Modern Clinical Psychology: Principles of Intervention in the Clinic and Community

Modern Clinical Psychology: Principles of Intervention in the Clinic and Community

Modern Clinical Psychology: Principles of Intervention in the Clinic and Community

Modern Clinical Psychology: Principles of Intervention in the Clinic and Community

Excerpt

Clinical psychology is concerned with understanding and improving human functioning. Along with other fields of psychology and the behavioral sciences, it shares the task of increasing knowledge about the principles of psychological functioning in "people in general," but its unique concern is with the human problems of "persons in particular." As one of the so-called mental health professions, clinical psychology shares responsibility for increasing the well-being of psychologically troubled people. As a clinical field, it is dedicated to improving the lot of individuals in distress, using the best knowledge and techniques available, while striving through research to increase the knowledge and sharpen the techniques needed for improved intervention in the future.

Much of the history of clinical psychology is contained within the twentieth century, with most of the growth of the field occuring in the years following the Second World War. In these three decades, the number of clinical psychologists has grown enormously. The scope of the field expanded in the range of human problems dealt with, the variety of services rendered, and the diversity of roles in which clinicians function. Theory, knowledge, and technique have grown greatly, not always in orderly progression. During these years, public policy and lay acceptance of the goals and methods of clinical psychology have fostered its emergence as an autonomous profession.

But the human issues which engage clinical psychology are as old as the history of mankind. When man emerged as a conscious animal, more particularly as a self-conscious one, the behavior of his own kind was an inevitable source of fascination. To understand and even to change human nature was no less vital than understanding and controlling the physical world. Indeed, survival itself as well as organized social life depends as much on knowledge in the one realm as in the other. Systems of philosophy, religion, and popular psychology evolved to explain why we think, feel, and behave as we do, how disturbed behavior arises, and what can be done to alter psychological growth and human behavior. In the historically recent past, the behavioral sciences emerged as organized attempts to system-

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