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What is Clinical psychology

Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychological distress. Clinical psychologists provide psychotherapy, psychological testing, and diagnosis of mental illness.


Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, Great Britain included, Clinical Psychology is regulated as a health care profession. All Clinical Psychologists in Great Britain have to register with the Health Care Professionals Council.  If you want to check whether a psychologist is legally registered, from 1 July 2009 you can enter their details on the website of the Health Care Professions Council

How dose someone become a Clinical  Psychologist ?

In order to become a Clinical Psychologist, an individual must first obtain an undergraduate degree in Psychology followed by one to five years clinical and/or research experience. Individuals must then complete a 3 year Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology. This course includes teaching and practice in applying the science and art of psychology to clinical problems.


Many Clinical Psychologists continue their professional development by attending further training in specific types of therapy or working with particular client groups.

Whats the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist ?

Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists often work closely together, they work with the same populations of people but their roles are quite different. A Psychiatrist is medically trained and will use their knowledge of medicine, human biology and genetics to help them understand a person’s problem. They may prescribe medication, for example an anti-depressant to help a person who was experiencing low mood.


A Clinical Psychologist will use their knowledge of psychology, human behaviours, emotions and cognitions (thoughts) to help them understand a person’s problem. They may deliver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to a person who is experiencing low mood. 


A person can receive medication and therapy at the same time. Sometimes this can be a useful way to work, but people do not have to be on medication to benefit from psychological therapy.

Whats the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Counsellor ?

Clinical psychologists have extensive training in assessing a wide range of psychological difficulties and determining the most appropriate form of help. They are also trained in and able to provide more than one type of therapy so they can adapt the therapy to each client. Therapists and counsellors, on the other hand, usually specialise in providing one particular type of therapy, like Pychodynamic Pychotherapy, or Counselling, or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. They will often use the same therapeutic approach to work with their clients.

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