What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?

Psychologists who deliver clinical or counseling services help people improve their mental health and enhance their quality of life. They may also conduct research or teach psychology students. Psychologists who deliver clinical or counseling services work in a wide range of settings, including private practice, hospitals, schools and universities. They often specialize in particular disorders, or groups of disorders, to broaden their knowledge and skills.

Are psychologists called doctors?

One of the main responsibilities of a clinical psychology is conducting psychological assessments, which involves administering and interpreting psychological tests or interviewing a client to understand the nature and severity of a mental disorder. This information allows psychologists to make a diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan. As a result, a clinical psychologist’s work tends to overlap with that of psychiatrists, who are medical doctors and can prescribe medication.

In therapy and treatment sessions, a clinical psychologist creates a safe environment in which a client can explore their emotions and thoughts to resolve their emotional distress or manage their mental illness. They employ a variety of evidence-based therapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy.

After completing their doctoral degrees, some clinical psychologists undertake a postdoctoral fellowship to gain hands-on experience in the field and learn about different therapeutic approaches. During their postdoctoral fellowship, clinical psychologists earn a salary while working under the guidance of a senior clinical psychologist. Many states require that a clinical psychologist obtain a license to work in the field, which requires them to complete supervised clinical hours and pass a national exam.

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