What Is Meant by Clinical Psychology?


Jane Flores

Clinical psychology is a specialized branch of psychology that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and emotional disorders. It involves the application of psychological principles, theories, and research to understand and explain human behavior in a clinical setting.

What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?

A clinical psychologist works with individuals, families, and groups to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions. They use a variety of techniques such as interviews, psychological testing, observation, and counseling to gather information about their clients’ thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and experiences.

Once a diagnosis has been made, a clinical psychologist may develop a treatment plan that includes various forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic therapy or humanistic therapy. They may also prescribe medication in conjunction with therapy.

Training Required for Clinical Psychologists

Becoming a clinical psychologist requires extensive education and training. Most clinical psychologists hold doctoral degrees in psychology or related fields. They must also complete an internship or residency program in which they work directly with patients under the supervision of licensed professionals.

In addition to formal education and training requirements, clinical psychologists must also obtain state licensure before they can practice independently. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically involve passing an exam and completing continuing education courses.

Clinical Psychology vs. Counseling Psychology

While both clinical psychology and counseling psychology involve the treatment of mental health conditions, there are some key differences between the two fields.

Clinical psychology tends to focus on more severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder while counseling psychology tends to focus on less severe conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Clinical psychologists often work in hospitals or other medical settings while counseling psychologists may work in private practice or community mental health centers.

The Benefits of Clinical Psychology

One of the primary benefits of clinical psychology is that it provides individuals with a safe and confidential space to discuss their mental health concerns. It also offers evidence-based treatment options that can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

In addition, clinical psychology can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by increasing public awareness and understanding of these conditions.


Clinical psychology is an important field that plays a critical role in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. By providing individuals with evidence-based treatment options and a safe space to discuss their concerns, clinical psychologists can help improve the lives of countless individuals and families.