Clinical Psychology Essay, Research Paper
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. degree usually include one year of internship or supervised experience. Also, “the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology offers diplomas in clinical, counseling, industrial organizational, and school psychology to those people with a doctoral degree with outstanding educational records and experience who can pass the required psychology examinations” (Hopke, 1993). All states require psychologists to be licensed or certified by a state board to practice independent, unsupervised psychology (Specialty, 1995).
Bowling Green University, Notre Dame, and University of Florida (U.F.) are just a few of the colleges that offer degrees in psychology. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at U.F. There are two degree options available at U.F. They are the Master of Arts in Education and Specialist in Education, and a Ph.D. For students who enter Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree, it will take six years to complete. For those who enter with a masters or masters’ specialist degree it will take two to three years to complete. The program consists of a general psychology core curriculum, a clinical psychology core, required research projects, a sequence of required clinical practice, a series of advanced elective courses, an area of concentration, and an APA-accredited internship in clinical psychology. The program is designed as a five-year intensive program of study, practice, and research. (Doctoral Program).
Salaries of clinical psychologists do depend on educational level, work experience, and employer. In the early 1990s the median salary for clinical psychology was around $40,000. Salaries in the Midwest started at a low of $25,560 for beginning psychologists, to $60, 900 for those in executive position (Specialty, 1995). Today, Clinical psychologists with a doctoral degree and one year of internship start at $31,000 or $37,300 depending on other qualifications (Careers, 1993).
Richard Siegert is a clinical psychologist based in Victoria University’s Psychology Department, where he is head of the Clinical Psychology section. “ ‘It wasn’t something I planned. I guess like a lot of people, psychology was just something I stumbled across at university trying to figure out what I was going to do’”(Hinengaro, 1998a). Completing a Bachelor of Science in psychology at Victoria University, Richard then did his Master of Social Science degree and clinical diploma at Waikato University before finding work with the Justice Department as a psychologist. “’I’ve probably done more than most by mixing the clinical and the academic. I’ve done more on the academic side, but most people would do their degree and just go into practice rather than hop between them like I did’” (Hinengaro, 1998a). Richard keeps interest in psychology because of the diversity of the subject. “’It’s impossible to keep up with everything that’s happening. I’ve tried but now I’m just specializing in the one area, and even that’s just exploding’” (Hinengaro, 1998a).
Employment of psychologists is predicted to grow from 125,000 in 1990 to 204,000 in 2005, an expansion of 63.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment outlook is best for those with doctorate degrees, which normally encounter a very low unemployment rate. Due to descending college registration, academic jobs are not expected to feel much growth through the 1990s. Except in positions in other areas, such as healthcare, business, and government, are predicted to grow. Bachelor’s degree holders can expect to acquire very few jobs directly related to psychology. Some may find jobs as assistants in rehabilitation centers, or in other jobs involving data collection and analysis. Those who meet State certification requirements may become high school psychology teachers (Specialty, 1995).
Clinical psychology is applied psychology which incorporates the theoretical bases and scientific methods of psychology into the treatment of psychological problems. Clinical psychology is just one of several sub fields of psychology. Other occupations in the field include community psychologists, counseling psychologists, developmental psychologists, experimental psychologists, and neuropsychologists. Psychiatrists, social workers, and special education teachers are also in relation the psychology field.
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