Clinical psychology is a blend of psychology, medicine, and clinical experience for the purpose of promoting personal growth, understanding, and preventing or curing psychologically-based emotional distress or dysfunction. As the most widely researched area of psychology, clinical psychology has become increasingly more important with the development of psychological science in recent decades, with a greater emphasis on research and learning, and more people applying for employment in the mental health field, requiring a comprehensive knowledge of this discipline. For those working within this discipline, the role is a multifaceted one that requires both theoretical and practical skills. Those who practice within this discipline should be in a position to identify the needs of clients in order to help them achieve their personal goals, such as improving relationships with colleagues and family members, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving their work productivity, performance, and job satisfaction.
Clinical psychology can refer to any of a number of areas within the mental health profession, including clinical psychology, clinical social work, and clinical social medicine. It is important to understand that clinical psychology encompasses a wide range of professional services for clients in a variety of settings, including health care settings, residential and community-based facilities, school districts, correctional centers, prisons, retirement homes, and hospitals. Clients typically seek counseling, therapy, individual or group therapy, medication, or some combination of counseling and therapy. The client often makes requests regarding a variety of areas that include his or her health, academic, occupational, or lifestyle needs. In addition, clients may also make requests regarding the professional support that they require, such as professional references, job reference, or access to specific health care professionals or therapists.
There are numerous levels of education required for entry into the clinical psychology profession. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree required to enter into the field. Courses in clinical psychology must include an introduction to clinical psychology, which address the historical context of the field, as well as coursework related to clinical practice. Those who have a master’s degree may choose to specialize in a specific area of clinical psychology, or they may choose to teach within this area. Clinical psychology graduates may choose to work in hospital environments or in private practice, as many practitioners today work within the private sector. and often have their own practices.