What is clinical psychology

Clinical psychology in psychology studies


The clinical psychology deal with Disorders of experience and behavioras well as the psychological aspects of physical illness and describe them in detail using diagnostics and classification. Using psychological methods, they work through prevention and therapy of mental disorders. The need for clinical psychologists is very high due to the diversity of the professional field, and the trend is increasing.

The clinical-psychological diagnosis includes Identification of mental disorders and the analysis of individual problem areas. Its aim is to derive intervention-related decisions for therapy.

As an important part of clinical psychology, the psychological psychotherapy the goal of treating mental disorders. The treatment takes place on the basis of well-founded treatment methods by licensed psychological psychotherapists or child and adolescent psychotherapists.


1. Clinical psychology during studies:

Clinical psychology is offered as a bachelor's and master's degree (as a specialization subject) at most universities. These contents are mainly taught in the courses:

  • Basics of clinical psychology (concepts, disease models, developmental psychopathology, epidemiology)
  • Classification systems
  • Selected disorders in adults (e.g. affective disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders) and children (e.g. behavior disorders, learning and performance disorders)
  • psychological intervention and research methods
  • critical analysis and application of relevant theories and findings
  • Psychotherapy and counseling
  • Health Psychology Topics
  • Prevention and rehabilitation

2. The job description of clinical psychology:

  • Diagnosis of disorders of psychological experience and behavior, e.g. B. performance, thinking
  • Clinical-psychological activities in the field of prevention and health promotion
  • Advice to those affected and / or their caregivers
  • Implementation of training, courses and therapeutic measures with those affected and their caregivers (e.g. parent training for ADHD)
  • Communicating the findings and measures to reference persons, doctors and offices
  • Documentation, drafting reports, progress logs
  • Preparation of expert reports
  • Further training for colleagues, team members and employees
  • Development of concepts for health and psychosocial care

Clinical psychologists work in both inpatient and outpatient settings. You work - often in interdisciplinary teams - in practices or institutions of various kinds, e.g. B. Children's clinics, general hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, psychiatric and socio-pediatric institutions, counseling centers for child, marriage and family counseling and in research and teaching institutions. In addition, many also work in private practice.

3. Requirements

To become a clinical psychologist you need a diploma or master’s degree in psychology. In addition to the certificate “Specialist Psychologist for Clinical Psychology BDP”, additional qualifications can be acquired for special fields of application. The certificate is recognized as professional training and covers the entire area of ​​clinical-psychological practice, including activities in areas that do not correspond to the traditional medical definition of illness, but are committed to an explicitly psychosocial concept of disorder, e.g. in counseling work.

4. Main competencies

  • Knowledge of normal and deviating experiences and behavior of children, adolescents and adults,
  • Knowledge of psychological diagnostics,
  • Advisory skills
  • Ability to establish and maintain contacts with difficult and mentally impaired individuals and groups,
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary manner,
  • Ability to carry out psychotherapeutic measures with individuals and groups.