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What is a Clinical Psychologist?

A Clinical Psychologist is a health care professional concerned primarily, but not exclusively, with understanding and treating a range of psychological difficulties, through non-pharmacological means. As Clinical Psychology training involves specialised knowledge of psychological functioning and psychological methods, a Clinical Psychologist is able to offer a range of psychological treatments and assessment methods, which are then tailored to the individual's needs. They have particular expertise in carrying out psychological assessments (e.g psychometric tests), psychological treatments and psychological methods of research and evaluation. Unlike a Psychiatrist who receives their initial training in general medicine and, by virtue, have particular expertise in physical and pharmacological treatments, a clinical psychologist is concerned with using psychological principles to treat problems and therefore does not prescribe.

A Chartered Clinical Psychologist must have completed a first degree in psychology, followed by an additional three years of approved postgraduate training and supervision. In the United Kingdom this is currently obtained through a doctoral training programme. Only when these qualifications have been obtained can a Psychologist apply to become Chartered through the professional body known as the British Psychological Society (BPS) and be placed upon the 'Register of Chartered Psychologists'. All British Psychological Society members are subject to a strict code of conduct thus ensuring the provision of high quality care. The title 'Chartered Psychologist' is therefore a guarantee that the person you are consulting is fully qualified.

More information is available at www.bps.org.uk