Clinical Psychology History, Approaches, and Careers , salary, jobs

Clinical Psychology

Psychology is the study of behaviour , both of human beings and of animals . the basic source of psychological knowledge is the observable activities of living organisms , however the province of the psychologist includes such concepts as emotion , learning , unconscious motivation and personality , our knowledge of which is inferred from overt behavior , rather than being directly observed . The word “psychology “is derived from two Greek words , psyche and logos . psyche means soul and logos means the study of hence , the earliest definition of psychology was that it is the study of soul or spirit . The word soul was used rather vaguely and there were many interpretations that could be given to it , hence later on , the term mind replaced soul . Psychology began to be regarded as the study of an individual’s mind or mental processes . this definition was given up as unsatisfactory because the mind as an object does not exist ; what exists is only the brain , in other words the mind is not a thing but a function , it is difficult to study the mind apart from what it does .

In other words , we can study it only when it functions or operates in human behavior or activities , psychologists are people engaged in its study and should have taken a university course in the subject , they may be but are not usually doctors , psychiatrists are doctors who are engaged in the treatment of mentally ill people .

Psychotherapists are doctors who are engaged in the treatment of mentally sick people by psychological methods .

Psychoanalysts are psychotherapists who are practicing a special form of psychoanalysis , which is called psychotherapy , psychopathology , the study of abnormal mental process , such as occur in mental diseases ; but psychology owes much study of the abnormal and has in turn supplied much to the understanding and treatment of the abnormal .

Nurses are always working with people , it is there fore useful for them to understand people , in a hospital there patients , in the home there are people who need care ; in the public health , nursing field there people of all ages who need to be care in the public health nursing field , there are people of all ages who need to be educated , they also interact with other members of the health team doctors , other nurses dieticians , physiotherapists , hospital technicians , medical social workers and others . The nurse who takes the trouble to study , understand and use psychology in her work becomes a better team member .


The subject matter of psychology can be divided into different branches for the sake of convenience and specialized study , first we divide it into two broad categories , namely – pure psychology and applied psychology

Pure psychology provides the frame work and theory . Its contents deal with the formulation of psychological principles and theories . It suggests various methods and techniques for the analysis assessment , modification and improvement of behavior . In applied psychology , the theory generated or discussed through pure psychology finds its practical shape . Here we discuss ways and means of the applications of psychological rules , principles , theories and techniques with reference to the real practical life situations , pure and applied aspects of the psychology can be further divided into two branches .

1.Branches of pure psychology

2.Branches of applied psychology


1.General psychology : It is relatively a large area or field of psychology which deals with the fundamental rules , principles and theories of psychology in relation to the study of behavior of normal adult human beings.

2.Abnormal psychology :it is that branch or field of psychology which describes and explains “ the behavior of abnormal people in relation to their own environment “ the causes , symptoms and syndromes , description and treatment of the abnormalities of behavior form the subject –matter of this branch .

3.Social psychology : this branch of psychology deals with the group behaviour and inter relationships of people with other people . group dynamics , likes and dislikes , interests and attitudes , social distance and prejudices of the people in their personal and social relationships form the subject matter of this branch .

4.Experimental psychology : experimental psychology describes and explains the ways and means of carrying out psychological experiments following scientific methods in controlled or laboratory situations for the study of mental processes and behaviour . It picks up animals , birds and human beings as subjects for these experiments.

5.Physiological psychology : this branch of psychology describes and explains the biological and physiological bases of behavior , the study of the interval environment and physiological structure of the body particularly brain , nervous system and functioning of the glands in relation to the conalive , cognitive and affective behavior of the human being form part of the subject matter of this branch.

6.Para-psychology : deals with extra perceptions , cases of rebirth , telepathy and allied problems .

7.Geo-psychology : this branch of field of psychology describes and explains the relation of physical environment particularly weather , climate , soil and land scape with behavior .

