What is a Clinical Psychologist?

A Clinical Psychologist is a healthcare professional with a postgraduate qualification in the application of evidence-based psychological approaches to clinical problems. All Clinical Psychologists must initially obtain a degree in psychology, followed by clinical or research experience, and finally undertake formal postgraduate clinical training. Therefore training to be a Clinical Psychologist takes between seven and nine years to complete.

The doctoral training which Clinical Psychologists are required to complete is very comprehensive in that they complete placements with people of all ages and with a wide range of problems including mental health problems, cognitive problems (for example memory difficulties following a head injury), problems adjusting to physical illnesses and psychological difficulties in childhood. They are trained in a range of psychotherapeutic approaches including cognitive-behaviour therapy, psychodynamic and systemic theory, meaning they can tailor the treatment approach to suit individual requirements.

Clinical Psychologists complete a detailed assessment of the presenting problem and use up-to-date research to understand the problems and guide their interventions.  As scientist-practitioners, Clinical Psychologists evaluate their interventions using feedback, goals set at the start of therapy and standardised questionnaires.

As well as developing expertise in psychological assessment and intervention, Clinical Psychologists specialise in providing consultation, supervision, audit and research.

It is a requirement of Clinical Psychologists to stay up-to-date with current research and thinking and they have to complete a continuing professional development folder each year to demonstrate this.