What does a clinical psychologist do?


Quick Answer

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat people struggling with various types of mental health ailments. Illnesses diagnosed by a clinical psychologist include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and depression. Because they can't prescribe medications, psychologists' recommended treatment plans are typically therapeutic in nature.

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Full Answer

When a patient makes an initial visit, the clinical psychologist performs a variety of tests and talks with the patient about his history. The results of the consultation and testing is a diagnosis, if applicable, of the condition. The psychologist then informs the patient of the recommended course of treatment.

Clinical psychologists work with patients in various settings. Private practices, hospitals, mental health clinics and schools are all common settings. Psychologists typically set ongoing appointments with patients to learn about progress toward goals, discuss problems and concerns, and set goals for the patient to achieve before the next visit. Clinical psychologists also have extensive record-keeping requirements because they need to log the conditions they diagnose, the treatments prescribed and the ongoing results of meetings. In some cases, psychologists take emergency calls after hours from patients struggling with mental health emergencies.

Psychologists who operate their own practices also sometimes perform typical business activities such as budgeting, hiring staff and promoting services.

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