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What is a clinical psychologist?


Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour.  Clinical psychology aims to reduce psychological distress and to enhance and promote psychological wellbeing. Clinical psychologists work with mental and physical health problems including anxiety, depression, relationship problems, behaviour issues, developmental challenges and relationships.  Clinical psychologists are trained to work with both adults and children.  Clinical psychologists are different to psychiatrists; they are not trained in medicine and biology.  

What training do clinical psychologists have?


Training to become a clinical psychologist involves a minimum of six years, full-time study at university. A three year undergraduate degree in psychology is followed by years of relevant work experience typically as an assistant psychologist or a researcher.  A three year, postgraduate doctorate in clinical psychology is then completed.


The doctorate in clinical psychology involves a combination of clinical placements in the NHS, academic study, and a research thesis.  Clinical placements make up the majority of the doctoral training, where trainee clinical psychologists work with adults and children in NHS services, under the close supervision of an experienced, qualified clinical psychologist.


Following completion of the doctorate, clinical psychologists are required to continually update their knowledge and skills through continuing professional development (CPD) and regular clinical supervision.


The training means that the interventions clinical psychologists offer are based on the most relevant research and literature, to ensure that their services are evidence-based.  As they are trained in different therapeutic approaches, this often means clinical psychologists can adapt and tailor interventions to the client and the presenting issue.  

Find out more about psychology here  
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