Are you interested in the area of clinical psychology? Are you not sure what is involved in this branch of psychology, which makes you hesitant to pursue this career path? Keep reading, clinical psychology and all that it entails is discussed below, which will help you make an informed professional decision.
Clinical psychology is a combination of theory, science, and clinical skills and knowledge that has an overall purpose of preventing, understanding, and relieving distress or dysfunction that is related to the world of psychology. As a clinical psychologist you will work to promote the personal development and general well-being of your patients. While clinical psychologists focus their work on psychotherapy and psychological assessment, they also integrate forensic testimony, research, teaching, program development, consultation, and administration. It is important to understand that in many countries the branch of clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.
In the past few years, clinical psychologists have become considered as experts in providing psychological testing, in diagnosing mental illness, and in providing psychotherapy. In order to be prepared to work within this career area, you will need to receive formal training in the four primary orientations of theory; systems or family therapy, psychodynamic, behavior therapy/cognitive behavioral, and humanistic. In your capacity as a clinical psychologist you will be expected to work within these theoretical areas on a daily basis. Should you decide to further your educational level to obtain your masters degree in clinical psychology you will likely be required to complete training that will allow you to specialize in one particular area or theory.
For instance, you could choose to focus your career on psychoanalytic approaches or adolescent treatment methods. Overall, you will be working with your patients to improve upon their emotional state, their intellectual state, their social aspects, and their psychological well-being. As a clinical psychologist you will spend your career working with individuals from a broad age range and a variety of backgrounds. You will likely use your knowledge and skills to help families, organizations, groups, and individuals to repair any mental dysfunctions. It will be important that you can create intervention methods that will address your patient's psychological needs in an effective and efficient manner.
To become a clinical psychologist you will need to obtain your master degree. In your required course work you will receive training in regards to clinical research in conjunction with patient therapy; a large focus will be placed on behavioral changes that can occur as a result of therapy and counseling. Your formal training will require you to learn about the practical and theoretical aspects of psychotherapy. You will likely learn about object relations theory, attachment theory, Freudian psychoanalysis, Jungian psychoanalysis, and many other psychotherapy models. In your psychopathology course work you will also be studying psychopathology.
This class will teach you about sociocultural methods, cognitive methods, biological methods, behavioral methods, and the psychodynamic methods of therapy sessions. Upon completion of this course work you will know how to properly diagnose a patient and how to create an effective treatment plan. Your studies will also require you to complete a patient assessment class. This will make it possible for you to focus on areas of intelligence; how to identify very high or low levels of intelligence, how to test personality, as well as the cultural and ethical implications that are often connected to psychological assessments. Lastly, you will need to be thoroughly trained in regards to cognition and behavior. As a clinical psychologist you will learn about the theories of perception, memory, affective development, and learning.