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Example Career: Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Career Description

Assess, diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

What Job Titles Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Might Have

  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist
  • Psychologist
  • Applied Behavior Science Specialist
  • Child Psychologist
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Counseling Psychologist
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Pediatric Psychologist

What Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Do

  • Interact with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.
  • Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, and reference materials.
  • Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, and play therapy.
  • Counsel individuals and groups regarding problems, such as stress, substance abuse, and family situations, to modify behavior or to improve personal, social, and vocational adjustment.
  • Discuss the treatment of problems with clients.
  • Write reports on clients and maintain required paperwork.
  • Consult with or provide consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
  • Obtain and study medical, psychological, social, and family histories by interviewing individuals, couples, or families and by reviewing records.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or treatments and the accuracy and completeness of diagnoses, modifying plans and diagnoses as necessary.
  • Select, administer, score, and interpret psychological tests to obtain information on individuals' intelligence, achievements, interests, and personalities.
  • Develop and implement individual treatment plans, specifying type, frequency, intensity, and duration of therapy.
  • Refer clients to other specialists, institutions, or support services as necessary.
  • Maintain current knowledge of relevant research.
  • Consult reference material, such as textbooks, manuals, and journals, to identify symptoms, make diagnoses, and develop approaches to treatment.
  • Observe individuals at play, in group interactions, or in other contexts to detect indications of mental deficiency, abnormal behavior, or maladjustment.
  • Provide occupational, educational, and other information to individuals so that they can make educational and vocational plans.
  • Plan and develop accredited psychological service programs in psychiatric centers or hospitals, in collaboration with psychiatrists and other professional staff.
  • Direct, coordinate, and evaluate activities of staff and interns engaged in patient assessment and treatment.
  • Develop, direct, and participate in training programs for staff and students.
  • Provide psychological or administrative services and advice to private firms and community agencies regarding mental health programs or individual cases.

What Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Should Be Good At

  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

What Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

What Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Need to Learn

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $82,510

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.