A day in the life of a clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists have a rewarding yet challenging career. People may be drawn to psychology jobs, such as a clinical psychologist, as they have a need to understand and study human behaviour – ultimately understanding how they can help others.

A typical day

While there is no ‘typical’ day in the life of a clinical psychologist, there are typical job aims that consistently define their working lives. Clinical psychologists help those undergoing psychological stress, working with their clients to minimise distress and work with them towards an enhanced and positive state of mental well-being. They support those with short and long term diagnosis and treatment, creating tailored programmes of care and minimisation of their current condition. This can mean seeing up to 15 patients per day, depending on the nature of their practice or public services. Some typical issues they help clients with include anxiety and depression.

Many clinical psychologists suggest that their days start early. Many start their days with some self-care first, ensuring that they are mentally ready to help manage the emotional and mental needs of others during the day. Some psychologists may work part-time, balancing helping others alongside their family/life balance.

Types of tasks

Tasks done over a day may range from behavioural research and intervention, right through to client diagnosis and assessments.

Client appointments range from children to adults and including families or carers. Many psychologists spread their working weeks out between client appointments and teaching others, or giving specialist workplace training and workshops.

Time for research and case sharing is usual, usually between other physicians and professionals, so that psychologists and other client advisers can be sure that they are giving their clients the very best and up to date care. This may mean tracking welfare and progress for those in full-time care or day treatment facilities. Part of the day will also be spent managing the administrative tasks, bookings and record keeping components of any client interaction.

Many psychologists may undertake a form of digital consultation or focus on information sharing and advice to complement their services. this could include guest writing, public speaking via streamed talks, blogging or podcasts. Some may even take client appointments via online tools such as Skype.

Some clinical psychologists may act as consultants, working within public health, law-enforcement and business, where psychology and mental health issues may need the advice or recommendation of experts.
Ultimately, becoming a clinical psychologist is an extremely rewarding career choice, and one that allow you to help hundreds, if not thousands of people back to good mental health.

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