The American Psychological Association defined clinical psychology as a field in psychology that specializes in the theory and clinical knowledge that is set on the better understanding of mental and behavioral health. A key point in its practice is the objective of gaining better knowledge about distress symptoms that are psychologically related, and to administer a clinical program that address such dysfunction. There are a diverse range of professional services that are offered by clinical psychologists such as the administration and interpretation of mental and behavioral assessment and the subsequent provision of treatment. This paper aims to discuss the history of clinical psychology, the role of research in this field, as well as the relationships with other mental health professions.
History and Evolving Nature of Clinical Psychology
The history of clinical psychology dated back to the time of Socrates but it was during the 19th century, when scientific study about the mental and behavioral health started in the laboratories of educational institutions. Particularly, it has officially begun with the opening of the psychology clinic at the University of Pennsylvania by its advocate, Lightner Witmer (Baharvand, 487). While the growth of clinical psychology proved to be slow in its initial stage, its eventual recognition as an acknowledged field of psychology was realized when it was later certified by the American Psychological Assocaition. Further, in World War II, the clinical psychologist proved to be of great help in diagnosing mental and behavioral dysfunction of the returning soldiers. The large number of WWII veterans who needed the care of mental and behavioral clinicians resulted in the recognition of the need to establish a higher education in the field. It was the Second World War that brought about the subsequent changes in the clinical psychology, not only in the United States but around the world as well.
The evolving nature of clinical psychology was generally engaged in gaining better insights about the different symptoms of mental and behavioral dysfunction as well as the suspected cause. While the field of clinical psychology itself is considered to be at its early stage, it has already taken massive changes in terms of having a structure in studying the intricacies of the human mind. The different methods used by clinical psychologists stemmed from the various experiments, diagnosis and therapy managements that have been gathered through years of experience. The competence of gaining a better understanding of the human mind came from the accumulated knowledge from studying the link between cognition and behavior. Accordingly, equipping themselves with updated learning of clinical procedures in the current times will be beneficial for clinical psychologist in furthering their knowledge in diagnosing illness.
Currently, people who wished to pursue a profession in the field of clinical psychology must endeavor to equip themselves with scientific knowledge before going into the practice. As discussed by Richard McFall, the legitimate activity in the field of “clinical psychology must be grounded in science, that all competent clinical psychologists must be scientists first and foremost, and that clinicians must ensure that their practice is scientifically valid” (McFall, 77). In addition to the scientific knowledge, it is also essential that students and clinical psychology practitioners must be familiar with the different tools that are useful in the practice. For example, practitioners are in better positions with continuing education and are open to new ideas.
Research and Statistics of Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology would always involve the use of research and statistics. In fact, without the aid of research, there would be a minimal advancement in this field of study. There are two main roles of research; first is that it gives credibility to the validity of existing theories and second, it also serves to negate those that are found to conflict from scientific findings. On the other hand, statistics render the significance of information that are gathered, and without it, it would be impossible to come up with a meaningful interpretation of the accumulated data.
Clinical Psychology and Other Mental Health Professions
Psychologist are differentiated according to the role they play and the type of training and education they have to go through. Accordingly, the diverse professionals in the field of psychology provides their own expertise in different clinical settings in the field of mental and behavioral field. Some of the most popular fields that are considered as mental health professions are the social work, psychiatry and the school of psychology.
Social workers are concerned with a wide range of societal issues. They are trained to take administrative and direct service roles in organizations such as in hospitals, schools and nursing homes (Robiner, 608). The social worker’s tasked is distinctively focussed on helping others to become more effective in their functioning by addressing concerns that are related to an individual and other social groups.
This field concentrates on mental health services and is comprised of clinicians who were able to complete sufficient medical schooling and psychiatry residency. The requirements in the acceptance in the profession may differ from one country to another, but psychiatrist is generally trained to have a specialized competency in diagnosing and treating mental and behavioral problems. Generally, their tasked is not to counsel their patients, but they were qualified to prescribed medications.
The school of psychology is a discipline where an extensive training is offered to individuals who wished to pursue the academic particulars of psychology. In this field, an individual who wanted to teach this course may have to choose from diverse categories such as those that involved mental processes, human behavior and other laws of natural sciences. While one may opt to concentrate in a certain discipline, it is also important that a person who wishes to be involved in the school of psychology is educated in the different subjects on this topic.
Clinical psychology is a wide ranging field that is considered to be a discipline that has a strong correlation to science. Clinical psychology professionals are supposed to have deep clinical knowledge in order for them to be able to provide a precise diagnosis to their patients. The study of mental and behavioral health is the common core of this discipline and the American Psychological Association is right in giving this profession the credit to be able to offer mental and behavioral health care. Accordingly, the main point in the practice of this profession is to gain adequate understanding of dysfunction symptoms and other related and the eventual administration of clinical treatments that are geared towards addressing the dysfunction. Clinical psychology has greatly evolved and has dramatically changed since its early stages. It has since helped in the improvement of different mental and emotional problems and is a popular recourse in treating cognitive and behavioral problems.
Baharvand, Vahid. "Assessing Characteristics of Clinical Psychologist for Effective Counselling." Life Science Journal 9.2 (2012): 487-190. Web.
McFall, Richard. "Manifesto for a Science of Clinical Psychology." Clinical Psychologist44 (1991): 75-88. Web.
Robiner, William. "The Mental Health Professions: Workforce Supply and Demand Issues, and Challenges." Clinical Psychology Review 26 (2006): 600-625. Web.