Clinical psychology

From ArticleWorld

Clinical psychology refers to the application of psychology in a clinical or health setting. The approach deals with mental illnesses or mental health problems and as well as diagnosing, assessing and treating these conditions, clinical psychologists also conduct research into their causes. Psychological tests are used in the assessment of various findings.

Treatment methods used by clinical psychologists usually include the 'talk therapies' as psychotherapy is sometimes referred to. Examples of this approach are cognitive therapy, which aims to turn unhelpful patterns of thinking into more positive, functional ones, and psychoanalysis, which attempts to unlock the mysteries of the unconscious mind.


The term was first used by an American psychologist Lightner Witmer in 1907 and it would be true to say that before the 20th century, there was not a lot of clinical help available for those suffering from poor mental health. It was Freud and his theory and practice of psychoanalysis that started the process. Initially practiced solely by psychiatrists, it is now also practiced by psychologists and other mental health workers all of whom train for an additional five to ten years, often earning a PHD before going into the field.