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Clinical Psychologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists Career Video



Diagnoses and evaluates mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Formulates and administers programs of treatment.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Counseling and Mental Health Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Interacts with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.
  • Identifies psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, and reference materials.
  • Uses a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, and play therapy.
  • Counsels individuals and groups regarding problems, such as stress, substance abuse, and family situations, to modify behavior or to improve personal, social, and vocational adjustment.
  • Discusses the treatment of problems with clients.
  • Writes reports on clients and maintains required paperwork.
  • Consults with or provides consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
  • Obtains and studies medical, psychological, social, and family histories by interviewing individuals, couples, or families and by reviewing records.
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of counseling or treatments and the accuracy and completeness of diagnoses, modifying plans and diagnoses as necessary.
  • Selects, administers, scores, and interprets psychological tests to obtain information on individuals' intelligence, achievements, interests, and personalities.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Behavioral Analyst -- Utilizes original research and experimentation to identify factors in the environment or biology that lead to patterns in behavior.
  • Criminal Psychologist -- Studies the behaviors and thoughts of criminals to help law enforcement solve crimes or to analyze the behavior of criminal offenders.
  • Forensic Psychologist -- Works closely with other professionals and agencies both in the assessment and treatment of criminal behavior, and in the development of institutional policy and working practices.