In Summary - Clinical Psychologist
Clinical Psychologists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Elaine MacDonald, Psychologist - Clinical
Elaine MacDonald works as a Clinical Psychologist in St Michael's House. She did a BA degree in English literature and Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin. After a period of time teaching in Japan she decided to return home and train as a Clinical Psychologist. She completed the Higher Diploma in Psychology (DipPsych) in UCD which then allowed her to undertake training to be a Clinical Psychologist which she completed at the University of North Wales (Bangor).
Videos on the Web
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The Work - Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists provide a variety of services including assessment, therapy, and consultancy services.
They work primarily, but not exclusively, in child and/or adult and learning disability services where emotional, behavioural, psychiatric or developmental difficulties are addressed.
Clinical psychologists may also work in private practice. Clients are usually referred to a clinical psychologist from their general practitioner (GP), although there are some mental health teams and psychology services that people can go to directly for help.
Before any treatment can begin, clinical psychologists use psychological knowledge and theory to assess the patient's needs, abilities and behaviour. Assessment usually includes therapy, counselling or advice.
Clinical psychologists often work in teams, discussing assessment with other professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists, as well as other psychologists.
They see patients for treatment in a variety of settings, including community facilities and hospital clinics, for example, attached to a general or psychiatric hospital. Sometimes psychologists visit clients in the community, for example, in a children's home, retirement home, remand centre or youth training centre.
Some clinical psychologists take part in the management and planning of health services. This could include training other medical professionals in areas such as psychological diagnosis or stress management, or supervising trainee psychologists. There are psychologists in academic and research settings such as universities and medical research units.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Interact with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.
- Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, and reference materials.
- Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, and play therapy.
- Counsel individuals and groups regarding problems, such as stress, substance abuse, and family situations, to modify behavior or to improve personal, social, and vocational adjustment.
- Discuss the treatment of problems with clients.
- Write reports on clients and maintain required paperwork.
- Consult with or provide consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
- Obtain and study medical, psychological, social, and family histories by interviewing individuals, couples, or families and by reviewing records.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or treatments and the accuracy and completeness of diagnoses, modifying plans and diagnoses as necessary.
- Select, administer, score, and interpret psychological tests to obtain information on individuals' intelligence, achievements, interests, and personalities.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Interests - Clinical Psychologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a clinical psychologist, you must have a strong curiosity about people's behaviour and a desire to use your knowledge to help other people. You will need to be friendly and able to relate well to clients. You should also have excellent team skills to work alongside other medical professionals.
Clinical psychologists should be able to sympathise and empathise with their clients. You must be non-judgemental and objective at all times, solving problems through a logical and systematic approach.
Good communication skills are very important. You must be able to establish a trusting relationship with the client, and to express your findings to team members, both verbally and in written reports.
This work can be very demanding. You will need to be resilient and not become burdened by the problems you encounter. You must be patient, and prepared to work with patients who make little, or very slow progress.
Entry Requirements - Clinical Psychologist
In order to become a clinical psychologist, an accredited honours undergraduate degree where psychology is the major subject is required.
Completion of a recognised postgraduate training programme in clinical psychology is then necessary.
Entrants can enhance their chances of achieving a place on such a programme by achieving a high grade at undergraduate level (minimum 2.1 grade) and obtaining further research or academic experience relevant to the field of clinical psychology. This can be by way of voluntary or paid work.
Courses are currently offered by
- National University of Ireland, Galway
- University College Dublin
- University of Dublin
- Trinity College Dublin
- University of Limerick
- Queen’s University Belfast
Last Updated: May, 2015
Pay & Salary - Clinical Psychologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 32k - 86k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Clinical Psychologist
This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Clinical Psychologist
Public Appointments Service
Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
British Psychological Society
Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP)
Health Service Executive (HSE)