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Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists aim to reduce psychological distress and enhance and promote psychological well-being.

They work with people with mental or physical health problems which might include:

    • anxiety and depression
    • serious and enduring mental illness
    • adjustment to physical illness
    • neurological disorders
    • addictive behaviours
    • childhood behaviour disorders
    • personal and family relationships.

They often work with people throughout their lives and with people who have learning disabilities.

Working as a clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists work largely in health and social care settings, including:

    • hospitals
    • health centres
    • community mental health teams
    • child and adolescent mental health services
    • social services.

They will often work alongside other professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

To assess a client, a clinical psychologist may undertake a clinical assessment, using a variety of methods including, psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation of behaviour. Assessment may lead to therapy, counselling or advice.

Due to their high level of research skills, clinical psychologists undertake the role of scientist-practitioner, as an innovator and applied researcher, adding to the evidence base of practice in a variety of health care settings.

Clinical psychologists may undertake further training to work as a high intensity therapist as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.