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Career as a Clinical Psychologist

1. Who is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical psychology is a subfield of psychology discipline which specializes in assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic and research methods. The field involves continuous and comprehensive mental and behavioural health care.A clinical psychologist’s works on mental, emotional and behavioural health of human population. A licensed professional assesses and after thorough analysis uses their skills to help clients improve quality of life and to face and work through issues. A licensed clinical psychologist is registered under RCI(Rehabilitation Council of India).

2. What does a Clinical Psychologistdo?

A clinical psychologist functions as a professional that guides a client with mental, emotional and behavioural issues to improve quality of life and work through them. The role of clinical psychologists involves a wide range of aspects which are:

a. Identifying issues related to various aspects of a client’s life. It can be emotional, mental and behavioral aspects of life. The issues can be identified through different methods which includes observations, psychological tests and interviews etc.

b. Diagnosis by clinical psychologists involves identification of the nature and determining the possible cause of an issue. The diagnosis is based on thorough analysis by use of psychometric testing, observations , case studies etc.

c. Developing treatment plans and implementing therapeutic process. A licensed professional along with the client’s decides the treatment process and provides psychotherapy.

d. Assists clients in improving quality of life. Clinical psychologists help clients define goals and formulate action plans to achieve personal, social, educational, vocational development and adjustments ability.

e. Monitor progress through sessions. The professionals keep a track on the improvement and changes in behavior through planned sessions. They also check the efficiency of the treatment plan.

f. In educational institutes. Clinical psychologists also take on the role of teachers in many institutes.

g. Researches. Clinical psychologists often involve themselves in conducting extensive researches and work towards getting it published.

Types of Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychology is a broad subfield of psychology discipline which is further divided based on the specialization. There are different clinical psychologists based on the specializations which consists of:

· Neuropsychologist- A degree in clinical psychology allows one to further specialize in neuropsychology. One from this field usually works on brain, nervous system and their effects on cognition and behaviours.

· Experimental psychologist-Experimental Psychologists further explore a variety of aspects from abnormal behavior, learning disability to cognitive behavior through researches involving various methods such as case studies, longitudinal studies, medical instruments etc.

· Rehabilitating psychologist- Rehabilitating psychologists work in different institutions working as advocates with persons with disabilities to eliminate attitudinal, policy, and physical barriers, and to emphasize employment, environmental access, and social role and community integration.

· Clinical case manager – It involves providing direct counseling through mental health services, addiction recovery support, treatment for serious or chronic health conditions.

· Child psychologists - Child psychologists are responsible for studying, analyzing, and diagnosing the mental, social, and emotional development and behavior of children from birth through adolescence.

· Special education teacher- A professional in this field works with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities.

3. Working Conditions

The workplace for clinical psychologists includes a number of institutions including private clinics. They can be employed in private offices, in schools and universities as counselors or teachers, in clinics and hospitals as psychologists assisting in assessment and diagnosis along with therapeutic processes, rehabilitation facilities involving working towards better adjustment and recovery process, community and mental health centers for families , individuals and community working towards improving quality of life. Clinical psychologists usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week on a nine-to-five basis. However, some psychologists may be required to work in shifts from time to time, handling emergencies during late evenings, weekends and national holidays. Some may work in extensive research fields associated with institutions. Some psychologists work independently, conducting research, consulting with clients, or working with patients. Others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and social workers, or in school settings, working with students, teachers, parents, and other educators. Those in private practice often work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients.

4. Knowledge areas required

The knowledge areas required for a Clinical Psychology includes:

a. Understanding of psychopathology and diagnostic/intervention considerations.

b. Mental health issues across the lifespan based on a solid understanding of psychopathology.

c. Assessment: ability to integrate and synthesize personality test data with additional standardized assessment measures.

d. Consultation: ability to consult with other health and behavioral health care professionals and organizations regarding severe psychopathology, suicide and violence.

e. Research Base: engagement with specific research and critical review of science, knowledge and methods pertaining to those areas identified as distinct to clinical psychology.

5. Skillsrequired

The role of a clinical psychologists is to

. The skills required are:

a. Communication Skills-

· Friendly approach and the ability to put clients at ease, whatever their physical or social needs

· A high level of patience

· A responsible and flexible attitude to clients and the job

· The ability to maintain calm composure

b. Observation skills-

· The ability to be tactful and sensitive at all times.

