What Are the Pros and Cons of a Career in Clinical Psychology?


Clinical psychology is a career choice that has both pros and cons. It can be a very rewarding career for those who have the necessary skills and personality. Those who are considering such a career after completing a Masters in Clinical Psychology programshould be aware of the cons as well.

  • The Ability to Help People - Being able to help people is a motivator for many. Many clinical psychologists have made a significant difference in peoples' lives. Many clinical psychologists feel personally rewarded when they are able to help a client. Clinical psychologists are able to work as part of a medical team, without many of the responsibilities of a medical doctor. Since there are many recognized approaches and perspectives within psychology, clinical psychologists can use different ones according to the needs of their patients.
  • An Ongoing Learning Experience - Clinical psychology provides numerous ongoing learning experiences. When clinical psychologists work with clients who have differing needs, they gain valuable experience that allows them to create new solutions. Clinical psychologists enjoy a work environment that is ever-changing and presents a variety of challenges. Graduates of Clinical Psychology Masters degree programs may also pursue additional training in other areas, such as social work. Psychologists in some specialized areas, such as sports psychology, use skills from their specialty areas to help more common emotional disorders.
  • Job Flexibility-Clinical psychologists have a number of different opportunities available, many with flexible schedules. Clinical psychologists can choose from a variety of employment options, including self-employment. Self-employed psychologists can set their own hours, and also adjust their hours to client needs. Most psychologists who do not work in a hospital setting can expect daytime hours. Some of the options include private practices, hospitals, clinics and educational institutions. When you work as a clinical psychologist, you can specialize in one of many different areas. Some of the specialties in clinical psychology include geriatrics, child psychology, and substance abuse psychology. Depending on their training, psychologists can work with people of many different ages and backgrounds.
  • Some Legal and Financial Considerations - When you decide to pursue the field of psychology, it helps to keep certain legal and financial issues in mind. Insurance companies require a lot of paperwork, and careful records must be kept. Nearly 10 years of schooling are required in many cases, and prospective students should ensure that they have the resources to pay for graduate courses. Patient confidentiality must be upheld, and like any medical professional, a psychologist must handle potential liability issues very carefully.
  • Emotional Issues and Considerations - It takes a lot of emotional strength to be a clinical psychologist. Psychologists must handle a lot of difficult situations. Many of the patients that clinical psychologists treat suffer from disorders that make them very unstable. Some patients, especially those recently diagnosed with an injury resulting in disability or other crisis, may feel a lot of hurt and resentment that is expressed during therapy. Therapy requires a lot of time, and psychologists can end up suffering from burnout. Clinical psychologists must be able to handle stress well, especially when dealing with very disturbed clients. The ability to effectively management conflicts is also necessary, since conflicts with patients and other medical staff may arise. Good collaborative skills are often necessary, and may require some adjustment from those who prefer working independently.
  • Practical Considerations - Always keep certain issues regarding the demands of the job in mind. Patients frequently have emergency situations that must be tended to immediately. Because of the possibility of emergency situations, your schedule may not be as constant on a day-to-day basis.

Because of the demands associated with the job, clinical psychological is not an ideal career choice for everyone. However, the right type of personality and skills will get you through the demands of the job.



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