Defining clinical psychology, through a broader spectrum, can in simple terms be stated to be a branch of medical science that relates to mental health. Specifically, it is an inherent ingredient of the scientific approach towards comprehension of theoretical and practical aspects, and analyzing, diagnosing, preventing, and relieving of mental distress or dysfunctional behavior. It is inclusive of psychoanalysis, psychological assessment, and psychotherapy for short, as well as prolonged periods, depending upon the ailment and the degree of treatment required to be administered to the patient. If you are planning to take up a career in this field, then you must be properly equipped with the information related to it.
Clinical psychologists mostly work in hospitals and are required to make assessments, concerning a patient’s psychological disorders and various other abnormal behavior. With due specialization, they can also be earmarked to treat people with severe disorders such as mental depression and schizophrenia. They study various behavioral patterns of the subject and deal with many complex problems like challenging behavior; personal, professional, and family relationships; behavioral and neurological disorders; learning disability to adjustment illness; physical to addictive behavior; and eating disorders. They also counsel such individuals for their personal matters as well and help them to come out of confusion by providing them with a solution, or the ways to deal with the situation, based on their understanding and interpretations. If we talk about their earnings, as per APA Research Office, the survey reflected that their average salary is USD 72,000, with 2% working in human service units, 19% in medical organizations, and 65% resorting to private practice.
Nothing sacrosanct can be stipulated for an individual to subscribe for taking up this field as a profession, barring competence in the studies and a postgraduate degree in this field. Prior to that, training for a little over four years in post bachelor’s practice, along with three to six years in earning a doctorate’s degree in the field, would open up your prospects reasonably well. With a fair share on research aspects, the US has embarked upon the graduates to go for Ph.D. programs and also Psy.D., which alternatively lay sufficient stress on practice. Twelve months of clinical experience as an assistant psychologist, nursing and involving in social service for people with disabilities under the supervision of a qualified and experienced professional is also equally essential.
As mentioned earlier, clinical psychologists concentrate on the psychological well-being of the subject, for which they apply various methods to bring about positive changes.
- Understanding the behavior and needs of the subject by the use of various psychological tests such as psychometric tests, direct or indirect behavioral observation, and interviews
- Cooperating with the different working teams like social workers, psychiatrists, doctors, education professionals, and occupational therapists for better understanding of the subject’s disorder
- Execution of the various treatment programs that may vary from therapy, advice, or counseling along with the other multidisciplinary team
- Devising proper treatment plans for the mental disorders like depression and anxiety
- Counseling the professionals and educating them to adopt psychological approach to work
- Maintaining medical records regarding the assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic goals, and treatment programs of the subject. The records are a must to track the progress and response of the subject towards the treatment.
The job prospects in this field are even better comparatively for those who have a doctorate in applied specialty or school psychology. In order to gain a competitive edge over others, one must carry out extensive research and try to become well acquainted with computer science and quantitative research methods. Experience in related fields would help you to avail of even better opportunities.