A clinical psychologist is able to assess your symptoms of psychological distress. Central to practice are psychological assessment, clinical formulation and psychotherapy. A clinical psychologist is able to make a diagnosis and work with you to develop a management plan for your treatment and recovery. Clinical psychologists do not prescribe medication, rather they use psychological techniques, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy to treat you.
While clinical psychology is focused on the assessment and evidence-based treatment of mental illness, clinical psychologists also work in private practice offering short-term and long-term outpatient services to clients who need help coping with all forms of psychological distress. Some clinical psychologists work in other settings, performing research, teaching university courses and offering consultation services.
Clinical psychologists have specific skills that they employ in their work, including:
- Understanding the broad expanse of mental health issues and how they may occur at any age.
- An extensive knowledge of mental illness and how to diagnose and treat it.
- Psychological tests in order to assess your problem and be more effective in understanding and treating patients
- Consulting with a variety of other health professionals and organisations about behaviour, emotions, and severe mental distress.
- Being able to perform research and collect data to enhance the understanding of clinical psychology.
Common reasons why someone might see a clinical psychologist include:
- Problems in adjusting to major life changes, stress or trauma
- Anxiety, worry or fear
- Depressed or low mood, or suicidal thinking
- Thoughts of hurting other people or hurting yourself on purpose
- Too much energy, being unable to sleep, wind down or relax
- Obsessional thinking
- Feeling on edge or jumpy
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Problem gambling, gaming or other addictive behaviours
- Problems around body image, eating or dieting
- Memory problems
- Poor concentration and attention, hyperactivity
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Conditions that start in childhood such as autism, intellectual disability, ADHD, learning difficulties or childhood anxiety
- Behaviour problems in children and adolescents
A clinical psychologist will only suggest treatments that are proven to be safe and effective (i.e. that are evidence based). (Source: https://acpa.org.au/what-is-a-clinical-psychologist/