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What is a Clinical Psychologist?

In Scotland, a clinical psychologist spends at least 7 years in training, initially as an undergraduate learning about scientific theories of the mind and human behaviour, and then later specialising in mental health through postgraduate doctoral training in Clinical Psychology. This involves theoretical and practical understanding of how mental health difficulties present across the lifespan and how this links to psychological therapies in clinical practice.

A clinical psychologist working in adult mental health mainly uses 'talking therapies' to help clients understand how their difficulties have developed, what is keeping these going and what might help to change things, using their own strengths and resources together with what they learn in therapy.  Clinical psychologists have knowledge and skills in a number of models of psychological therapy which allows them to draw on different elements to tailor therapy for the individual client.  

Therapy is a two way process, working together toward your goals. Working in this collaborative way, it's very important that clients feel safe to explore difficult thoughts and feelings and can develop trust in their psychologist in order to get the most from therapy.​ It is also important that the client is motivated to have therapy as this is a significant factor in producing change.

Clinical Psychologists receive regular supervision in order to maintain their practise. This means that cases will be discussed with another clinical psychologist to ensure good practise. All supervision discussions are anonymised meaning that your personal identifiable details are not disclosed to the supervisor. Privacy.

  • It's important to note that clinical psychologists are not medically trained and do not prescribe medication. However, they often work along side medical doctors such as GP's and psychiatrists who can prescribe medication if required.

  • All clinical psychologists must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) to ensure very high standards for practice. The title of "clinical psychologist" is a protected title, whereas the terms 'psychologist', 'counsellor' and 'psychotherapist' are not and can be used by anyone. The HCPC protects the public by ensuring their standards are consistently met. 

If you wish to explore if psychological therapy is for you, I'd be happy to have an initial chat on the phone or you can send me an email. You are also welcome to have an initial appointment which will last for 1 hour and then decide if you'd like to continue with therapy. The web page on "what happens in therapy" goes into more detail about what an initial appointment involves.

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