our everyday life

What Are the Different Fields of Being a Clinical Psychologist?

by Ashley Miller, studioD

Clinical psychologists are doctoral-level mental health specialists who help people with a myriad of psychological issues, such as depression, and life problems, such as divorce or stress. While some clinical psychologists work in general practice and help a wide range of people, some choose to focus on specific fields and become board-certified experts in their chosen sub-specializations.

Clinical Child Psychology

Many clinical psychologists in general practice treat a wide range of patients, such as adults, couples, families and children. But clinical psychologists who want to focus their practice on helping youth under the age of 18 might decide to specialize in child and adolescent psychology. Child and adolescent psychology involves assessing, diagnosing and treating psychological disorders and mental health issues that are unique to or first recognized in childhood and adolescence. This might include learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorder, childhood depression, or issues like the death of a parent or divorce. Child and adolescent psychologists may choose to become board certified by the American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Clinical Health Psychology

Clinical health psychologists are specialists in examining and treating the various psychological, mental and emotional aspects of health and diseases. They work in medical settings (such as hospitals or hospices) to assess, diagnose and treat psychological disorders and problems in patients dealing with diseases like cancer, AIDS or diabetes. Clinical health psychology is a specialty field that requires advanced training and education in areas like anatomy, pharmacology and biology. Psychologists who specialize in this area may choose to become board certified by the American Board of Clinical Health Psychology.

Clinical Neuropsychology

Psychologists who specialize in clinical neuropsychology have received post-doctoral training in researching, evaluating and treating disorders caused by the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. They might work in research settings or medical centers to assess, diagnose and treat people dealing with issues like traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, dementia or Parkinson's disease. Clinical neuropsychologists help patients cope with these problems and help them live more independent and fulfilling lives by providing services like counseling or specialized interventions, which can vary based on their specific needs. The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology offers board certification to qualified clinical psychologists who specialize in this field.

Clinical Geropsychology

Clinical geropsychologists are specialists in the field of aging and its impact on psychological functioning and well-being. According to the Society of Clinical Geropsychology, clinical geropsychologists undergo extensive training that can involve participating in graduate, internship, postdoctoral and post-licensure geropsychology programs. Clinical geropsychologists treat disorders that often occur in aging adults, such as dementia or depression, and help older adults deal with issues like grief or chronic illness. The American Board of Geropsychology offers board certification to qualified clinical psychologists who choose to specialize in this field.

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.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images