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Clinical Psychology: A 1

Running Head: Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology: A Specialization and Passion

Michelle R. Yarbrough
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Clinical Psychology is the second most prestigious of the Mental Health

Profession, second only to Psychiatry (Todd & Bohart, 2006). According to the

Occupational Outlook Handbook (2008-09), they make up the largest specialty in

the field. Clinical Psychology is defined as a mix of science and theory. A Clinical

Psychologist uses their knowledge of psychology to predict and treat mental

disorders. This all hopefully leads to the ultimate goal, alleviation of human

suffering. They are often involved in a lot of research, but some prefer to focus on

patients or teaching. Diagnosis of mental illness is a big part of being a clinical

psychologist. This can be done through tests and through the use of the Diagnostic

and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Attending a graduate school is absolutely necessary to entering this field. It is

important that you stand out from the crowd with the surplus of people who

graduate every year with a degree in psychology. If you manage to achieve high

enough (GRADES OR GPA, SOMETHING TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS HIGH ENOUGH) in your

undergraduate years and wish to apply to a graduate school for Clinical Psychology,

aim for the best. The graduate program in Clinical Psychology at the University of

California at Berkley is the highest rated of its kind according to PHDs.org. The next

best include the University of Washington, the University of Virginia, Stony Brook

University, and the University of Rochester. The program at Berkley is a member of

The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, WHICH means that it “shares the

common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment,

understanding and amelioration of human problems” (University of California-

Berkley, 2007). It is a difficult program to get into. In the 2007-2008 term they
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received 280 applications and only 10 were accepted. What does it take to get in?

Well the average undergraduate GPA was 3.75. They also carefully consider test

scores, your statement of purpose, research experience, and letters of

recommendation.

Graduate school is only a part of what it takes to make it in this field. It all

begins in undergraduate school where you must achieve a B.S. or B.A. in

psychology. Then you must continue on to graduate school. There are two types of

doctoral degrees that you can receive for this specialization. In order to get a Ph. D.

or doctor of Philosophy, you must complete a year-long internship, plus three years

of coursework, and finally you must complete a research dissertation. A Psy. D. or

doctor of psychology, ISoffered exclusively at professional schools of psychology

and can be achieved after 4-6 years of coursework (Todd & Bohart,2006). After you

have completed roughly ten years of school work you still have one more step. All

states require a license to practice clinical psychology. This came about because

Psychologists urged the government to require a license in order to gain higher

professional status. A license is issued after the completion of a very difficult

process. It takes a minimum of 2,000 hours of practice during a two year period, a

written exam, and a one hour oral exam. If you manage to make it through this

process you are now officially permitted to practice Clinical Psychology.

The advantage of being a Clinical Psychologist is flexibility. They work in

many different environments including but not limited to private practice, hospitals,

schools, and the military. This paper focuses on the hospital setting. In the hospital

setting you would work with individual patients of all ages and their families. One of

the main groups you would be treating would be people with Personality Disorders.

The reason for this is although only 10-15% of people have this disorder (Maier,
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Lichterman, Klinger, Huen,1992) they are most likely to use mental health services,

thus there will be much higher rates of encounters. Some examples of personality

disorders include major depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

There are many important issues in the field of Clinical psychology today. This

paper will focus on Electroconvulsive-therapy (ECT). It is a very controversial issue

that is coming back into popularity. ECT has been used as a treatment For severe

depression. It has been known to cause permanent amnesia and other forms of

brain damage. EIGHTY (WRITE NUMBERS AT BEGINNING OF SENTENCE) percent of

patients in a recent survey suffered adverse affects (Cambridge Evening News,

2006). There have also been reports of deaths caused by ECT. There are many

people both against and for this treatment. Some people swear it works miracles

and others say it does more harm than good. There is also a lot of controversy on

whether or not sufficient information is given to patients before receiving this

treatment. It is an issue that has been fought over for many years and likely will be

fought for many more years to come.

This specialization is a passion to me because of issues in my family. My

brother has been suffering from bipolar disorder as long as I have been alive. He

went through phases of normalcy that lasted years and has now reached basically a

point of no return. This was a result of very poor medical care on the part of

Cummins Mental Health. I want to prevent this pain for other families. I feel that

being a clinical psychologist will most allow me to work with patients with severe

mental disorders. My hope is to make the lives of those people and their families as

normal as they can possibly be. I also want to hopefully develop better methods of

diagnosis. The mental health community is struggling with fraud in the form of

criminals trying to use insanity or other mental disorders to get out of crimes. Also,
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there is a lot of fraud from people who wish to use a mental disorder to receive

disability from the government. Although there are people that use these privileges

that deserve it there are many that do not need such treatment.

In learning more about this specialization, I learned a lot about the field of

psychology AND the importance of the patient in psychology. The whole point of

psychology is to alleviate human suffering. Mental Disorders are fairly common and

OFTEN CAUSE a large amount of pain for those that have them and their families.

Clinical Psychology focuses on the correct diagnosis of each specific case and the

treatment of the ailment. As a Clinical Psychologist you are an expert in your field

and you use your expertise to better the human race.

Works Cited

WHEN I CLICKED ON SOME FONT TO CHANGE THEM, THE FONTS DID NOT MATCH.

SOME SENTENCES WERE BOLD AND SOME WERE REGULAR. I WOULD DOUBLE

CHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU PRINT YOUR FINAL COPY. EVERYTHING ELSE

LOOKED GOOD!!