What is a Clinical Psychologist?
A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional with highly specialized training in the diagnosis & psychological treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders. To practice, clinical psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the province in which they work. In Ontario, the professional activities of clinical psychologists are regulated by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
All members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario: ‘must have knowledge and skills respecting interpersonal relationships, assessment and evaluation, intervention and consultation, understanding and applying research to professional practice and knowing and applying professional ethics, standards and relevant legislation to professional practice. Every member of the College, with the exception of individuals whose practice is limited to Industrial/Organizational Psychology, must be competent to formulate and communicate a psychological diagnosis’. (CPO)
Clinical Psychologists treat many psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, learning disabilities, substance use, relationship problems, health issues, problems related to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Clinical Psychologists conduct psychological assessments (often using standardized tests) to answer questions related to the nature and severity of the presenting problem. Assessment by Clinical Psychologists involves detailed interviewing of an individual and, when appropriate, their family/significant others. Clinical Psychologists often use standardized psychological tests and questionnaires to gather clinically useful information. The assessment questions involve diagnosing a psychological problem or identifying strengths in individuals and their social contexts. Psychologists share the results of the assessment with the client and take the client's feedback into consideration. Psychological treatment involves several psychotherapy approaches, such as cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, family, and psychodynamic. Clinical Psychologists typically conduct an assessment before beginning psychotherapy. Treatment may focus on reducing distress and symptoms of psychological disorders, improving coping skills and functioning, and promoting healthy lifestyles.