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The World of Clinical psychology

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Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that aims at studying human as well animal behavior (Garfield 2007). Clinical psychology includes the scientific study and application of psychology for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development (wikipedia2007 [online]). The term clinical psychology was introduced by Lightner Witmer. Clinical psychology came into being to study the individuals with the help of various experiments and examinations in order to promote favorable changes in their behavior. According to American Psychological Association clinical psychology is a field that combines science, theory, and practice to comprehend and alleviate maladjustment and disability as well as to promote human adaptation, adjustment, and personal development.





The first Clinical psychology clinic was established in the year 1896 at the University of Pennsylvania by Lightner Witmer. In the first half of the 20th century, clinical psychology was focused on psychological assessment, with little attention given to treatment. This changed after the 1940s when World War II resulted in the need for a large increase in the number of trained clinicians. Since that time, two main educational models have developed—the PhD (focusing on research) and the PsyD (focusing on practice). Clinical psychologists are now considered experts in providing psychotherapy, and generally train within four primary theoretical orientations—Psycho dynamic, Humanistic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Systems or Family therapy. Clinical psychology can be confused with psychiatry, which generally has similar goals (e.g. the alleviation of mental distress), but is unique in that psychiatrists are medical practitioners licensed to prescribe medication as the primary treatment modality. However, there is a growing movement to give psychologists limited prescription privileges as well (Wikipedia2007 [online])





The experts in clinical psychology are called clinical psychologist. They can take up a specific field, like they can take a particular expertise in the type of disorders such as sleep, trauma, eating, addiction, depression, phobias or maybe depression. Clinical psychologists also handle the problems of child and adolescence, health, sports. They are very helpful in solving problems related to neuropsychological disorders, forensic complications. Clinical psychologists work   to help families, hospitals, individuals, groups, mental health organisations, schools, non profit institutions for the study of human behavior. The functions of these experts in clinical psychology are to provide psychotherapy or psychological treatment, conducting research in psychological field. They administer as well as interpret the psychological assessments in the organisation and work towards improving the state of the individuals in the organisation (Bellack, Hersen 1980).





The first university to offer formal education in clinical psychology was University of Pennsylvania. Many universities now provide graduate as well as master’s degree in clinical psychology. The students who take up the course in clinical psychology have to undergo serious training in graduate programme which is usually of the duration of four to six years. During the training, the emphasis is to offer the students the complete knowledge of clinical psychology. After completing the bachelor's degree, one can take up masters as well as PhD programmes that are more focused on practical knowledge. The master’s degree takes around two to three years to complete (wikipedia2007 [online]).





Bellack, Alan S., Hersen, Michel. Introduction to Clinical Psychology. 1980 edition.



Clinical Psychology: The Study of Personality and Behavior by Sol L. Garfield.

URL Last accessed on 13 November 2007.

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