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What Is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist?

by Ashley Miller, studioD

If you love helping others, enjoy solving problems and want to work with a wide range of clientele, a career as a consultant clinical psychologist could be the right path for you. Consultant clinical psychologists, also known as clinical consultants, are qualified mental health professionals who offer both consulting and clinical services. They have doctoral degrees in psychology and hold state licenses to practice. Consultant clinical psychologists provide consultation services to groups and organizations dealing with various problems and concerns.

Qualifications of a Consultant Clinical Psychologist

A doctoral degree in psychology is necessary to become a consultant clinical psychologist. Because few schools offer degrees specifically in consulting psychology, they may come from a variety of areas of specialization, including, but not limited to, clinical, industrial-organizational, consulting or counseling psychology. In addition to a doctoral degree in psychology, consultant clinical psychologists also hold state licensure to practice psychology. Some consultant clinical psychologists may decide to become members of the American Psychological Association’s specialty group, Division 13: Society of Consulting Psychology.

What Consultant Clinical Psychologists Do

Consultant clinical psychologists usually come from clinical practice backgrounds. Some may combine their clinical practice with consultancy work. Consultant clinical psychologists offer a wide range of services that can vary based on their areas of expertise and chosen fields of practice. Like clinical psychologists, they provide assessments, evaluations and advice, but on a larger scale. For example, they may advise businesses, government organizations and other organizations about management practices or organizational concerns. Or they might work with medical organizations, such as hospitals or care facilities, to provide advice about possible ways of developing and implementing new programs for patients. And some consultant clinical psychologists might be become researchers or professors at colleges and universities.

Skills Needed to be a Consultant Clinical Psychologist

According to consultant clinical psychologist Dr. Andrew Ritcheson in an interview with CareersInPsychology.org, you first need to be an accomplished psychologist to be a successful consulting psychologist. Like all psychologists, consultant clinical psychologists need to have excellent communication and problem-solving skills to be able to assess and “treat” an organization’s problems. They should have a solid understanding of human behavior, research and different clinical interventions. In addition, it’s often helpful if they have some training and experience in human resources or business management.

Benefits of Becoming a Consultant Clinical Psychologist

One of the main reasons many clinical psychologists turn to consultancy is that it offers the chance to perform a range of work functions and to interact with people from a variety of professional backgrounds. Working solely in private practice can be isolating at times, so consultancy work provides an opportunity to connect with others and to work on location in different settings. People who enjoy working independently and like to arrange their own schedules may be well-suited to work as consultant clinical psychologists. Another benefit is that their responsibilities and areas of practice can be as broad or as specialized as they prefer. For example, they can focus solely on areas such as management training, or they can combine a variety of fields, such as research, teaching, clinical work or consultancy.

About the Author

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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