Psychologist (clinical): job descriptions

Psychologist (clinical): job descriptions

Clinical psychologists work to reduce psychological distress in people with mental or physical health problems.
Clinical psychologists with substantial and appropriate experience may be called upon to act as expert witnesses and write legal reports or documents.

What does a clinical psychologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Clinical psychologists use psychological therapies and procedures to help clients overcome a range of problems including depression, addiction, anxiety, challenging behaviour, neurological disorders, serious and permanent mental ill health and learning disabilities. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • assessing clients' behaviour and needs via observation, interviews and psychometric tests
  • developing, administering and monitoring appropriate treatment therapies and strategies
  • undertaking research
  • writing reports
  • providing support and advice to carers
  • meeting, advising and liaising with other NHS professionals
  • helping clients to make positive changes to their lives

Typical employers of clinical psychologists

  • The NHS
  • Psychiatric units
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health services
  • Health centres
  • Social services departments

Vacancies are advertised in newspapers, hospital vacancy bulletins and various publications and websites, including Health Service Journal, NHS Jobs, and the psychologist appointments section of The Psychologist .

Qualifications and training required

You will need to gain the graduate basis for chartered membership (GBC) by completing a psychology degree accredited by the British Psychological Society. After this you will need to take a three-year postgraduate course in clinical psychology. Graduates without accredited degrees can get the GBC by taking an accredited conversion course.

Clinical psychologists must also be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Some clinical-related work experience is usually required prior to commencing training (for example, by working as an NHS assistant psychologist).

Key skills for clinical psychologists

  • Good research skills
  • Ability to relate to and empathise with a range of people
  • Good teamworking skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Sensitive listening and questioning skills
  • Ability to cope with emotionally demanding situations