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Clinical Psychologist

What is a clinical psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional who specialises in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a wide range of mental health problems and disorders.

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What does a clinical psychologist do?

The specific duties vary depending on their area of expertise and the setting in which they work, but generally may include:

  • Conducting assessments of an individual's mental health, including psychological tests, interviews, and observations.
  • Based on their assessment, clinical psychologists may diagnose mental health problems and disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other personality disorders.
  • Develop treatment plans that may include individual therapy, group therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, and other forms of interventions.
  • Clinical psychologists may provide therapy to help clients improve their mental health and wellbeing.

How to become a clinical psychologist?

To become a clinical psychologist in the UK, you typically need to complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain an undergraduate psychology degree, or complete a postgraduate conversion course, accredited to the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  2. Obtain a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – accredited by the BPS and approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HPCP).
  3. You will also need to have obtained relevant work experience, such as working as an assistant psychologist, before applying for the doctorate programme.

What skills do you need to become a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists need a range of skills, including:

  1. Analytical and problem-solving skills to assess and diagnose mental health conditions and develop treatment plans tailored to the individual needs of each patient.
  2. Strong interpersonal skills to build relationships with patients and healthcare professionals.
  3. Empathy to understand the experiences of patients and show compassion and sensitivity towards them.
  4. Excellent written and oral communication skills to write reports, create treatment plans and communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals.

Where do clinical psychologists work?

Clinical psychologists work in a range of organisations, including:

  • NHS hospitals and clinics: clinical psychologists work as part of multidisciplinary teams in hospitals and clinics, providing assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a range of mental health conditions.
  • Universities and research institutions: clinical psychologists may work in academic or research settings, conducting research on mental health and developing new treatments and interventions.
  • Charities and non-profit organizations: clinical psychologists may work for charities and non-profit organizations that provide mental health services to the community.
  • In addition to being employed by organisations, clinical psychologists may work in a private practice, offering therapy and counselling services to individuals, couples, and families.

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