Clinical Psychologist

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Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists may work with individuals or groups and are trained to assess and diagnose major mental illness and psychological problems including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, adjustment disorders, sexual disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, dissociative disorders and childhood disorders.

Unlike psychiatrists, clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medications. Clinical psychologists use psychological therapies designed to change behaviours and emotional responses, drawing on evidence based theories and practices, tailored to meet the needs of clients. Interventions may include cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, narrative therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, solution-focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, emotion-focused therapy and hypnotherapy.

Clinical psychologists may work in public and private health systems or correctional services as a part of multidisciplinary teams that include psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Private practice is also an employment option for clinical psychologists. While clinical psychologists may work as generalists, they may also choose to specialise in a number of ways: working with particular client groups (children, adults, the aged); specialise in particular clinical disorders (eg eating disorders, anxiety disorders);  specialise in a particular treatment therapy (eg narrative, cognitive behaviour).

Clinical psychologists are also engaged in research, teaching and training activities such as professional supervision of psychologists in training, and may be called upon to provide expert opining in clinical and compensation areas.

Training requirements include a four year accredited psychology degree followed by a masters, doctorate in clinical psychology . Professional registration is required for work in Australia. For details on registration requirements for work in Australia see the Australian Psychology Board site.