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What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?

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The job of a clinical psychologist is identifying problems that patients have dealing with other people and themselves and finding ways to treat these difficulties. There is a large range of problems these conflicts can involve including sexual, social, learning, and emotional problems. A clinical psychologist works to provide patients with therapeutic, diagnostic, and counseling services. This can be on an individual basis or with groups or families sharing very similar problems. Clinical psychologists use scientific application and study of psychology to relieve, prevent, and understand psychologically based dysfunction or distress, to further personal development, well-being, and making psychological assessments. Many clinical psychologists are involved in teaching, program administration and development, research, forensic testimony, and consultation.

A clinical psychologist can provide many professional services including conducting psychological research; teaching; providing psychotherapy or psychological treatments; consultation at businesses, schools and other organizations; both administer and translate psychological testing and assessment; and develop treatment and prevention programs. Many clinical psychologists specialize in specific areas including forensic; adolescent and child; school; specific disorders such as phobias, anxiety, trauma, sex, addiction, clinical depression and sleep disorders; relationship and family counseling; neuropsychological disorders; and health.

Psychological assessment is an important clinical practice that clinical psychologists are expert in and they use this to help them gain a deep, clear insight or understanding and for forming theories about behavioral or psychological problems. A clinical psychologist uses the assessment results to form generalized opinions and treatment planning. Methods include clinical observation, formal testing methods, reviewing past records, physical examination, and interviews. Some of the various testing or assessment tools a clinical psychologist may use include achievement and intelligence tests commonly referred to as IQ tests. Clinical observation is another method that clinical psychologists use by observing patients behavior and using clinical interviews to gather data. The clinical psychologist looks at specific areas such as mood and affect; orientation; general behavior and appearance; communication content; perception; insight; comprehension; and memory. Neuropsychological tests measure a patient’s psychological functions, linked to a specific brain pathway or structure. They typically use neuropsychological tests to assess disablement after an illness or injury.

They project the job outlook for a clinical psychologist will continue growing steadily through 2014. This is partly due to the growing population and an increase in the need for psychology services. There are also job openings to replace clinical psychologist retiring within the next few years. Psychologists work in a variety of different settings such as hospitals, schools, private practice clinics, university medical centers, large corporations, and prisons.







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