A psychologist performs a wide variety of duties, many of which are related to clinical psychology. They may work in a clinical research laboratory, school or university, clinic, or other medical setting. But many of their patients are also regular citizens, often seeking psychological treatment as well. And they come from all walks of life, bringing many varied experiences and personalities with them. Some psychologists go on to become psychiatrists, while others teach at mental health clinics and hospitals.
A PhD in Clinical Psychology is the highest degree you can get to obtain a psychology degree. A doctorate involves further study in this field, having dissertation and final report to show that you have made significant contributions to your field. Your dissertation may be about a patient’s experience, or it may be an analysis of a behavioral sample. Many clinical psychologists have their own practices, working with patients and families. However, some work for larger institutions, such as hospitals or research facilities.
Most psychologists choose either the clinical or research route. The differences between these two paths can be significant in the career options you have thereafter. You may be an investigator looking for specific types of information, such as the physiological effects of a traumatic event for a child or adult. Or you may be interviewing victims of child abuse or studying why one personality holds a trait while another does not, in order to help those in other circumstances.
While it is possible to gain both of these degrees, the more education you have and the more specialized your area of specialization is likely to be, the more likely you will be to find employment and a high salary. Those trained in clinical psychology are most often able to find work in private practice. For this type of psychologist, a Master’s Degree is necessary, as is a Ph.D. The length of a program will depend on the level you wish to pursue, but generally runs from two to three years.
Those who specialize in counseling are usually called marriage counselors or marriage and family therapists. Those who work with the family in any of these specialty areas usually have a Master’s Degree, as well as additional training. Some mental health psychologists also choose to open their own practice, while others may work for larger agencies.
Those psychologists who work solely with those suffering from mental disorders have a very different set of duties than those who work with everyone. A psychologist who works in this area will perform a variety of tasks, including interviewing clients, conducting research, studying client treatment, evaluating client progress, and even helping write articles about mental disorders. You may even find a psychologist who will hold seminars for all of these areas. When a psychologist holds a seminar, he or she will talk about the diagnosis, treatments and prevention of mental illnesses. Then, he or she will talk about the reasons why these issues take place, the symptoms and behaviors associated with the illness, how the illness may be prevented, as well as share some of the success stories of other psychologists who have experienced and succeeded in treating different mental illnesses.
Many people confuse the roles of a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Psychologists tend to view the patient as a whole, whereas a psychiatrist sees the patient and tries to make sense of his or her mind and circumstances. A psychologist can prescribe medications, but a psychiatrist cannot. When it comes to psychotherapy, both the therapist and the psychiatrist are using to talk with the patients and helping them work through their problems.
There are several schools of thought about the educational requirements needed to become a psychologist. Most state colleges and universities do not require a formal psychology degree in order to practice, so if you want to work on psychosomatic methods, you do not have to get a degree in order to do so. However, many state colleges and universities do require a degree in school psychology, specifically a Bachelor of Science in Counseling, which is sometimes also called a BSci. A Bachelor’s Degree in School Psychology is one of the highest degrees you can get in psychology, but you do have to be willing to spend three years getting a BSci. The major courses you will take include Introduction to Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, Psychological Theory and Methods, and Social and Affective Psychology.