Clinical psychology refers to the treatment and evaluation of mental health issues. Clinical psychologists are social scientists and/or professional health care providers who specialize in psychotherapy. They are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior, human development, psychological problems, the measurement and understanding of personality characteristics, and other important areas of knowledge about how people think, feel and behave. As health care professionals, clinical psychologists apply what they have learned to help people resolve personal adjustment problems, change their feelings and attitudes, overcome emotional illness, seek a better understanding of themselves and help them develop healthier, more effective patterns of behavior.
After graduation from college clinical psychologists spend an average of four to six years in full time graduate education, training and research before receiving a doctoral degree. As part of their training they must complete a specified number of supervised clinical hours, which includes a one year, full-time supervised internship. Clinical psychologists must also pass a rigorous written exam administered by the state licensing board and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. It is the combination of training and experience that distinguishes clinical psychologist from many other mental health providers.