“The mind is
everything. What you think, you become.
A Clinical Psychologist is a Psychologist with additional training specialising in the area of Clinical Psychology – the area of psychology involved in assessment, diagnosing and treating severe mental illness. Clinical Psychologists have a 4-year undergraduate training in Psychology with Honours, in addition to a 2-year Post-graduate training in Clinical Psychology, followed by two years of Registrar Training in clinical psychology whilst working within a mental health setting. Post-graduate and Registrar training requires completion of a wide range of requirements including coursework, practical placements, supervision, thesis, and specialist capability competencies. Clinical Psychologists can work within a wide variety of settings including: private practice, hospitals, universities & other research institutions, not-for-profit organisations, for large corporations, amongst others.
Clinical Psychologists are not only able to assess, diagnose and treat severe mental illness, but they are also able to help people experiencing less severe emotional and psychological issues. For a comprehensive list of conditions and issues that a Clinical Psychologist is able to provide intervention for, please click here.
Psychological concerns range along a continuum from mild to severe. For example, you may be experiencing some anxiety or depressive symptoms like feeling low, finding it hard to get motivated, feeling loss of confidence, nervous and shaky. These concerns may not be at the severity which would indicate a diagnosis of a depressive or anxiety ‘disorder’, however they are enough to bother you, cause you or your loved ones/colleagues distress or concern, or to affect your daily functioning with friends/family, at work, and getting things done. It is important to understand that you do not have to have ‘severe’ symptoms for it to be helpful or indicated to see a Clinical Psychologist to get help for your wellbeing concerns. We often have people come into our practice stating that they feel ‘silly’ for being there asking for help because they think their issues are not that ‘serious’ or as ‘bad’ as what other people have it. What we like to say to you is that, if your mental health difficulties are concerning you, or interfering with your functioning or the enjoyment you get out of life, then your concerns are important and seeing a Clinical Psychologist would be helpful.
A Psychologist has completed the undergraduate psychology training at university and two years of supervised practice and competencies within a workplace setting to obtain full registration as a psychologist. Psychologists have not undergone the additional training to specialise in the area of clinical psychology. The Medicare rebate for psychological consultation with Psychologists ($84.40) and Clinical Psychologists ($124.50) is also different. Additionally, some organisations such as Centrelink and Insurance companies require Psychological Reports to be completed by either a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
A Psychiatrist is a Doctor with the medical training required within Australia, that has completed their specialty training within the area of Psychiatry (as opposed to other Doctors who have chosen a different specialty such as Orthopedics, Neurosurgery etc). Psychiatrists have also undergone training in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment for severe mental illness, however their primary method of intervention is typically pharmacotherapy (medications) with some psychological strategies provided. As Psychiatrists are Doctors, they are authorized to prescribe medications to clients, where as Psychologists/Clinical Psychologists are not. Psychiatrists work within private practice, and they will also be found within public Mental Health settings such as psychiatric hospitals, community treatment teams etc as the leading practitioner for the mental health team. Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists often work alongside each other, however a client does not have to see both if this is not necessary for management of their presenting issues. With regards to treatment, the approach of a Clinical Psychologist is that of the provision of evidence-based psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Therapy, Schema Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Narrative Therapy, Solutions-Focused Therapy, amongst others.