What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Clinical Psychologists are trained to the highest standards, to provide assessments and treatment to people with a variety of psychological and mental health problems, using evidence-based psychological therapy. The training program is intensive and lengthy, taking approximately seven years.
A Clinical Psychologist will often have a four year Honours Degree in Psychology and a three year Postgraduate Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology. We also need to have gained experience prior to the Doctorate. For instance, I worked within a Neurosurgery Department of a Hospital. The Doctoral training is rigorous and involves several clinical placements, all within the NHS, and this runs in parallel with the demanding academic commitments of a PhD which are assessed by a university. My training placements were assessed in NHS Hospitals and clinics in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, and my academic work was assessed by The University of Glasgow.
The reason training is so intensive is to ensure that we able to treat mental health problems in people of all ages. This means we are trained to treat children, adults and older people. In addition, we are trained to treat people with mental health problems who also have physical health problems, learning disabilities and neurological problems. That is why it’s important that we complete several different NHS placements to ensure that we are meeting all the required competencies of the profession.
Once qualified, Clinical Psychologists tend to specialise and develop expertise in one specific area. I specialise in the area of adult mental health. I subsequently became the Head of an Adult Psychology Service within the NHS.
Clinical Psychologists are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). My membership of the HCPC demonstrates that I have the qualifications and skills to practice as a Clinical Psychologist, and that I meet their highest standards of education, training and professional code of conduct. Both of my degrees are accredited by the British Psychological Society and I am also a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. The Chartered status is given by the British Psychological Society and is the benchmark of professional recognition.
The title Clinical Psychologist is legally protected by the HCPC. This means only those who have the above training and qualifications can use this title. The HCPC protects the public by ensuring the standards required are consistently met.