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Guide to Clinical Psychology Phd Programs

For those looking for a suitable PhD program, clinical psychology would be a good consideration as it is a dynamic and rapidly developing field. That is great news for psychologists already in the field! The elucidations it gives regarding why we need so much therapy is yet another issue all together…

What Is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology can easily be said to be the “hands on, getting to know you” approach to psychology. There is a clear-cut difference between psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. Psychiatrists are doctors who have been trained medically with a specialty in psychology. Being medically trained, they have attended medical school for the required four years and also completed the 4 years of residency. In their approach to treatment, they use medication in addition to psychological treatment. On the other hand, the clinical psychologists work together with a myriad of other medical professionals for the patients’ well being. The professionals include occupational therapists, psychiatrists among others, depending on the patient’s needs and hence providing a multi-dimensional approach. They do not prescribe any kind of medication to their patients since they are not doctors per se. Clinical Psychologists are very good at analyzing and inferring various problems in patients and providing counseling skills; however there is much more to this profession than meets the eye. In addition to assessing disorders and problems, they also provide psychotherapy treatment, conduct research, focus on prevention, teach, work as consultants in businesses and schools as well as provide testimonies in court cases.

Why a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

Apart from having a plethora of patients in this discipline, by enrolling in a doctoral psychology degree program, you will have a wide array of career paths to follow after conferment of the certification. You may follow the following paths: research, counseling, business, health care, social services or education. Clinical psychology doctoral programs provide the scholars with various areas of specialization which include:

  • Children and Adolescents
  • Forensic
  • Relationships and/or Family
  • School
  • Specific Disorders (such as eating, phobias, or depression)
  • Sports
  • And more

Like most doctoral programs, there are two main types of advanced degrees with Clinical Psychology.

A PhD in Clinical Psychology means that you will largely be concerned with research and teaching techniques in order to graduate. This is an ideal path for those wishing to gain professorship later on down the road. A Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology is a path which will equip you with knowhow for practical application. This is ideal for those with people skills and who love working directly with patients in the healthcare niche or providing counseling services. As mentioned before, there is a great difference between a PhD in Psychology and a PhD in Clinical Psychology. For further clarification you may search for our article on PhD in Psychology or look it up on the World Wide Web.

What You’ll Learn in a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program

If you go for the practical application of Clinical Psychology your education is going to heavily center on the area of assessment. It is only by being a master of assessing your patients’ problems and needs that will enable you to treat them effectively. You will be equipped with various assessment techniques, like:

  • Clinical Observation
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Personality Tests

Techniques for assessing a patient range from dozens to thousands, but the above mentioned are among the most practiced. In your course of study, you will also be taught how to handle clinical sessions, ethics and much more. Enrolling for a clinical psychology doctoral program and taking it to the end is no doubt a rigorous and time consuming affair. The best part of it is that it is worth the struggle! Virtually all Clinical Psychologists attest to the fact that they get job satisfaction. You may be asking yourself where and how they come by this job satisfaction. Think about it. You engage in one-on-one interactions with people to enable them to lead better and productive lives. Another great aspect regarding Clinical Psychology is that you never stop learning: hence contributing to diversity. Each encounter with a new patient makes you learn something new about human nature and thus making your career interesting if not satisfying!

After leaving school, you have to be licensed in your state in order to practice. To get the license, you are required to pass an oral examination and usually an oral one. The Clinical Psychology field is regulated in the United States to ensure that the professionals maintain the high standards that they ought to. So you may ask, ‘Is enrolling for a Clinical Psychology doctoral program worth the trouble?’ You bet it is!!

If money motivates you, then you should be taken by the fact that starting salaries for Clinical Psychologists are around $54,000. According the United States Department of Labor and Statistics, 40% of Clinical Psychologists are self employed in private practice. If you want to have Wednesdays and Fridays off – with your private practice, you can!!

Additional Clinical Psychology Information:

  • American Academy of Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology – Wikipedia
  • International Society of Clinical Psychology
  • Society of Clinical Psychology