· Attentive and notice every little change so that they can communicate accordingly

c. Critical thinking

· The ability to carefully observe and analyze critically the information that one receives

· Reasoning and logical ability

· To identify and diagnose behavioural issues

· To formulate unique therapeutic path for each client

d. Research skill

· Ability to work on a range of behavioral topics

· Work for long hours on data collection method and analyzing them

· Sensitivity and dedication towards the field

· Operationalize behavioural phenomenon

e. Problem solving Ability

· Ability to identify behavioural issues and accordingly develop plans

· Evaluate and make sound decisions

· Implementing solutions

6. Technologyskills

The technological skills required for a clinical psychologist are:

· Use of Statistical softwares for data analysis

· Computerized psychometric testing

· Report Writing softwares

· Texting and Online Data collection

· Video calling applications

7. Personality

The role of a clinical psychologist ranges over broad aspects of client’s life. So, a clinical psychologists needs to have following characteristics:

a. Compassion – psychologists must possess the ability to relate and show deep awareness towards client’s sufferings

b. Empathy- Psychologists must be able to understand the situation of client’s issues and can feel themselves in their shoes

c. Dedication- One must be able to show diligence or devotion towards their work

d. Hard work- one should work consistently in this field

e. Emotional Stability- Psychologists must be able to have high emotional intelligence which includes awareness of one self as well as other’s emotion

f. Patience – One should possess the ability to maintain calm composure and be patient while dealing with clients as well as understanding human behavioural phenomenon.

g. Sensitivity- The ability to observe each minute detail of a client and show responsiveness accordingly.

h. Social skills- One of the most important skill involves forming interpersonal relationships, communication skills and ability to engage in social acts.

i. A sense of duty- Psychologists need to show responsibility and value for ethics.

j. Deliberate – they need to have ability to show consideration before planning to act out.

k. Pro social behavior- One must be able to show a helping nature towards people and societies.

8. Education

The education qualification required for this job entails:

a. 10th Pass

b. 12th/ Intermediate in any stream- Psychology as subject is preferable

c. Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, sociology ,social work or any other branch is needed

d. Master’s Degree in psychology. One can have specialization in the course and must do clinic hours as an intern for the degree

e. Ph.D or Psy. D – A doctorate degree involving 4-5 years of work under RCI is a must for a licensed clinical psychologist

f. License by RCI – A license by RCI can be obtained through a doctorate degree in RCI approved institute or a test for the license is needed.

9. JobOutlook

There exists a diverse job opportunity for clinical psychologists. They can work in various institutions including clinics, hospitals, schools, colleges , community centres, mental health centres or rehabilitation facilities. One can also run their own private clinics. Employment of psychologists is projected to grow 14 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for those who have a doctoral degree in an applied specialty.

The average salary found for clinical psychologists in India is 3.3 lakhs per annum. The daily wage is around 750 per day.

10. Frequently Asked Questions

a. Is psychologist same as psychiatrist?

No. A psychologist is different from psychiatrist in terms of knowledge and training methods. A Psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor (M.D.) who has graduated from a medical school. A psychiatrist’s training focuses on general medicine while in medical school. They will then go on to 3-4 years of residency where they will specialize in psychiatry. The psychiatrist normally prescribed medications. However, a psychologist has a Master’s degree in Psychology and works on behavioral modification related aspects of a client.

b. How is a counselor different from clinical Psychologist?

Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Clinical psychologists help people deal with problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions. Counseling psychologists help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, at the workplace, or in their community. Through counseling, these psychologists work with patients to identify their strengths or resources they can use to manage problems.

c. How is Ph.D. different from Psy. D doctorate degree?

A PhD in Psychology, or a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, which is a research-focused doctorate appropriate for professors of psychology, researchers, as well as practitioners

A PsyD, or Doctor of Psychology, which is a practice-focused doctorate specifically aimed at practitioners and clinicians.

d. Where can one pursue Master’s in Clinical Psychology?

One can obtain a master’s degree through many institutions. The Master’s degree includes specialization and an internship term under supervision for the degree of 2 years. Few universities which can be listed are

· TISS, Mumbai- Private University

· DU, Delhi – Central University

· BHU, Banaras- Central University

· Central Universities of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana etc.

· Christ University, Bangalore- Private University

e. Where can one obtain a license from RCI?

One can obtain a license from RCI through obtaining a degree through RCI recognized institutes or by appearing for a license test.

f. Which Institutes are RCI approved?

These institutions are RCI approved:-

1. Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoli Regional Institute of Mental Health - Tezpur, Assam

2. Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh

3. Post Graduate Institute of Behavioral & Medical Sciences, Chattisgarh

4. Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) , Delhi

5. PGIMER, New Delhi

6. Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar

7. Pt. B. D. Sharma, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana

8. Amity University, Gurgaon

9. Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University, Gurgaon

10. Postgraduate Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Rainawari, Srinagar

11. Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Allied Sciences (RINPAS), Ranchi

12. Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) , Ranchi

13. School of Allied Health Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal

14. Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara Medical College, Mysuru

15. Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (DIMHANS), Dharwad (Karnataka)

16. Amrita School of Medicine, AIMS, Kochi, Kerala

17. Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (IMHANS), Kozhikode, Kerala

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