Professional Skills – Fundamentals of Clinical Therapy

     There are professional skills that are fundamental in clinical psychology. These include:

1. Assessment: Methods used in the assessment of clinical cases include interviewing observation, and the testing of the client and others in their lives. Many assessments must be made and the psychologist must be properly trained to choose the most appropriate method and tool. Assessments are made of clients’ development, behaviour, intellect, interests, personality, cognitive (thinking) processes, emotional functioning and social functioning.

2. Diagnosis: Clinical psychologists are trained to assess and make diagnoses regarding factors such as an individuals cognitive, emotional, social and behavioural functioning, as well as their mental problems and psychological disorders. When made formally, diagnoses may use widely accepted criteria, such as the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

3. Intervention: A major activity of psychologists is intervention and treatment. This intervention is based on the development and maintenance of a therapeutic relationship with clients. Skill is involved in this intervention, as clients seen by psychologists are often highly distressed and sensitive. The purpose of intervention is to help individuals make well thought out choices and gain healthy control of their lives. Psychologists are trained in using a variety of treatment options, however they cannot master the wide range of available options, so they must select which clients they will be able to effectively help and refer those who they may not be able to treat to others that may be able to. Treatment includes: finding out the problem, making a treatment plan, going through with the treatment plan, monitoring how well the plan is working and evaluating the outcome.

4. Research: Clinical psychologists receive extensive research training. They are able to design, implement and evaluate research and conduct program evaluations of existing plans.
To learn about the types of problems that clinical psychologists will help people deal with please see the section Abnormal Psychology.

Related Links

Clinical Psychology
Counseling Psychology