8.Development psychology : this branch of psychology describes and explains the processes and products of the process of growth and development in relation to the behaviour of an individual from birth to old age.

for convenience , it is further subdivided into branches like child psychology , adolescent psychology and adult psychology .


1.Educational psychology : It is that branch of applied psychology which tries to apply the psychological principles , theories which tries to apply the psychological principles , theories and techniques to human behavior in educational situations . The subject matter of this branch covers psychological ways and means of improving all aspects of the teaching learning process , including the learner , learning material , learning environment and the teacher .

2.Clinical psychology : this branch of applied psychology describes and explains the causes of mental illness or abnormal behavior of a patient attending the clinic or hospital and suggests individual or group therapy for the treatment and effective adjustment of the affected person in society.

3.Industrial psychology : this branch of applied psychology tries to seek application of the psychological principles , theories and techniques for the study of human behavior in relation to industrial environment . It includes the topics or contents that are useful for improving the ways and means of knowing the taste and interests of the consumers , advertising and sale products , selection training and placing of personal , solving labor problems , establishing harmonious relationship between the employee and employer , strengthening morals of the workers and increasing production etc.,

4.Legal psychology : it is that branch of psychology which tries to study the behavior of the persons like clients , criminals , witnesses etc in their respective surroundings with the help of the application of psychological principles and techniques . it is that branch of psychology which tries to study the behavior of the persons like clients to study the behavior of the persons like clients , criminals , witnesses etc in their respective surroundings with the help of the application of psychological principles and techniques , it contains the subject matter for improving the ways and means of detection of crimes , false witnesses and other complex phenomena . The root cause of the crimes offence dispute or any local case can be properly understood through the use of this branch of psychology and subsequently proper reformatory and rehabilitating measures may be employed .

5.Military psychology : This branch of psychology is concerned with the use of psychological principles and techniques in the world of military science . How to keep the morale of the soldiers and citizens high during war time , how to fight war of propaganda and intelligence services , how to serve better recruitment of the personnel for the armed forces and how to improve the fighting capacities and organizational climate and leadership etc., are the various topics that are dealt with in this branch of psychology .

6.Political psychology : this branch of psychology relates itself with the use of psychological principles and techniques in studying the politics and deriving political gains . The knowledge of the dynamics of the group behavior , judgement of the public opinion , qualities of the leadership , psychology of the propaganda and suggestions , the art of diplomacy etc., are some of the key concepts that find place in the subject –matter of the branch political psychology .

Utility of psychology :

In the field of medicine : psychology has proved its worth in the field of medicine and cure , a doctor nurse or any other person who attends the patient needs to know the science of behavior to achieve good results , behavior counts much more than the medicine and this behavior can only be learnt through psychology . The belief that sickness whether physical or mental may be caused by psychological factors has necessitated the use of psychology . It has removed a lot of superstitions in the diagnosis as well as cure of mental and physical sickness , psychology has contributed valuable therapeutic measures like behavior therapy shock therapy , psychoanalysis etc., for the diagnosis and cure of patients – suffering from psychosomatic as well as mental diseases .

Methods of psychology :

Psychology has its special tools and procedures which help us in gathering and organizing it subject matter or the essential facts about it , these procedures are called methods of psychology which are as follows :

  1. naturalistic observation method
  2. survey method
  3. clinical method
  4. experimental method

Clinical Approach : a line of inquiry quite different from naturalistic observation and the survey occur when the focus is upon understanding adjustment problem . Clinical approach means that psychological activities are carried out in a clinic , hospital , school or comparable setting for the purpose of helping someone deal with personal problems . This work involves diagnosis and treatment of maladjustment in a specific individual but one out come of many such efforts is an increased understanding of humanity in general , from the survey approach we know that people dream about each other , if you want to know who is dreaming about you , consult your own dreams . But what do these dreams mean for the individual ? what is the significance of the mother’s head falling off , her bones bursting and the lost bicycle ? these are difficult questions to which we do not have final answers , but the clinical method , among others , has provided some provocative approaches to this problem .

