Clinical psychologists are those who diagnose and treat many mental ailments such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and schizophrenia. Clinical psychologists can also help with those who—though not suffering from particular disorders--are dealing with job changes, divorces, bereavement, and other challenging situations.
To qualify as a clinical psychologist one has to attend an accredited course and obtain a doctoral degree in psychology. This can either be a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. These courses take around five years to complete. While Ph.D. course focus more on research, Psy.D. course give importance to clinical engagement. To qualify for the course you need to have appeared for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as well as an associated test on psychology. Though some courses do not insist on a bachelor’s degree in psychology, students who have majored in this subject find the master’s course easier as clinical psychologists have to deal with a variety of problems and people.
After obtaining a doctoral degree, one must also obtain a license from the government by clearing an examination and showing that one has fulfilled the state’s professional experience criteria by taking part in supervised clinical internships during and after graduation. Most states ask for between one and two years of professional practice.
There are many diverse clinical practices that you can choose from. Apart from general practice you can choose to specialize on a specific age group, gender, condition, or therapy. Besides, clinical psychologists can choose to have a private office or become a staff member in a large hospital. As a clinical psychologist you can choose to counsel children shifting schools, teenagers trying to cope with eating disorders, or adults working at overcoming an addiction, or any other field that interests you. If you set up practice in urban areas, you will be able to make significantly more after you gain experience and demonstrate expertise.
The demand for clinical psychologists is expected to grow as there is a greater awareness of the need to treat mental illnesses and there is a decrease in the stigma resulting from seeking treatment. New "parity" laws that insist that health insurance companies offer similar cover for both physical and mental illnesses will also lead to an increased demand for the services of clinical psychologists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities for clinical psychologists to grow in the coming 8 years by about 11 percent.
There are many opportunities for clinical psychologists. They work in many areas to both treat and prevent maladjustment and imbalance in people’s life. Merriam-Webster explains maladjustment as being incapable of adapting properly to your surroundings leading to emotional instability. As a clinical psychologist you can deal with patients of all age groups and ethnicity as well as socioeconomic levels.
To practice as a clinical psychologist you must have at least a master’s degree. However, most clinical psychologists have a doctoral degree. Most states also mandate psychologists to have a license or certificate if they want to practice privately or counsel patient’s though organizations. This insistence on academic qualifications is vital as psychologists need to have extensive knowledge of and experience in core areas such as psychopathology and personality. A clinical psychologist has to be able to assess the emotional and mental health of patients apart from identifying subtle behavioral differences.
To obtain a degree as Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree (Psy.D.) you need to do extensive coursework. This course will teach you to diagnose and treat patients. Usually, you need at least a bachelor’s degree with a 3.25 grade point average. You can also increase your chances of admission by proving experience in community service. One should ensure that the course has accreditation from the American Psychological Association as it sets the criteria for courses in clinical psychology.
A Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree course takes four years. This is when a student already has a bachelor's degree. The course covers topics that teach the student to accurately treat many mental illnesses. This degree trains you to help address differences in culture and family as well as pathology and parent-child relationships. In the final term you need to present a thesis and defend it orally. After that you will have to be an intern and register for a practicum in clinical psychology.
As a clinical psychologist you can work in private practices, schools, universities, and medical institutions such as managed healthcare providers. The legal system too needs clinical psychologists. Clinical psychologists rely on theory and practical experience to treat, assess, and prevent emotional and mental maladjustment. A clinical psychologist also has to be prepared to document and record individual patient data and use it in therapy sessions and to treat groups. Clinical psychologists treat many different maladjustments and help ease temporary discomforts common to humans. Such temporary discomforts include loss, grief, and the change in life stages. As a clinical psychologist you will be taught all about the changes that happen in each life stage. All practitioners need to be able to work with families, and help bring adults and children together by holding private sessions, group therapy, or individual sessions based on observations made in family sessions.
Other employment opportunities for clinical psychologists include jobs as teachers, researchers, and writers. Most researchers analyze and evaluate data that helps form theories and policies used in clinical psychology. Many clinical psychologists record their findings and convert them into coursework and publications. The data is used to create public policy to help society. Such public policy, for instance, the infant mental health initiative, tries to prevent large scale maladjustment. Teachers of clinical psychology then transfer this information to organizations, students, and other professionals.