Clinical psychology is the application of psychology to the analysis, research and treatment of severe mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It is different to counseling psychology, which deals with everyday stresses, including learning difficulties, marriage guidance and family difficulties.
Practitioners in this field deal with patients suffering with acute psychiatric disorders. A psychiatric disorder refers to a chronic mental illness and not just a psychological problem. Some common conditions include schizophrenia, major depression disorder, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders. Most of these conditions require ongoing counseling as well as drug therapy to keep the patients stabilized. Psychological problems don’t always occur as a result of emotional trauma, they can be caused by physical injuries.
As a graduate of a clinical psychology masters, you will be well prepared to diagnose behavioral and mental disorders, make assessments, and administer therapy – but a doctorate is really required to progress in this field. This page has details of the programs, where they can be studied, career prospects, and more …
What do you study in the programs?
Clinical psychology began in 1896 with the work of Lightner Witmer on learning disabilities. Other psychologists followed with their own theories and treatments of educational and other psychological disturbances. There are now many theories and approaches to clinical psychology, and degree programs may vary slightly as to the content and specializations offered, depending on the research interests of the faculty.
Clinical psychology graduate programs focus on the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders, abnormal behavior and psychiatric problems. A typical Masters program may include: biological basis of behavior, the developmental approach, cognitive approach, clinical psychology, human motivation, culture and psychology, contemporary issues in psychology, theories of psychotherapy, principles of psychopathology, statistics, research design, psychological testing. A thesis may be required in addition or in place of some of the courses.
Make sure the program you take is accredited by an appropriate accrediting body, such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and the American Psychological Association (APA).
What is the job of a clinical psychologist like?
This type of psychologist can work in a number of environments. These include clinics, counseling centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practices, partnership practices, or in industry and commerce. With a masters in clinical psychology (MA, MS or MSc clinical psychology), you can become a guidance counselor, educator, clinical psychologist, social worker, research psychologist and more. Without a masters or PhD in clinical psychology you would only be qualified to work as a clinical psychology assistant. For the best jobs you really need a clinical doctorate in psychology.
For this career, you must have exceptional communication skills. Determining the right approach to treatment requires creativity so this is also an essential skill. The life of a clinical psychologist can be richly rewarding and very demanding. Therefore, before embarking on your studies, it is advisable to contact a human services provider and offer to do some voluntary work. This is an excellent way to find out if you are a suitable candidate.
Like every line of work, this job has its benefits and downsides. The main benefit is seeing people overcome their problems because of your input. The job is challenging and will enable you to look for creative solutions. Another major benefit is that this is a career that offers self-employment opportunities.
One of the biggest downsides is the amount of paperwork required. Extensive patient records have to be kept because these are often required by insurance companies. Also, being a therapist is so demanding that you may at risk of burnout. A clinical psychologist has to work long hours with patients, many of whom are unstable, hostile, and argumentative.
What are the prospects with a clinical psychology masters?
The American Psychological Association says that psychology is the third fastest-growing field in America requiring a college degree. Graduates with a master’s degree can expect to find a wide and varied choice of job opportunities. With access to psychological health care increasing in the USA, the demand for qualified clinicians and therapists is rising. Some therapists are employed in the business sector, government, and education. With a master’s level qualification, you may also pursue a career in social services.
Other titles that fall under the umbrella of clinical psychology are clinician, counselor, and social worker. A clinician diagnoses, assesses, and treats patients with emotional or mental illnesses. A counselor tends to work more with people who have psychological problems that are interfering with their daily lives. Generally, they do not work with psychiatric illnesses.
A graduate with a clinical psychology masters degree may also be employed by a social welfare agency. He or she diagnoses and treats patients who have been referred to the agency. In the USA, a social work graduate is permitted to work in all 50 states. The average salary of a clinical psychologist varies between $51,748 and $91,732, although some salaries can top the $170,000 mark in certain working environments like the corporate sector.
List of clinical psychology schools and programs
An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. We serve more than 36,000 students from the U.S. and around the world and offer more than 140 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 20 certificate programs.
- MS - Clinical Psychology
- MS - Psychology
One of the world's leading private research institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880. What began as an academic institution of just 53 students has now grown to more than 38,000. Today USC continues to uphold its tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, fostering a vibrant culture of public service and encouraging students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.
- Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- General Psychology - MA in Psychology
- Health Psychology - MA in Psychology
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- M.S. in Psychology: General Psychology
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- MS in Psychology - General Psychology
- MS in Psychology
- MS in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization