What is Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology broadly refers to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Clinical psychologists may provide general psychological treatment or choose a practice area based on a specific patient group, disorder or condition. With many specialties falling under this domain, its practitioners comprise the largest subfield of psychology professionals.

Typical work settings include hospitals, academia or private practice; and while many in this field practice in medical settings, clinical psychologists are not considered medical doctors and most states do not allow them to prescribe medications. On this page, we will explore the skills needed to become a clinical psychologist and how to excel in the field.

What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?

Many general clinical psychologists work in healthcare or mental health facilities, while those practicing a specialty may work for a private organization, school, police department or the military. The following skills and competencies embody a good clinical psychologist:


  • Strong Analytical Skills
  • Scientific Reasoning
  • Problem-Solving
  • Strong Communication and Observation
  • Trustworthiness
  • Data Analysis
  • Empathy
  • Patience

Open chat