What is clinical psychology?
The sub-field of psychology – clinical psychology
Clinical psychology is a subfield in psychology which is concerned with the evaluation and assistance of mental illness, abnormal behavior and relieving psychologically-based distress. It integrates the science of psychology, clinical knowledge, and theoretical knowledge with the treatment of complicated problems. It is one of the most popular subfields within psychology.
Clinical psychologists are involved in program development and evaluation, teaching and supervision, research, public police, consultation and other activities such as professional practice. It will mean that they will be working with individuals, families, number of individuals collectively, institutions and organizations. Practitioners usually work within a team, for example, of medical practitioners, social workers and other health professionals.
What is clinical psychology and how does it differ from a psychiatrist?
Often clinical psychologists are compared with psychiatrists and even though they have the same fundamental goal their methods, training and outlook is quite different. The most significant difference is that psychiatrists use the medical model to assess psychological problems – meaning they see their patients as people with an illness – and prescribe medication, whereas a forensic psychologist does not.
Clinical psychologists also differ from counselors and social workers, because they primarily deal with patients who have recognized problems. This type of psychologist will treat depression, anxiety and emotional and mental disorders. The treatment of a patient usually includes the evaluation of the overall mental status of the patient and after that it will be determined which specific conditions might affect the patient.
Psychoanalysis is mainly used by clinical psychologists to relieve mental distress. During these sessions the life problems of the patient will be evaluated in an environment in which he or she feels comfortable. Clinical psychologists provide patients with methods to deal with problems such as stress, anxiety and other mental problems.
Clinical psychology differs from forensic psychology in that forensic psychology provides psychological assessments in legal situations, whereas clinical psychology is the diagnosing and treatment of psychological dysfunction. A forensic psychologist has duties bound to the criminal justice system and needs to act accordingly. A clinical psychologist, on the other hand, is not helping the legal system but has the duty to help the patient.
To become a practitioner of either form of psychology you need to have an accredited graduate degree from a university. A clinical psychologist will either work to obtain a Ph.D. or a PsyD. A Ph.D. is more towards the side of research, whereas a PsyD is more oriented towards the treatment of patients.
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