Psychology is all about mind and behaviour. Clinical Psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness and behavioural problems.Clinical Psychology involves understanding Practicing Clinical Psychologists have the professional training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems. Clinical Psychologist have strong assessment and evaluation skills, which they use to come up with a psychological formulation of your difficulties, this formulation is based on sound scientific models, or theories. They will then use the formulation to inform the type of therapeutic intervention needed for the problem, look at a variety of techniques based on the best available research and consider someone’s unique values, characteristics, goals and circumstances. The treatment given is evidence-based, we know it works, and that’s why we do it.
The first step for a clinical psychologist is to gain a degree in psychology from a university course recognised by the British Psychological Society. After graduating they’ll usually work as an Assistant Psychologist for at least 2 years, to gain further experience in workplace settings, under the supervision of an experienced clinical psychologist. prior to becoming an Assistant Psychologist, many will work in caring roles. Following on from this, they do three years of clinical training at doctorate level, during this time they work directly with patients from all the core groups, adult, child, older adults, learning disabilities, they also complete two elective specialist placement. Clinical Psychologists with doctoral degrees have received one of the highest levels of education of all mental health care professionals, spending an average of nine years in education and training. Following qualification, many Clinical Psychologists will work in a National Health Service setting where they will adopt at least two psychological models, one of which is usually the Cognitive Behavioural model.
Clinical Psychology and You
Clinical psychologists want to help you identify causes and solutions to mental health problems that occur in your life. Clinical Psychologists can treat many different types of problems. Some people might see a Clinical Psychologist because they have felt depressed, angry, or anxious for a long time. Some people might want help for chronic conditions that are interfering with their lives. Others might have short-term problems they want help working out, such as changes in life circumstances, jobs, marriage, divorce etc. Clinical Psychologists help people learn to cope with stressful situations and break past the barriers that perpetuate their problems, and keep them from reaching their goals.
Clinical Psychologists are also trained to administer and interpret a number of psychometric tests and formal assessments, these help diagnose complex conditions, or tell us more about the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. These tests might evaluate intellectual skills, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, look at risk evaluation, plus many other issues.
What happens during a session?
You talk. But it’s not just about you pouring your heart out – you and the Clinical Psychologist you work with will set specific goals for you to work towards in a solution focused way. The Clinical Psychologist you see wants to help you change how you think, behave, and feel, and will guide you in understanding how all three are linked. The underlying treatment has been scientifically modelled with some seriously heavy-duty research evidence that has taken place over decades.
In a typical session you will work on recognising your current way of thinking and how it triggers and feeds into your psychological difficulties. Together you work out how to break your disruptive patterns and ways of thinking, replace them with new patterns that will help you achieve your goals, and prevent future setbacks.
Here is a list of some problems Clinical Psychologists help people with…
Anxiety disorders: generalised anxiety, health anxiety, social anxiety
Eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Binge-eating disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Stress, including work related stress, relationship stress
Trauma and abuse
Psychosis / Schizophrenia
Pregnancy and birth
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorders/Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD)
Global Developmental Delay
Language and communication disorders
Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
Distress associated with a diagnosis of chronic illnesses