What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are specialists in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems and mental illness. They work with infants, children, adolescents, adults and older adults. They are also involved in designing and implementing a wide range of prevention and mental health promotion programs.

Most clinical psychologists develop expertise in specific areas, or practice in sub-specialisations of clinical psychology. Specific areas assessed, diagnosed and treated by clinical psychologists include:

  • Adjustment disorders;
  • Alcohol and drug misuse;
  • Anxiety disorders eg. social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks;
  • Attention deficit disorders;
  • Behaviour disorders;
  • Brain injury eg. attention, memory, judgement, reasoning deficits;
  • Chronic pain;
  • Chronic psychiatric conditions;
  • Delirium, dementia and other cognitive disorders;
  • Depression and depressive illness;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Intellectual ability;
  • Loss, grief and bereavement;
  • Couple and family difficulties;
  • Medical conditions caused or aggravated by stress;
  • Obsessions and compulsive behaviour;
  • Parent-child relationships;
  • Personality problems;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Relationship difficulties;
  • Sexual disorders;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Stress and chronic stress disorders; and
  • Suicidal behaviour.

Importantly, clinical psychologists are trained in the delivery of a range of (non-drug) techniques, strategies and therapies with demonstrated effectiveness in treating mental health disorders.

They are specialists in applying psychological theory and scientific research to solve complex clinical problems requiring individually tailored interventions.

They also often engage in detailed discussion with other health care providers such as doctors, offering advice surrounding the issues concerning their clients care.




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