Clinical psychology

Clinical psychology is one of the most prominent specialty areas in psychology today. Clinical psychology focuses and strives to understand, assess and treat psychological and behavioral problems and disorders (Plante, 2010). According to Bedi (2012), “Clinical psychology is a broad approach to human problems . . . with regard to numerous populations. ” Furthermore, analyzing the methods in which the human psyche interacts with emotional, physical and social facets of health dysfunction is a priority in clinical psychology.

Clinical psychology utilizes assessment and treatment approaches supported by social factors and research and statistics to offer optimal care and modern methods to patients (Plante, 2010). History of Clinical Psychology Clinical psychology’s vast history highlights the early influences from early Greek philosophers to Sigmund Freud, to today’s modern area of psychology. Early influences that contributed to psychology were based in philosophy and science.

However, the main driving force was the overwhelming desire to understand the mind- body connection and abnormal behavior that lead to this ever evolving field (Plante, 2010) Greek philosophers were crucial in the development of multi-approaches to illness and were responsible for highlighting the biopsychosocial perspective. Although the Greeks supported the idea that the gods controlled health and illness, they saw beyond this and explored biological, psychological, and social influences on illness. The Greeks were pioneers in that they realized the existence of a mind-body connection.

They felt healing could occur in an environment similar to that of today’s resort environment; ill patients would bathe, pray, eat special foods, and have their dreams analyzed (Plante, 2010). One of the most famous Greeks “Hippocrates” theorized that disease was the result of an imbalance of four bodily fluids (humors), rather than spiritual factors. This imbalance caused psychological maladjustment such as anger, irritability, and sadness. Along with Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle viewed the spirit or soul as the director of the body, and that issues that resided in the soul could cause physical illness.

During the Middle- Ages mental and physical illness were viewed as result of a flawed character. Furthermore, insanity or diseases were believed to be caused by spirits or demons and atonement was the only form of treatment. Later, the Renaissance brought a re-emergence of the physical and medical worlds setting aside religious or spiritual views. New discoveries in mathematics, chemistry, and physics resulted in biomedical reductionism in that mental disease could be understood through observation and experiment rather than spiritual and metaphysical beliefs (Plante, 2010).

Approaches however, to the mentally ill were very inhumane during this period, but because of the works of Pinel, Rush, and Bernard, more humane methods were established to alleviate and treat psychological dysfunction rather than separating and restraining the mentally ill. Finally, Wundt’s publishing of The Elements of Psychophysics in 1850; James’s Principles of Psychology in 1890; and the first Psychological laboratory by Wundt commenced the founding of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1892.

Four years later in 1896, the first clinic was opened by Lightner Witmer igniting clinical psychology’s beginnings. Unfortunately not everyone was excited about this new area of psychology. Many psychologists disagreed that the principles of human behavior should be applied to clinical situations. Many viewed this as a step backwards from understanding human behavior and more towards abnormal psychology and pathology (Plante, 2010). Fortunately by 1904, despite the friction and controversy in the field, the first clinical psychology classes commenced.

Later, solidifying the need and creating an even greater demand for clinical psychology was both world wars; over forty thousand veterans were hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. These veterans required psychometric assessments and psychiatric care. In response to the wars, the need for qualified mental health professionals resulted in the creation of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The newly organized institute developed grant programs to assist in training clinical psychologist, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers.

This program grew quickly attracting major funding and new students creating the need for new training programs and guidelines. Ultimately, the APA realized the need for standards regulating these training programs and guidelines for clinical psychology. The APA committee on training in clinical psychology was headed by David Shakow and these initiatives became the gold standard for clinical training and the determining factor of whether federal monies would be used to support graduate training programs. More importantly, the APA established the requirement that clinical psychologists be trained as both scientists and clinicians.

These guidelines lead to the most influential and critical training conference in the history of psychology; “The 1949 Boulder Conference” where the advised model of clinical training was formally adopted (Plante, 2010). Evolving Nature of Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychology is ever evolving. Social, scientific, economic, and diversity factors result in a need for flexible applications and education. Many changes and challenges warrant such flexibility such as cultural sensitivity; changing trends in professional training and privacy issues that affect the study and practice of clinical psychology.

According to Ryder (2011), “For its part, clinical psychology insists on the importance of individual people, while also extending the range of human variation. ” Furthermore, scientific advances in modern medicine and neuroscience lead the pathway for new discoveries about the human brain and its connection to behavior supporting the need to evolve. Modern clinical psychology incorporates and embraces the scientific advances of research and modern medicine, while embodying a deep understanding of the human and spiritual psyche, which is dynamic in nature (Plante, 2010).

Role of Research and Statistics in Clinical Psychology The main goal of research in clinical psychology is to utilize the outcomes to enhance the lives of individuals, families, and groups. Research can be designed to find answers to clinical problems, assess disorders and prescribe treatment. Furthermore, research is crucial to a better understanding of human behavior and to discovering improved assessment techniques and treatments that are reliable and valid (Plante, 2010). Clinical psychologists conduct research in many ways and settings.

