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Clinical Psychology

A career path for individuals who care about and want to help other people, and who love figuring out human behaviour and how the brain works.

What Clinical Psychologists Do

Clinical Psychologists are experts in mental health, providing assessment, diagnosis and evidence-based treatment for mental, emotional and psychological problems.

In the field of Clinical Psychology there is never a dull moment. From research to private consultation or hospital work, a Clinical Psychologist works to develop their knowledge understanding of mental illnesses and human behaviour. Using this knowledge, they work work under strict ethical guidelines, typically performing tests and offering psychological treatment to help clients.

Clinical Psychologists also provide general psychological counselling in a one-on-one setting, or may work with groups or families. They typically consult with a variety of other health professionals to help their clients as best as possible.

Almost all careers relating directly to Clinical Psychology require a Master’s degree, or in rare cases, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the very least.

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Behavioural Health Psychologists are concerned with helping clients overcome behavioural problems such as addiction. Typically, they help clients identify triggers, learn coping skills and function better. Behavioural Health Psychologists also apply behavioural theories in their counselling, assessments and treatments.

Child Psychologists are concerned with counselling and working with children and adolescents to improve their mental health. Typical responsibilities include teaching children coping skills, helping them work through emotional distress, improving their learning and communication abilities, assessing and treating mentally ill clients, providing academic guidance, and helping to alter unhealthy and dangerous thinking patterns and behaviours.

Child Psychologists work in a variety of settings, such as schools, inpatient or outpatient facilities, juvenile detention centers, private practices,hospitals and/or research.

Clinical Case Managers are responsible for managing the cases of a range of clients with diverse needs. They typically maintain contact with each client, help them find necessary resources and help them with their problems. Some Clinical Case Managers specialise within a certain field, e.g. clients with schizophrenia or with eating disorders.

Clinical Researchers are concerned with conducting research relevant to clinical psychology populations. They primarily work in research labs in universities or private organisations to develop psychological tests, improve assessments, and research the social, biological and environmental causes and effect of clinical disorders.

Social Workers in a Clinical context are concerned with assisting clients in two main ways: acquiring resources they need in order to live (e.g. helping to find jobs), and working through problems in their life (e.g. depression). They typically work in hospitals, residential facilities, treatment centers, or private practice settings.

Counselling Psychologists typically focus on improving their clients’ general wellbeing by talking through day-to-day issues and concerns. They work to develop strong, trusting relationships with their clients, in order to help address behavioural, emotional, mental and any other difficulties that negatively affect their lives. Counselling Psychologists may also discuss positive things in a client’s life, and may assist them in developing the skills they need to function at their best.

Family Psychologists are concerned with offering guidance to couples, families and groups who have issues in their relationships or mental health and well-being. They might work to address child or adolescent behavioural problems together with the family, or work through marriage problems.

Family Psychologists are also concerned with cases of child abuse and neglect, or helping families through traumatic events such as death, divorce or conflict. Many Family Psychologists say that it is a tough, yet extremely rewarding job.

Neuropsychologists focus on brain processes and behaviours. They are primarily concerned with assessing, diagnosing and treating patients with abnormal brain function and/or cognitive deficits. Neuropsychologists typically work in trauma centers for brain-injuries, hospitals or in research.

Psychotherapists typically work in a one-on-one clinical setting with clients, assisting them in overcoming problems or obstacles in their lives. Typically, Psychotherapy focuses on developing strong relationships with the client, and helping them create positive, personal change in their lives.

Rehabilitation Psychologists employ clinical psychology principles to help identify mental illnesses or behavioural disorders in patients who have suffered a physical or psychological injury. For instance, they might treat a client who was in a car accident for anxiety and agoraphobia.

Rehabilitation Psychologists also help the client build important skills to reduce the impact of any potential disability which resulted from an accident, and focus on positive aspects of their life which they still have.

School Psychologists work in the education sector to assist students with learning or behavioural difficulties, or with mental health issues and concerns. They typically work with teachers and other school staff to tailor plans that support student learning, and improve their capacities to develop the skills and knowledge to succeed in school and university.

School Psychologists may also act as counsellors for students who are having problems at home or at school.

