Psychologists are mental health professionals who observe human behavior to offer interpretations of mental thought processes. Some work specifically with patient research, while others collaborate as part of the mental health-care process to diagnose and treat patients. Master's or doctoral degrees are common, and clinicians who treat patients also need a state license. Median annual pay was $68, 640 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Psychologists routinely use tests and assessment to aid in diagnosing a mental health condition for a patient. These tests help get a basic understanding of the connections between someone's thoughts and feelings and the subsequent behaviors causing problems. Depending on the reason a patient makes an appointment, tests may be used t evaluate intelligence, cognitive abilities, vocational qualities, personality and neuropsychological functioning.
Some people turn to psychologists for help getting through traumatic life experiences. The death of a close family member or friend, for instance, may motivate people to find grief counseling. Psychologists can help people sort through their feelings as the go through the stages of grief. Getting a new job, moving or relationship struggles are other common short-term challenges that cause people to meet with clinical psychologists.
Related Reading: What Is the Work Environment for a Child Psychologist?
Clinical psychologists also offer long-term counsel for people suffering from more chronic mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. Diagnosing the patient's condition and then treating it with the appropriate therapeutic methods are common practice. Psychologists commonly meet with patients once a week or every two weeks to review progress and discuss challenges.
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