How To Become a Clinical Psychologist

The field of clinical psychology has come a long way, establishing itself as a scientific, needed profession. As a clinical psychologist, you will work to keep everyday people in tip-top mental health. By helping people gain insight into their deep-seated feelings, resolve conflicts, and create healthy goals and changes, you will make a tremendous difference in your client’s life.
As a clinical psychologist, the world is your career oyster, as you choose the work setting most conducive to your career needs. Hospitals, VA homes, mental health agencies, drug and alcohol treatment centers, and universities employ clinical psychologists.
Through various treatment methods, from Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical Theory to Feminist Therapy’s reliance on systematic problems that oppress women, clinical psychologists have counseled clients to help them function well in everyday life situations, deal with unexpected stressors, and deal with debilitating mental health disorders.

Psychological theories are the “crux of the biscuit” for your clinical psychology career, their applications used to treat and counsel clients. The following theories are at your treatment disposal:
• GESALT- Fritz and Laura Perls
• EXISTENTALISM- Irwin Yalom, Victor Frankl
• REALITY- William Glasser
• HUMANISM- Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers
• CBT- Aaron T. Beck
• REBT- Albert Ellis
• PSYCHODYNAMIC- Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson
• BEHAVIORISM- John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner
• FAMILY THERAPY- Murray Bowen
• FEMINIST THERAPY-Jean Baker Miller, Carol Gilligan, Carolyn Enns, Laura Brown, Lillian Comas-Diaz, Olivia Espin.
• ACT- Stephen C. Hayes, Kelly Wilson, Kirk Strosahl
• DBT- Marsha Linehan
• MULTI-MODAL- Arnold Lazarus

Being a clinical psychologist has its challenges, but also holds many rewards, the potential to help your clients heal, find happiness and insight, and be free of suffering a gift that money cannot buy. Clinical psychologists have healed many people and populations, including individuals with phobias, social anxiety, depression, and soldiers with PTSD.
Through psychological techniques, such as paraphrasing, summarizing, restatement, and active listening, you can clue your clients into their own areas of resistance, areas that need improvement, and their strengths, talents, and abilities. By creating treatment plans, performing research, and leading counseling sessions for your clients, you can evaluate their progress and make a difference in their lives.

There are different specializations of clinical psychology that you can study.
• Health psychology
• Sports psychology
• Social psychology
• Geropsychology
• Cognitive psychology
• School psychology
• Neuropsychology
Forensic psychology is an up-and-coming field; forensic psychologists making about $60,000 per year. As a forensic psychologist, you can work in the legal system, corrections, hospitals, mental health agencies, and the university level.

With an ever-changing society that is trying to recover from the aftermath of war, an economic recession, unemployment, and restructuring of jobs, your counseling services will be in high demand. The credibility and importance of clinical psychology has been demonstrated through today’s media. Television shows such as “Hoarders,” “In Treatment,” and “Intervention” focus on mental health disturbances and show how clinical psychologists piece together the mental health puzzle, their insight and treatment improving a client’s life. Films such as “Good Will Hunting,” “Whispers in the Dark,” “Roommate”, and “Fatal Attraction” have shown the positive and shadow sides of mental health disorders and treatment.
Within the past few years, bullying has received more attention, the avenues and opportunities for bullying expanded through social media networks, such as MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. Clinical psychologists have been called upon to diagnose, evaluate, and implement bullying prevention programs and help young people deal with issues of sexual orientation, suicide, and gender identity.

Diversity issues have been a hot topic the past few years, especially in the LGBT community. Gay issues such as same-sex marriage, adoption, coming out, and discrimination have been ground breaking efforts, many advances and strides being made.
Top government officials, including President Obama have been also recognized the need for LGBT support. Obama created the first LGBT memorandum last year. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a poignant speech recognizing the discrimination that has oppressed gay people. Clinton also discussed ways that she and Obama will work together to make greater strides toward LGBT equality.
The potential repeal of DOMA and the end of DADT has also thrust LGBT issues into the spotlight, as more conservative and religious groups fight to deny equality to the gay population, creating political strife. This increases the demand for clinical psychologists, especially therapists that want to specialize in issues unique to the gay population. With an ever-changing society of steps forward and back, gay individuals are dealing with many transitions, such as coming out, legalizing same-sex marriage, and advocating for gay rights. This can be overwhelming for some individuals, which is where clinical psychologists come into play to provide their mental health services.

Different cultures respond differently and have unique characteristics that need to be considered when counseling. Minorities have been through many hardships and maltreatment, including African Americans, Spanish Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, and the Jewish population. Understanding their unique traditions, cultures, and communication styles is an integral part of your clinical psychology training and lifelong career.
A healthy mind is a sound mind, the profession of clinical psychology a rewarding career that will continue to help individuals in the future. As an effective clinical psychologist, you can make a positive difference and change the world.

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