Clinical psychology involves the amalgamation of scientific principles, theoretical frameworks, and clinical expertise aimed at comprehending, preventing, and alleviating psychological distress or dysfunction while fostering subjective well-being, behavioral health, and personal growth.

At the core of clinical psychology lies psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although practitioners also participate in research, education, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and management. In numerous countries, clinical psychology is governed as a healthcare profession. Clinical psychologists undergo comprehensive training encompassing the breadth of psychological science, comprising both research and clinical application. Historically, the primary emphasis of Clinical Psychology degree programs has been on equipping students with skills in both research and clinical practice, whereas Psy.D. programs have focused on preparing students for direct clinical application. Clinical psychologists offer psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and mental illness diagnosis.

They generally train within four primary theoretical orientations—psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive-behavioral (CBT), and systems or family therapy. Many continue clinical training in post-doctoral programs in which they might specialize in disciplines such as psychoanalytic approaches or child and adolescent treatment modalities.

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