Pursuing a career in clinical psychology presents you with an opportunity to help people with emotional and psychological problems overcome their difficulties. Clinical psychologists are responsible for predicting, assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing mental disorders in order to improve the emotional well-being of patients. Employers in this field look for graduates with a major in clinical psychology, a license to practice medicine and excellent communication skills.
Observing and Interviewing
Clinical psychologists interview patients in a mental health facility before conducting diagnostic tests. Asking questions, interacting with patients and observing them in play are some of the strategies these professionals use to detect their mental characteristics. This information is crucial in diagnosing particular emotional, psychological or behavioral disorders and can help identify indications of abnormal behavior or mental deficiency. At times, clinical psychologists use answers from patients to evaluate problems that are confusing or worrying, offering alternative ways of interpreting and understanding them.
Administering Treatment and Intervention
Psychologists employ a variety of strategies to address disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. They use information from interviews to diagnose mental health disorders and implement suitable treatment and intervention programs. For a patient experiencing emotional distress, for instance, a clinical psychologist ensures he is adhering to treatment programs while monitoring his progress. Although clinical psychologists are prohibited from prescribing drugs, they often consult with doctors and psychiatrists regarding the best treatment for patients, especially where medical procedures are involved.
Counseling is often the last phase of treating patients with mental health disorders. A clinical psychologist counsels individuals, informing them about their progress and the importance of adhering to their treatment programs. She advises mental health patients on how to cope with difficult family situations, such as death of a close relative or divorce, or overcome drug and substance addictions. This helps modify their behavior, which in turn improves personal and social adjustment. These psychologists also evaluate the effectiveness of counseling and treatment procedures, determine their accuracy and completeness of diagnoses and make modifications when necessary.
Research is a powerful tool in the health sector. Clinical psychologists receive extensive research training in graduate school to help them perform their duties effectively. For example, if they meet a patient with strange emotional characteristics, researching can reveal crucial information that can be used to establish individualized treatment programs. Psychologists conduct investigative surveys and laboratory experiments to find more information about numerous mental illnesses.
- American Psychological Association: Public Description of Clinical Psychology
- San Diego State University: What Does a Psychologist Do?
- StudentScholarship.org: Psychologists - What They Do
- Common Wealth of Virginia's Employment Center and Resource Center: Career Guide for Psychologists - Clinical
- Baylor University: Clinical Psychology
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images