Caring Career That Puts Mind Back in Order

Article excerpt

Byline: EMMA THOMPSON

What does a career as a clinical psychologist involve? Clinical psychologists help people make positive changes to their thinking and behaviour. They aim to understand clients'' thoughts and actions so they can work with them to manage or overcome psychological distress and improve their well-being.

As a clinical psychologist, you would see people experiencing psychological difficulties such as anxiety, depression, phobias or eating disorders.

Your role would typically involve assessing clients'' needs using interviews, psychometric tests and observations; deciding on the most appropriate treatment, including therapy, counselling or advice; writing reports and attending case conferences; carrying out research; counselling and supporting carers.

You would work closely with other professionals such as doctors and probation officers to achieve specific goals with your clients, for example, rehabilitating an offender into the community.

What personal skills are needed? Excellent communication and listening skills are essential, as well as good problem-solving and decision-making skills. The ability to organise a complex workload to meet deadlines is needed, along with honesty and empathy. What training do you need? To qualify as a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, and be eligible for registration with the Health Professions Council (HPC), you need to complete: a degree in psychology accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), leading to Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) and a three-year full-time Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

To get on to a degree course you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C), plus three A levels. If you already have a degree in a subject other than psychology, you can achieve GBC by completing a BPS-approved conversion course. …