Clinical Psychology

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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The aim of this essay is to look at the clinician, as a professional practitioner of psychology. In particular, the major responsibilities roles and activities of clinical psychologists will be discussed.

Clinical psychology has been defined by Coolican (1996 p.15) where, "…a clinical psychologist applies psychology within a clinical context, usually a hospital, medical or community setting, with people who consider themselves to be in need of a psychological perspective on their lives".

Therefore, using this definition then, one of the main responsibilities or roles of a clinical psychologist would be to deal with the alleviation of people's psychological problems.

However, there are a large variety of practitioners who claim to do exactly this, helping those who suffer from psychological problems. Such examples include, hypnotherapists or aromatherapists amongst others. Furthermore, many professionals who do not have therapy as their occupational role also deal with individual psychological problems as a part of their work.

However, having said this, clinical psychologists can be marked out from anyone else offering help because of their specialist skill of applying knowledge when helping others.

Firstly, clinical psychologists do not have the authority to prescribe drugs. Only a psychiatrist, who has a medical qualification has this right. Therefore, the activities undertaken by clinical psychologists are limited in the sense that the drug prescriptions can only be written by psychiatrists who have medical qualifications.

However, clinical psychologists will have specialist qualifications and training, enabling correct classification as psychotherapists. When working as counsellors, clinical psychologists offer help, support and advice of a specialised psychological type of which no other professional could offer.

In addition, defining features of the specalism of clinical psychologists include the fact that the clinician will usually operate on a relatively scientific basis. Furthermore, they are applied psychologists, providing a service to others, through the...