As a clinical psychologist you work with people with mental or physical health issues to lower their level of psychological discomfort.
You use psychological procedures and therapies to support people in addressing conditions such as depression, addiction, anxiety, learning disabilities and neurological disorders.
With a significant level of relevant experience your role as a clinical psychologist may develop into a legal field. You may be called upon to act as an expert witness or write legal reports.
Studying here at City, University of London gives you access to broad expertise covering topics such as cognitive neuroscience, autism, memory, behavioural economics and organisational psychology.
Our specialist research centres and facilities offer the ideal learning environment and the chance to gain vital clinical experience.
In order to qualify as a clinical psychologist you will need to complete a degree accredited by British Psychological Society (BPS).
City's Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DPsych) is accredited by BPS and by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator for Practitioner Psychologists in the UK.
What can I expect as a clinical psychologist?
Your role as a clinical psychologist will involve assessing patients using a combination of direct observation, interviews and specific techniques such as psychometric testing.
Treatments usually require a degree of patient cooperation and you will use your scientific knowledge as you work with patients to address their condition, often over a series of sessions.
The patients you work with may vary broadly in age, background and specific condition. Your objective will always be to reduce distress and improve their psychological well-being, allowing them to develop meaningful relationships and make a valuable contribution to society.
Your responsibilities are likely to include:
- Using observation, interviews and psychometric tests to assess needs
- Developing, administering and monitoring therapies
- Undertaking research
- Writing reports
- Supporting and advising carers
- Liaising with other medical professionals.
You may work with children, adolescents and adults, as well as families, couples and groups across different settings.
Working as a clinical psychologist can involve significant challenges. You can be faced with people experiencing intense distress who may present a personal physical risk to you. Supervision from colleagues is vital throughout your career.
Related courses at City
In order to use the title Clinical Psychologist you will need to complete a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology. However, City offers a number of other programmes that will help you pursue a career in this area at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
- BSc (Hons) Psychology
- PGCert Counselling Psychology
- DPsych Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology
Who can I work for as a clinical psychologist?
Most clinical psychologists in the UK work within the National Health Service (NHS) in hospitals, psychiatric units, health centres and clinics. You may also find work in social services departments, private healthcare, schools or prisons.
You are likely to find work in cities and large towns rather than rural areas. When you have an appropriate level of experience, self-employment can be possible within private or clinical practice, or commercial consultancy.
What about work experience as a clinical psychologist?
A level of relevant work experience is usually a requirement for a place on a doctorate programme, often a minimum of 12 months. Most providers are transparent about this requirement and will advise how to gain the experience if you need help.
Experience gained as an assistant psychologist in a clinical psychology department is extremely desirable. Therefore, competition for such posts is particularly fierce.
Clinical research can also be useful if it effectively adds to your understanding of clinical psychology practice. Having a mix of experience in academic and clinical areas can give you a strong foundation.
Other avenues of paid or voluntary work might include nursing, social work, care work, mental health work or disability services. Relevant work experience should always involve the chance to interact with people with health or psychological challenges.
What are my prospects as a clinical psychologist?
If you stay within the NHS, you will find a structured career path allowing you to progress up through the pay bands.
Such a trajectory also allows you to move into new roles and specialise in certain areas of clinical psychology including addiction, clinical health psychology, forensic clinical psychology or complex mental health.
Supervisory or clinical management roles can be an option for experienced clinical psychologists, as well as consultant-level positions for those already in senior positions.
Alternative clinical psychology career moves could see you switch focus towards clinical academic research or teaching. You could also consider training as a high intensity therapist, providing cognitive behavioural therapy.