A Clinical Psychologist has a sound academic background combined with practical experience. The whole gist of clinical psychology is to take the best scientific evidence from psychology and to apply it to clinical problems. The training for a Clinical Psychologist is about as long and as detailed as for a medical practitioner.
The British Psychological Society website offers details about clinical psychology and how it differs from other professions. Clinical Psychologists are trained in more than one type of therapy as opposed to counsellors and psychotherapists, who typically specialise in providing one particular type of therapy, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy.
I have been practising as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS since 1974 and have been a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for 24 years. I have combined this practical and clinical experience with a research career, heading up research projects into panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, emotional processing, medically unexplained symptoms, counselling and more recently the treatment of cancer survivors. CV
My approach is to have an initial assessment session with a patient, discussing what help they require and what is bothering them, from which I will formulate what I think the major issues are and the most likely type of therapy to be successful in their case. We discuss this and if the person thinks this would help them we will embark on the agreed course of therapy.
A Clinical Psychologist should be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council of the UK and ideally be a Chartered Clinical Psychologist with the British Psychological Society; I am registered with both organisations.
Rather than use the term counselling, psychotherapy, CBT or cognitive behaviour therapy, I have preferred to use the more generic term ‘psychological therapy’ to describe the therapy component of the Clinical Psychologist’s work. Although a clinical psychologist may use CBT, counselling or psychotherapy, “psychological therapy” is quite a good umbrella term to describe the psychologist’s work.