Clinical psychology is an integration of social science, theory, and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation, and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also utilise their skills and training in other areas such as in research, teaching and consultation.
Clinical psychologists work to improve mental wellbeing and reduce psychological distress by:
- Improving the psychological health & performance of individuals, families, organisations & communities through skilled, knowledge-based services;
- Innovating in response to clients’ needs & thereby developing applications of psychology & related disciplines;
- Designing, developing & supporting accessible services to support these innovations.
Clinical psychologists are highly trained professionals, who undergo a minimum of seven years’ pre-registration training in order to qualify and practice clinical psychology.
In the UK, they undertake a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych), which is a practitioner doctorate with both clinical and research components accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Entry into these programs is highly competitive and requires at least a three-year undergraduate degree in psychology along with some form of experience, usually in either the NHS or in academia as a Research Assistant. Only those who successfully complete clinical psychology doctoral degrees are eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC as a clinical psychologist.