How much do you know about Clinical Psychology?



9 Questions

What is the main focus of clinical psychology?

What is the main difference between clinical psychology and psychiatry?

What is the main difference between clinical psychology and counseling psychology?

What is the main focus of school psychology?

What is the main difference between clinical psychology and social work?

What is the main goal of clinical assessment?

What are the three main educational models for clinical psychologists in the US?

What is the fastest-growing employment setting for clinical psychologists?

What is the main criticism of clinical psychology?


Clinical Psychology: History, Practice, and Training

  • Clinical psychology is a field that integrates human science, behavioral science, theory, and clinical knowledge to understand, prevent, and relieve psychological distress and promote well-being.

  • Clinical psychologists engage in psychological assessment, clinical formulation, psychotherapy, research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration.

  • The field began in 1896 with the opening of the first psychological clinic by Lightner Witmer at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Clinical psychology was focused on psychological assessment in the first half of the 20th century, but after World War II, it shifted to treatment.

  • There are three main educational models in the US: PhD Clinical Science, PhD Science-Practitioner, and PsyD Practitioner-Scholar.

  • Clinical psychologists specialize in providing psychotherapy, and usually train in four primary theoretical orientations: psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and systems or family therapy.

  • Clinical psychology is different from psychiatry, as clinical psychologists primarily treat mental disorders through psychotherapy, while psychiatrists can prescribe medications and perform medical procedures.

  • Clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health organizations, schools, businesses, and non-profit agencies.

  • Clinical psychologists in the US require a license, which is obtained through a doctoral program, supervised practice, and passing an examination.

  • In the UK, clinical psychologists undertake a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych), sponsored by the National Health Service (NHS) and accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council (HPC).

  • Clinical psychologists engage in psychological assessment, which involves formal testing measures, interviews, reviewing records, clinical observation, and physical examination, to gain insights and form hypotheses about psychological or behavioral problems.

  • Clinical psychologists are experts in assessment and psychotherapy, and continue to expand their focus to address issues of gerontology, sports, and the criminal justice system, among others.

  • Health psychology is the fastest-growing employment setting for clinical psychologists, and other major changes include the impact of managed care on mental health care, diversity and multicultural issues, and emerging privileges to prescribe psychotropic medication.Clinical Psychology: Assessment, Intervention, and Ethics

  • Level B clinical psychologists must hold a master's degree in psychology, education, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, social work, counseling, or a closely related field with formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments. Those with access to Qualification C assessment measures must hold a doctorate degree in psychology, education, or a closely related field with formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments related to the intended use of the assessment.

  • Diagnostic impressions are made after assessment, and clinical psychologists may provide a diagnostic impression using systems such as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

  • Clinical psychologists use formulation, which is an individualized map of the difficulties that the patient or client faces, encompassing predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors, rather than diagnosis.

  • Clinical assessment can be characterized as a prediction problem, where the purpose of assessment is to make inferences (predictions) about past, present, or future behavior. There are two ways to combine data to arrive at a decision, diagnosis, or prediction: mechanical prediction and clinical prediction.

  • Clinical psychologists have a wide range of individual interventions to draw from, often guided by their training, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, and Gestalt techniques.

  • There are four major schools of practice in the US: psychodynamic, humanism, behavioral/cognitive behavioral, and systems or family therapy.

  • In the UK, clinical psychologists have to show competence in at least two models of therapy, including CBT, to gain their doctorate.

  • The field of clinical psychology is strongly regulated by a code of ethics in most countries, such as the APA Code of Conduct in the US and the British Psychological Society's Code of Conduct and Ethics in the UK.

  • Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists share the aim of alleviating mental distress, but their training, outlook, and methodologies are often quite different. Psychiatrists are licensed physicians and can use psychotropic medications in addition to psychotherapy.

  • Clinical psychology is distinct from counseling psychology, which focuses on helping people with everyday problems and transitions, and from social work, which focuses on the social and environmental factors that contribute to mental health problems.

  • Clinical psychology is similar to counseling psychology in that both professions provide psychotherapy and have similar training requirements, but clinical psychology has a stronger research base and is more likely to work with severe and chronic mental health problems.

  • Clinical psychology is similar to psychiatry in that both professions provide psychotherapy and can diagnose and treat mental health problems, but psychiatry has a stronger focus on medical treatment and can prescribe medications.Overview of Different Fields in Psychology

  • Clinical psychology is the most common field of psychology, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and psychiatric problems.

  • Clinical psychologists are trained in both research and therapy, and may work in hospitals, private practice, or academia.

  • Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, can prescribe medication, but psychologists cannot, although there is a movement for psychologists to have prescribing privileges.

  • Counseling psychology is similar to clinical psychology, but traditionally focuses on treating people with normal or moderate psychological problems.

  • Counseling psychologists value multiculturalism and social advocacy, and are often employed in university counseling centers.

  • School psychologists focus on the academic, social, and emotional well-being of children and adolescents within a scholastic environment.

  • Clinical social workers provide a variety of services, generally concerned with social problems, their causes, and their solutions, and with specific training, may also provide psychological counseling.

  • Occupational therapists work with people with disabilities to enable them to maximize their skills and abilities, and commonly work alongside clinical psychologists in settings such as inpatient and outpatient mental health, pain management clinics, and child development services.

  • Clinical psychology has been criticized for not allying itself with client groups, individualizing problems, and failing to address inequalities and power differences.

  • There is much debate about the efficacy of various forms treatment in use in clinical psychology.

  • Many clinical psychology practitioners in the United States consider scientific evidence to be "less important than their personal – that is, subjective – clinical experience."

  • Other fields of psychology include educational psychology, developmental psychology, forensic psychology, and neuropsychology.


Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the field of clinical psychology, its history, practice, and training. Learn about the different educational models and theoretical orientations, assessment and psychotherapy techniques, and the differences between clinical psychology and other related fields. Challenge your understanding of clinical psychology's code of ethics and the ongoing debate on the efficacy of various forms of treatment. This quiz provides an overview of the field and is perfect for students, professionals, or anyone interested in learning more about clinical psychology.

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