A clinical psychologist can be found doing research in universities, schools, clinics, and military environments. Research by clinicians can be done in many forms such as questionnaires and laboratory experiments (observations) with people or animals. Knowledge or skill in research is vital for clinical psychologists regardless if they conduct research regularly. Clinicians must be able to apply new findings and discoveries from research and incorporate it to patient assessment, care and treatment (Plante, 2010).

Statistics is the method utilized by researchers to check the reliability and validity of theories and statements formulated from research. Statistics solidifies clinical psychology as a science offering statistical data through significance and correlation. Furthermore, statistics can offer predictable results through quantitive data and determine whether those results can be applied to a larger population. Finally, statistics can offer clinicians confidence in knowing they are utilizing proven therapies and treatments supported by the methods of science (Plante, 2010). Clinical Psychology and other Mental Health Professions

Understanding the differences between clinical psychology and other related fields in the mental health industry can be quite an endeavor; particularly when many of these fields share activities such as conducting psychotherapy, assessing mental disorders and prescribing treatment (Plante, 2010). Counseling Psychologists (PhD) In comparison of actual practice, counseling psychologists are the most similar to clinical psychologists. Education requirements are similar; however, clinical psychologists complete a one-year clinical internship and postdoctoral training prior to licensing.

Historically, the differences between clinical and counseling psychology were vastly larger in comparison to today. Originally, counseling psychologists practiced in vocational or college settings. Today, counseling psychologist can be found in hospitals, clinics, private practice, and industry. In many states, clinical and counseling psychologists practice under the same license. Many authors and practitioners in the field believe that the distinctions between the two (i. e. separate training programs), are unnecessary (Plante, 2010).

Social Work (MSW) The focus, education and training of social workers have evolved over time. Historically, social work has centered on patient case management (i. e. assisting patients in transitioning to work or treatment following discharge), or a liaison to social services and benefits. Clinical psychologists; however, have focused on psychological theories and interventions historically. However, over time social work has turned its description and field towards the treatment of people similar to that of a counseling psychologist.

The social worker of today not only focuses on social theories but may perform other roles such as psychotherapy and administration in hospitals or social service settings. Education requirements are similar as well; a bachelor’s degree and a two-year graduate program is required; however, comprehensive training in research or psychological testing instruments is not mandatory (Plante, 2010). Psychiatrist (MD) The field of psychiatry is medically based. Psychiatrists are primarily medical practitioners who earn a medical degree and complete their instruction in psychiatry.

Psychiatrists and clinical psychologist have similar graduation time requirements; however, a bachelor’s degree in pre-medical related fields is required for psychiatrists, following four years of medical school. Both are required a one-year internship; however, psychiatry focuses on general medical rather than psychiatric training. As physicians psychiatrists can prescribe medicine, assess and treat physical and mental illnesses, and utilize a variety of biological interventions. Their main focus is clinical diagnosis and psychopathology (Plante, 2010).

School Psychology (MA or PhD) As the title suggest, school psychologists generally work in secondary, elementary or special education schools. School psychologists provide some counseling, cognitive testing, and consulting to teachers, administrators, and parents. School psychologists also assist children with various special education needs such as: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities (i. e. dyslexia) or mental retardation. Doctorate level degrees are available for school psychologists who are interested in research, academics or administration.

Psychologists who are interested in practice with children and families generally choose MA programs (Plante, 2010). Conclusion Clinical psychology has taken many forms throughout history; however, its main focus to assess, treat and understand psychological phenomena has never shifted. Like other natural sciences, clinical psychology solidifies itself as a discipline through research and statistics by supporting its methods and theories with quantitive data. Clinical psychology is an evolving field that fluctuates with the many changes and challenges of society’s social, economic, and diversity factors.

References Bedi, R. P. , Klubben, L. M. , & Barker, G. T. (2012). Counseling vs. Clinical: A Comparison of Psychology Doctoral Programs in Canada. Canadian Psychology, 53(3), 228-253. doi:10. 1037/a0028558 Plante, Thomas. G. (2010). What is Contemporary Clinical Psychology? (3rd ed. ). Retrieved from https://ecampus. phoenix. edu/content/eBookLibrary2/content/eReader. aspx. Ryder, A. G. , Ban, L. M. , & Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E. (2011). Towards a Cultural-Clinical Psychology. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 5(12), 960-975. doi:10. 1111/j. 1751-9004. 2011. 00404. x.

“Clinical psychology is defined by focusing on the assessment, treatment and understanding of psychological and behavioral problems and disorders” (Plante, 2011, p. 5). Clinical psychology is not a specialty within psychology as much as it is an application of psychology …

Early conceptions of psychology derived from the Greeks. The ancient Greek way of understanding disease transported thought outside the control of the Gods and toward social, biological and psychological effects exchanged between the mind and body (Plante, 2011, p. 33). …

Clinical Psychology has been a part of history from the Greek philosophers to Sigmund Freud. It is still being updated today using science to draw information from along with the philosophical aspects. With the exploration of new scientific data, there …

Many people in our society haven’t heard of clinical psychology. There are many branches of psychology and clinical psychology is one of them. Clinical psychology is performed by a license psychologist that studies the human behavior and psychological and emotional …

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