How does Clinical Psychology work?
Clinical psychologists are trained at a Doctoral level (minimum of seven years at University) to provide therapeutic interventions to people across the lifespan and in a variety of contexts; they can do this directly through individual, couple, family or group therapy or more indirectly via consultation, support, supervision and training to other carers and professionals. Clinical psychologists are trained in a range of evidence based therapies, including traditional and “third wave” versions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (e.g. Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion Focused Therapies), including CBT, which they draw upon flexibly to tailor psychological help according to the needs and context of the individual.
Clinical psychologists tend to place an emphasis on “formulation” – a process of helping people to understand why they might feel the way they do and to make sense of their experiences. This can then help people to make positive changes in their lives. A formulation approach involves thinking holistically about people and considering the wide range of social and cultural influences that have a bearing on a person’s mental health and emotional struggles. Clinical psychology perceives people as being experts on themselves and work is done in partnership with clients to mobilise resilience and inner and outer resources in order to help alleviate distress and to promote emotional well-being.
Clinical psychologists are registered with, and regulated by, the Health Professions Council and work in accordance with the British Psychological Society’s codes of practice. To find out more about how Clinical Psychology can help you or someone you care about visit the British Psychological Society website (http://www.bps.org.uk/psychology-public/how-can-psychology-help-you/how-can-psychology-help-you).
Who is Clinical Psychology suitable for?
Clinical Psychology can help children, young people, adults, couples and families with a range of mental health difficulties. Clinical psychologists can also provide support, consultation, supervision and training/ CPD for employers and other organisations.
What issues or problems are suited to Clinical Psychology?
The types of difficulties clinical psychologists can help with include:
- Low mood/depression
- Bereavement issues
- Marital/family issues e.g. problems with communication, divorce, separation
- Sexual problems
- Attachment problems
- Issues related to adoption and fostering
- Drug and alcohol problems
- Behavioural difficulties
- Bullying and peer problems
- Feeding/sleep/tantrums in young children
- Work related problems e.g. work/life balance
How many sessions will I have?
This is likely to vary depending on the person, the nature of their difficulties and their preferred approach. Some people might choose to come for a “one off” appointment in order to get a psychological opinion (assessment) of their difficulties and to find out what may be on offer by way of further psychological help. If from this, you and the psychologist think psychological therapies might be helpful to you, further sessions (usually for an hour on a weekly to fortnightly basis) are planned. These are are used to increase joint understanding ( i.e. formulate the difficulties, see above), agree some therapeutic goals and develop a joint plan. As a very general rule of thumb, we would hope that some progress towards goals would be achieved within six to eight meetings, with he option of further sessions if need be. Longer term therapy options are also available and would be negotiated with the psychologist you are seeing.