Intervening Techniques : A fundamental technique in the clinical method is the interview , which is a conversation between the therapist and another person , some times called the client , aimed at diagnosis or treatment , the way in which the dialogue proceeds and the nature of each person’s role can vary widely .

Traditional Interview : In the traditional approach , both the interviewer and interviewee express ideas and opinions , usually while sitting in facing chairs and sometimes at a table , typically the interviewer asks a number of questions and the subject or client responds in various ways , some times by asking questions in return , this process is used for research therapy or some combinations of these purposes , the chief advantage is that it allows the investigator to go beyond the information collected from a survey , probing for reasons that lie behind the subject’s initial answers and observing the subject during the process of responding .

The interviewer may note that the interviewee relates the dream about soupy in a relaxed , pleasant manner , she says , she had been with him practically every moment all weekend before that dream and was very happy that things weekend before that dream and was very happy that things went so well.

She found it hard to believe that she could be so fortunate and wondered about the Harlequin’s words “ a perfect fit “ . But now does she relate the dream about her mother ? agitated state ?

Some times the traditional interview involves ancillary techniques , an audio recording might be used , provided that she subjects permission has been obtained . several members of a family might be interviewed together , as a means for studying their interaction , with children toys and drawings are sometimes used to facilitate expression .

Psychoanalytic Interview : the orthodox psychoanalytic interview as prescribed by Sigmund Freud is quite a different matter , exaggerated report of this procedure are legion , but it is fundamentally uncomplicated , it is also not as widely used as these reports suggest especially in research , but it offers a useful contrast with the traditional interview , in this approach , the person lies on a couch and speaks as freely as possible about whatever comes to mind . The basic idea is that a person is more likely to be relaxed when lying down and when relaxed , the subject’s deeper thoughts and feelings will be expressed , rather than topics of daily conservation . The responsibility for the dialogue falls chiefly on the patient and often it becomes a monologue , as this person struggles to express his or her inner most thoughts , fears and wishes .

Psychological Testing : next to the survey , perhaps the best known devises in psychology are psychological tests , these instruments vary widely in scope and structure , but the basic ingredient is , always a set of questions , these are perhaps quite familiar with some of them , the questions differ from those typically found in a survey for they are les concerned with opinions and attitudes , focusing instead upon behaviors and abilities again the questions may be highly specific or open ended and they can be used for clinical or research purposes . When we speak of clerical aptitude , we refer to those abilities that clerks and office workers need to carry out their responsibilities and their seem to be at least three factors , perceptual speed is required in working rapidly and accurately with details , obviously essential in stenographic and related positions , basic language and numerical skills are also involved , as in reading , writing and arithmetic

In addition finger and manual dexterity are required in the operation of today’s complex office machinery .

Tests of Personality are Less Specific : for personality is a more ambiguous concept which refers to a person’s characterstic and unique ways of responding to the world . some personality tests allegedly measure unconscious processes assumed in psychoanalysis to influence dreams , such tests are unstructured , often employing ink blots and ambiguous pictures , but the validity of these methods has been a subject of controversy .

Dr.(mrs) B.S.SUVARNA ,B.A, D.I.HOM ( LOND ), M.I.H,  Ph.D.(ITALY)
(Associate Editor-homoeopathic horizon, e-journal )
PHONE: +91-8262-221062 (CLINIC)
      +91-8262-221316 (RESID )
E-MAIL: [email protected]

About the author

Dr B.S Suvarna

Dr. (mrs) B.S.SUVARNA, B.A, D.I.HOM (LOND), M.I.H, Ph.D.(ITALY) (gold medalist)
HOMOEO PHYSICIAN. PGDPC (USA) psychotherapy&counselling
(Associate Editor-homoeopathic horizon, e-journal)
PHONE: +91-8262-221062 (CLINIC)
+91-8262-221316 (RESID )
E-MAIL: [email protected]