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Clinical psychology is the application of psychological principles and practices in a clinical setting in order to ascertain mental disorders and behaviors, and work with other healthcare professionals in order to develop the best course of treatment. Clinical psychologists generally work within hospital or clinical settings, and often plan treatment programs for patients in order to cope with or cure their illness.
Education and Schools
Individuals in this field will receive a doctorate in order to be able to practice as clinical psychologists. Prior education in psychology is necessary in order to be admitted into a clinical psychology program, and individuals will work under the supervision of professionals during the course of their education as a prerequisite for completion of the program. Clinical Psych. is considered a specialization, and as such provides much more focus on patient treatment and assessment, and less focus on research, which is reflected in the tools conferred in the education received.
A curriculum may include:
- Counseling Skills
- Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
- Professional Communication
- History of Psychology
Students will choose schools based on the quality of education offered combined with where they will receive their training and supervised clinical hours. Schools will have professionals attached to their program that can provide a strong indicator of the quality of a given program or possible exceptional opportunity. As such, a student should review any program offerings, including with whom they may be working, in order to better choose their final destination.
Individuals will generally seek employment at hospitals or clinics, providing mental health care through them or as a private practitioner. In addition, some psychologists may maintain private offices and treat clients independently of such settings. Psychology is a growing field, and with the advent of more widespread healthcare, the need for trained professionals is expected to increase greatly. In addition, the reduced stigma regarding such treatment as increased the willingness of individuals to seek out clinical psychologists.
The American Psychological Association is a professional organization that works to advance the cause of psychology through research, exposure and assistance through communication, providing resources, and lobbying for the advancement of the field.