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Clinical Psychologist Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Clinical Psychologist, or Psychotherapist, meets with clients to identify and treat serious mental, behavioural, and emotional issues. They provide comprehensive, long-term mental health care for people and their families. Their duties include interviewing and assessing patients, consulting with mental health services staff, and planning therapeutic interventions based on patients’ needs.

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Clinical Psychologist duties and responsibilities

Clinical Psychologists provide comprehensive, long-term mental health care for patients experiencing serious mental issues. This can include initial interviews and diagnosis, through to ongoing treatment and monitoring progress. Typical duties and responsibilities of a Clinical Psychologist include:

  • Provide comprehensive diagnostic assessments, including psychometric testing
  • Interpret test results and diagnose a variety of present (or potential) mental, behavioural, and emotional disorders
  • Plan therapeutic intervention programs and work with patients to plan a program of treatment
  • Provide continued support to clients, monitor progress, and adjust care plans accordingly
  • Consult with and advise mental health and addiction services and agencies
  • Provide therapeutic and supportive guidance during or following crises
  • Develop and implement psychology programs within the wider community
  • Support and coach post-graduate psychology students in educational settings
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What does a Clinical Psychologist do?

Clinical Psychologists diagnose and a broad range of significant mental health problems. Through observations, interviews, and tests, they can identify mental health problems and work with patients to formulate a program of treatment. Clinical Psychologists provide long-term support to patients and monitor progress frequently, adjusting care plans as needed. They may work with individuals, groups, or families. Clinical Psychologists work in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, counselling centres, community organizations, and health care practices. They can also specialize in a particular area of clinical psychology, such as prison psychology, children’s mental health, or substance abuse treatment.

Clinical Psychologist skills and qualifications

To excel in the role, Clinical Psychologists must have strong interpersonal skills, a deep understanding of the psychology discipline, and confidence using proven intervention techniques and therapies. Top skills for Clinical Psychologists include:

  • Effective teamwork and interprofessional skills
  • Excellent communication skills, including active listening and emotional intelligence
  • Proven assessment and diagnostic skills
  • Strong sense of morality and understanding of the importance of professional standards and code of ethics
  • Advanced knowledge of theoretical approaches and therapy in mental health
  • Trustworthy and conscious of confidentiality
  • Reliability and the willingness to be present and help clients

Clinical Psychologist experience requirements

Candidates are expected to have two to three years of experience within clinical mental health before undertaking a Clinical Psychologist role. Many Clinical Psychologists gain experience in Assistant Psychologist positions. Experience as a Psychologist may also be useful. Many Clinical Psychologists also log practical experience under the supervision of experienced Psychologists during education.

Clinical Psychologist education and training requirements

Clinical Psychologists need at least a master’s degree in psychology. Some positions also require a doctorate in clinical psychology. Most training for Clinical Psychologists is completed during degree programs, though some on-the-job training may be provided. Once the prerequisite qualifications have been obtained, Clinical Psychologists must register and obtain a licence to practice from their provincial or territorial regulatory body. Ongoing education is often a requirement to maintain licensure.

Clinical Psychologist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of a Clinical Psychologist in Canada is $140,565 per year. This can vary depending on location, experience, and the hiring company.

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Clinical Psychologist job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist?

A typical distinction between the two roles is that, generally speaking, Psychologists mainly work with people privately to help them cope with everyday challenges, whereas Clinical Psychologists focus on people with more serious mental health problems or disorders in clinics and health care settings. There is a lot of overlap between the two roles and they can both work in similar environments, however.

What qualities make a good Clinical Psychologist?

Good Clinical Psychologists should have a passion for the field of psychology and be curious to continue learning and developing their expertise throughout their careers. Those that excel in this role continue undertaking formal education or research studies to further grow their understanding of the field. Having analytical assessment skills and being a confident communicator is essential to success as a Clinical Psychologist.

What are the different types of Clinical Psychologists?

Clinical Psychologists can specialize in a range of specific areas of mental health. By doing so, they can provide their patients with a specialized, expert-level of care thanks to their in-depth knowledge of a particular mental health problem. Some examples of areas a Clinical Psychologist might specialize in include substance abuse treatment, child mental health, adolescent mental health, psychosis and complex mental health, and forensic clinical psychology.

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