Examiations of clinical psychology

Clinical psychology is as complex as human behavior itself and an integrative attempt to explain interactions between psychological, biological, and social factors that motivate people. This branch of psychology integrates science, theory, and practice to aid in understanding, to predict, and relieve any maladjustment, disability, and discomfort to further promote adjustment, adaptation, and personal growth across the life span (American Psychological Association, Division 12, 2013).

The focus of clinical psychology remains on using the scientific method and research to inform, assess, and treat any psychological and behavioral problems an individual might suffer from. Clinical psychology is ever evolving. It has a pronounced history, and the role of research, and statistics is fundamental to the field. Sometimes the public confuses clinical psychology with other mental health professions, such as social work, psychiatry, and school psychology. The differences between clinical psychology and other mental health professions also remain the topic of discussion. History and Evolving Nature of Clinical Psychology.

Before clinical psychology was a science, it was a practice; people aiding others in psychological distress. In the 18th and 19th centuries, practitioners were known as phrenologists, graphologists, spiritualists, psychics, and mental healers to name some (Benjamin, 2005). Certifications and licensure laws did not exist therefore any laws to protect individuals from fraudulent practices did not exist. The history of clinical psychology also has roots dating back to the Greeks because several Greek philosophers had a pivotal impact in early conceptions of mental illness; making them pioneers of the bio-psychosocial perspective.

Closely related to the beliefs of present time, the Greeks encouraged the mind and body was interconnected. Hippocrates; creator of the Hippocratic Oath, explains disease and dysfunction as physiological imbalances. He suggested that yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood somehow cause emotional and psychological maladjustment, such as sadness (Plante, 2011). Bloodletting; a technique of cutting the body to release blood, was thought as therapeutic and although it is thought of as inhumane present day, was a step in objective explanation describing disease and illness by Galen.

Beliefs then shifted in the Middle Ages. Notions of the mind, body, illness, and disease spouted once again however, disease and insanity were a product of spiritual matters; the influence of demons, sin, and witches (Plante, 2011). During the Renaissance medical influences diminished the supernatural and/ or religious perspectives resulting in biomedical reductionism in specific diseases, including mental illness. This is when the scientific method, more over scientific observation and experimentation explained illness better than beliefs about the mind and soul.

During 1856 through 1939 the connections between the mind and body reemerged with the workings of Sigmund Freud. He explains illness as unconscious conflicts and emotional influences bringing disease; understanding someone’s emotional life explains health, illness, and abnormal behavior (Plante, 2011). However, in 1879 credit was given to Wilhelm Wundt for building the first laboratory of psychology, the year following William James published Principles of Psychology, and in 1892 the American Psychological Association was founded, electing Stanley Hall as president.

In 1896, clinical psychology was born because of the first opening of a psychological clinic after Lightner Witmer utilized principles of human behavior to help a 14 year old child who was not performing well in school. Further evolving, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon create an intelligence test; the Binet-Simon scale in 1908, to aid teachers in establishing which student’s abilities prevented them from the benefits of regular classroom instruction. Noteworthy of history and evolution, an incredible man named Clifford Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (Plante, 2011).

He was formerly a patient and became concerned with the inhumane treatment of individuals while hospitalized in an asylum. He aimed to improve conditions for those suffering with mental illness in asylums as well as try to prevent mental disorders from happening. Also noteworthy, the government turned to psychology to assist soldiers during World War I and World War II for evaluation and testing for “shell shock” (Plante, 2011). Research and Statistics.

Research is the foundation to clinical psychology because these programs help determine assessment and effective treatment for specific clinical problems, such as anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders (Plante, 2011). Research projects also help to determine those at risk for developing certain psychological problems and to do so; statistics play an integrative role in research. Statistical research was a revolution in its own right. The concept behind statistics is the notion that knowledge taken from the five senses is not absolute (Ghaemi, 2009).

Statistics became a benefit to clinical psychology because researchers understood that uncertainty and error are part of science; humans are much more uncertain than electrons as science calls for absolute certainty. For example, statistical methods ended bloodletting in the 19th century and proof of cigarette smoke-related lung cancer in the 20th century (Ghaemi, 2009). When performing statistics, clinicians end up knowing less than they had prior to starting research. However, statistical wisdom is liberating because the information gained from interpreting these numbers is more accurate and valid (Ghaemi, 2009).

Statistical significance can also refer to the probability to finding something by error or chance. Differences between Clinical Psychology and Other Mental Health Professions As stated above, the general public tends to assume that clinical psychology is just like any other mental health profession, such as social work, psychiatry, and school psychology. The major difference between clinical psychology and these other fields is research being the foundation of clinical psychology and not practice.

Clinical psychologists conduct research in hospitals, clinics, universities, the military, and in business settings (Plante, 2011). Other mental health professions such as those listed tend to consume research rather than conduct it. School psychologists typically work in school settings; elementary, secondary, and special education to provide cognitive testing, counseling, as well as consultation to teachers, administrators, parents, and students (Plante, 2011). Psychiatrists are doctors who earn a medical degree and complete their training in psychiatry.

Unlike internship completed in clinical psychology, the internship for psychiatry centralizes on general medical training. A psychiatrist also has superior knowledge of certain disorders with the ability to prescribe medication for them (Plante, 2011). Social workers who earn a doctorate degree become interested in research and academic careers. Presently, social workers conduct psychotherapy with individuals, family, groups, or take on administrative roles within agencies, hospitals, or social service settings (Plante, 2011). Conclusion.

Clinical psychology has a long history dating back to the 18th century and is still evolving. It begins with a biological basis created from the Greeks with Hippocrates explaining disease and illness as imbalances of fluids within the body. As time passes, the relationship between psychology and physiology seeks to explain human behavior through empirical and scientific research to discharge the notions of spiritual matter influencing mental illness. With this research came treatment through the role of statistics because of accuracy and validity of statistical analysis.

Statistical analysis brought the general public information of smoking related cancer in the 20th century. Mental health professions, such as social work, school psychology, and psychiatry are confused with clinical psychology because of the relating to research and counseling matters of each field. However, clinical psychology focuses on conducting research rather than consuming it.

References American Psychological Association, Division 12. (2013). A Guide to Beneficial Psychotherapy. Retrieved from http://www. apa. org/divisions/div12/cppi. html Benjamin, L. T. (2005, April).A HISTORY OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY AS A PROFESSION IN AMERICA (AND A GLIMPSE AT ITS FUTURE).

Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1(1), 1-30. Retrieved from http://phoenix. summon. serialssolutions. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/search? s. q=History+of+clinical+psychology&s. fvf[]=IsScholarly,true&keep_r=true Ghaemi, Seyyed. N. (2009, March). Good Clinical Care Requires Understanding Statistics. Psychiatric Times, 26(3), 31-32. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/docview/204648765 Plante, T. G. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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