able to provide counselling and nothing more and will vary in their training. If a therapists suspects that a patient has a mental disorder, then they will have to refer that patient to someone else so that they can get a diagnosis. A clinical psychologist will be able to do all of that themselves.
What Can’t Psychologists Do?
If you want to have clinical psychology explained to you, then you will probably want to know more about the various limitations that clinical psychologists have to deal with. What are psychologists allowed to do? What aren’t they allowed to do?
As mentioned above, a psychologist can diagnose one of their patients with a condition. However, if they believe that the condition should be treated with medication, they will not be able to prescribe the medication themselves. In order to prescribe medication, the psychologist will have to refer the patient to a psychiatrist.
What Kinds Of Approaches Do Different Psychologists Take?
There are a lot of different approaches to clinical psychology. Most people that are in the field take one of the following approaches:
The Cognitive Behavioral Approach
This approach is based on the study of cognition and behaviors. If a psychologist takes this approach, then they will compare a patient’s thoughts to the way that patient acts. In many cases, they will pay close attention to how the patient’s behavior changes when they are stressed and implement both cognitive and behavioural strategies to help.
The Psychodynamic Approach
This is the approach that was used by the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. This approach is based around the idea that the subconscious influences our behavior. Psychologists that take this approach may study a patient’s dreams, and they may also look closely at their past and how this has influenced who the client is today and answer the why of their struggles.
The Humanistic Approach
This approach is built around empowering and self-actualizing the patient. Psychologists that take this approach try to help patients work through their problems in a holistic way. Their primary goal is to help patients find their own potential.
Now that you have had clinical psychology explained to you, you can start looking at the field more closely. Whether you want to see a clinical psychologist or pursue a career in this field, this information can really be helpful to you.