Of all the types of psychologist careers available, the clinical psychologist is perhaps the job title that is most well known.
How do you become a clinical psychologist and what do you actually do once you have completed the relevant study and training.
In this article we’ll hopefully provide you with some answers to those questions so that you can understand the role of the psychologist, and maybe decide if this is a career that you’d like to pursue with your studies
Clinical Psychologist Job Description
A clinical psychologist is a person who has undergone extensive education and on-the-job training to enable them to help in the diagnosis and treatment of the mental illnesses and disorders that are prevalent throughout society.
Now that’s obviously a fairly broad description, so just what does a clinical psychologist do?
The first element of the clinical psychologist job description is to help diagnose mental disorders in patients.
There seems to be an ever increasing number of mental disorders, but some of the more common problems that clinical psychologists will diagnose include things like schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, stress and a range of psychiatric disorders.
Another key role of a clinical psychology is in counseling. This can be the counseling of people with diagnosed mental disorders as part of their entire treatment plan.
Or it could simply be the counseling of people such as those with eating disorders, anxiety or stress related problems, addiction issues or people dealing psychological trauma related to physical injuries or some other trauma event.
Clinical Psychologist Specialties
As you can see above there are an enormous range of issues that clinical psychologists may potentially be required to deal with. What this means is that within the broad category of clinical psychology, there are actually people specializing in the various disorders and other issues.
So for example one psychologist may focus their efforts on helping people deal with addiction, while others may work with a specific mental disorder or perhaps those people who have been the victim of a sexual crime.
While some of these specialties may require specific study, in many cases the real learning comes through dealing with the issue regularly and becoming experienced at understanding the issues and how to move people forward through them if possible.
Providing Testimony In Court
One of the little talked about roles of this field of psychology is the job of providing expert testimony in various types of legal matter.
In the case of criminal matters they may be called on to give evidence as to state of mind of a particular person who has committed some sort of crime. Or a psychologist may be required to give evidence about mental capacity in civil matters where the custody of a child is at stake.
While these are obviously not day to day tasks, they are still possible roles the psychologist may need to take on at some stage of their career.
Refer Patients For Medication
It’s important to note that although the clinical psychologist plays a large role in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses, they are not involved int he prescription of any drugs to their patients.
They will refer their patient top a psychiatrist for this and this prescription will then become a part of the overall treatment plan As you can see when you ask the question of what is a clinical psychologist, there is really no one size fits all clinical psychologist job description.
At the heart of it all is the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and disorders, but the wide variety of such disorders means there are as many different types of clinical psychologist as there are disorders they’re required to treat.