Substance Abuse Counsellors are concerned specifically with clients addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling and/or food. They typically work in community settings, for example setting up and facilitating Alcoholics Anonymous programs, or in treatment centers and hospitals, or private practice.

Skills

Clinical Psychology provides you with the following valuable skills

Assessment and Diagnosis 100%
Treatment Techniques and Therapies 95%
Analysis and Interpretation of Tests 80%
Research and Evaluation 75%
Collaboration with other Healthcare Professionals 70%
Active Listening 100%
Conforming to Strict Ethical Guidelines 95%
Use of Psychological Tools 85%
Understanding of Diagnostic Classification Systems 80%
Oral and Written Communication and Reports 95%
Record Keeping and Organisation 100%
Record Keeping and Organisation 100%
Registration

How to become a Registered Psychologist

The standard pathway to obtaining a psychology area of practice endorsement in Australia is completion of an accredited higher degree (or equivalent overseas qualification) in one of the approved areas of practice, followed by a Board approved registrar program.

The following steps will guide you through the relevant information required to become a Registered, Accredited Psychologist in the fields of Clinical neuropsychology, Clinical psychology, Counselling psychology, Forensic psychology, Organisational psychology, Sport and exercise psychology, Health psychology, Community psychology and Educational and developmental
psychology.

In order to take on any of the career pathways listed above in Australia, a Psychology Graduate must either:

  • Undertake Postgraduate Studies (e.g. Master of Clinical Psychology) OR
  • Complete a two-year Internship as part of the 4+2 program* OR
  • Complete a mixture of both, through a fifth year of study and a one-year Internship as part of the 5+1 program

*Note: APAC and AHPRA have started to phase out these pathways as alternatives to postgraduate study.

For information on 4+2 or 5+1 programs, see the Psychology Pathway page.

For information on Postgraduate Psychology programs, see the Psychology Pathway page.

Provisional Registration is enables an individual to complete a period of supervised practice that is required to be eligible for general registration as a psychologist.

Postgraduate Study Pathway:

Students that are enrolled in a psychology higher year degree accredited at fifth year or higher must be provisionally registered from the start of enrolment in the degree. Students maintain provisional registration for the duration of enrolment in any component of an accredited qualification, including coursework, practicum and research thesis (except for doctoral students granted early general registration).

Click here for more information about Provisional Registration for Postgraduates.

4+2 Internship Program Pathway:

Click here for more information about Provisional Registration for the 4+2 Pathway

5+1 Internship Program Pathway:

Click here for more information about Provisional Registration for the 5+1 Pathway

Once completing the Registrar program, supervision period, and applying for practice endorsement, provisional psychologists may apply for General Registration.

Those individuals who completed Provisional Registration after Postgraduate studies are exempt from the national psychology examination until June 30, 2019, and may directly qualify for General Registration.

Those individuals who completed Provisional Registration after the 4+2 or 5+1 Programs must pass the national psychology examination in order to qualify for General Registration.

Click Here for more information on General Registration.

Supervision is a required part of both Provisional Registration and Registrar Programs.

In order to complete your required Supervision, you must find a currently accredited and registered psychologist who will agree to supervise you.

To search the AHPRA database of ALL registered Psychologists in Australia who are qualified for Supervision, Click Here

NOTE: When contacting a potential supervisor, make sure you have read their area of specialty. You will NOT be supervised by a Sports Psychologist if you are applying for an Clinical Psychology pathway.

The registrar program is a period of advanced supervised practice in one of the nine approved areas of practice. The program enables development of the core competencies relevant to the area of practice to the level of depth and expertise expected of an endorsed practitioner.

The registrar program consists of three components:

  1. psychological practice
  2. supervision with a Board approved supervisor
  3. active continuing professional development

Click Here for more information on the Registrar Program

Psychologists with general registration that have completed an approved postgraduate degree followed by a period of approved supervised practice in a particular area of practice can apply for an area of practice endorsement on their general registration.

Endorsement of a psychologist’s registration is a legal mechanism under the National Law to identify practitioners who have an additional qualification and advanced supervised practice recognised by the Board.

Download the Practice Endorsement Application Form

Individuals who received Overseas qualification can apply for a Transition Program to qualify for General Registration in Australia.

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