Clinical psychology: an approach
The Psychology Clinic is primarily a specialty of psychology that is responsible for studying the behavior and psychological phenomena of mental health of human beings.
It takes care of the conditions that can generate discomfort or suffering of the individual and the possible solution of those emotional or behavioral problems.
The clinical psychologist works through the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the patient’s ailments, especially those that originate or cause the alteration of mental processes.
What is the goal of clinical psychology?
The objective of Clinical Psychology is to understand, treat and prevent mental disorders as well as the effects they may have.
The professional, trained and expert, will be in charge of advising people who suffer from the disorder, designing an appropriate treatment for each case that eliminates or modifies the conflicts suffered.
Applications of clinical psychology
The main object of study and treatment in Clinical Psychology are mental and/or behavioral anomalies or disorders in a broad sense of the term and not only in the psychopathological but also whatever is relevant in health-disease processes.
There are, therefore, different areas in which the clinical and health psychologist develops could develop their functions adapting them to each case (private consultation centers, Mental Health units, day centers …) being able to act in forensic, educational, social psychology, development, and environmental.
The main area of attention in a clinical psychologist is Mental Health. Some of these interventions are the following:
- Disorders of onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence
- Developmental disorders
- Cognitive disorders
- Substance-related disorders
- Sexual disorders
- Mood disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Personality disorders
The list of the types of disorders it can treat is extensive.
In addition to treatment, the clinical psychologist deals with the possible effects or impacts that mental processes may have on the patient’s life, as well as community assistance.
The main techniques used throughout history have been, among others, the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Systemic therapy
- Psychoanalytic therapy
- Behavior modification therapy
Currently, we are working on third-generation therapies, that is, those that intervene from a global approach towards the person rather than towards the problem itself. It works in a dialectical way, acting through deep aspects of the person and not only in symptoms (acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, Emdr, Brainspotting, etc …)
Differences between clinical psychology and psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is defined as the application of clinical psychology in the treatment of mental problems through a therapeutic relationship in a space of reflection between therapist and patient.
We do not have to be talking about a regulated title. It refers more to the activity that is carried out. It can be a psychologist specialized in certain therapies but it can also be anyone who performs therapies without being a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, or who has only done an alternative non-regulated training.
However, the clinical psychologist has a wide range of knowledge and interventions to attend to the different clinical pictures.
In Clinical and Health Psychology, knowledge and techniques that must be scientific are applied, as well as all the knowledge that makes up Psychology.
The functions of the clinical psychologist can be grouped into the following:
- Treatment and intervention
- Prevention, health promotion
- Design, direction and management of community and individual programs
Clinical psychology: an approach