Becoming a Clinical Psychologist
The word psychology can translate to mean “the science of the soul.” Since Aristotle, psychology has become both a science and a profession. As a profession, it is the application of understanding people and their behavior to help solve human problems (Careers, 1993). A psychologist usually concentrates on one specialty that is of particular interest. There are many different fields of psychology to study. Clinical psychologists work with people with emotional and mental problems (Career Discovery, 1997).
A clinical psychologist basically prevents, evaluates, and treats mental and emotional disorders in individuals. “Disorders range from minor problems of adjustment and normal psychological distress related to biological growth, to more severe conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and those requiring patient institutionalization” (Specialty, 1995). People who want to work in this field must be emotionally stable and personable. “Patience, compassion, sensitivity, and leadership skills are especially important in a clinical setting” (Specialty, 1995).
Responsibilities include determining the nature, cause, and possible effects of individual conflicts and distress, whether they are personal, social, or work related (Specialty, 1995). While judging disorders, clinical psychologists interview patients and observe their behavior in individual situations (Meggyes, 1998). Patient’s medical and social case histories are reviewed and then sometimes-suitable aptitude tests, personality tests, interest inventories, and achievement tests are given to the patient. Clinical psychologists work with people of all ages and maturation levels. On the other hand, they might focus their attention toward a particular group like families or prison inmates. Some evens specialize in treating certain disorders. Many clinical psychologists conduct research and print their data. Examples of topics studied include the causes of depression or the development of phobias. Other clinical psychologists teach and guide students of clinical psychology in an academic surrounding (Specialty, 1995).
The working conditions for a clinical psychologist is mostly the same as a psychologist in any other field of study. Clinical psychologists work in comfortable office settings, classrooms, or laboratories. Some that are in a private practice choose to set their own hours, but may have to work evenings and weekends to accommodate client schedules. For clinical psychologists that teach at places of education, they might divide their time between teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities (Specialty, 1995).
A clinical psychologist needs at least a Masters degree in clinical psychology and a postgraduate diploma in clinical psychology (Hinengaro, 1998). More than 60 percent, though, of all people who work in psychology hold a doctorate degree (Hopke, 1993). In clinical psychology the requirements for the Ph. D. or Psy. D....