What is a Clinical Psychologist?

A Clinical Psychologist uses science, theory and clinical knowledge to improve the psychological wellbeing of patients who could have a variety of mental or physical health conditions. They aim to understand, prevent and relieve the psychologically based distress caused by a mental or physical health condition via diagnosis, assessments, clinical formulation and psychotherapy1.

Clinical Psychologists can help with the treatment and management of the below mental and physical conditions2:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders (e.g. health, social, and generalised anxiety disorder)
  • Addictive behaviours
  • Eating disorders (e.g. anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia)
  • Neurological disorders (e.g. bipolar, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder and panic disorder)
  • Psychosis
  • Phobias (e.g. agoraphobia)
  • Stress
  • Grief and trauma


The type of treatment received will depend on the condition, however, Clinical Psychologists can use a varying range of psychotherapy (Talking Therapy) treatments:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT)
  • Compassion focused therapy (CFT)
  • Mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)


The NHS Clinical Psychologists have a structured career path through each of the pay bands as they gain experience. Once enough experience is gained, it is not uncommon to specialise in a particular area of clinical psychology. This could be:

  • Clinical neuropsychology
  • Clinical health psychology
  • Oncology and palliative care
  • Forensic clinical psychology
  • Addiction
  • Psychosis and complex mental health

Where does a Clinical Psychologist work?

Most people who choose this role are employed by the NHS, although there are other private employers that work remotely or carry out face-to-face appointments. Clinical Psychologists can work in a range of settings such as3:

  • Hospitals
  • Psychiatric units
  • Social services
  • Schools and universities
  • Prisons
  • Local clinics and health centres (NHS or private)
  • Community mental health teams
  • Children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS)
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services
  • Online Therapy Services (remote)

Training Required

There are many steps before someone can become a qualified Clinical Psychologist.

  1. Firstly, they must complete a degree in psychology, or a conversion course accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  2. Then a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology that is accredited by the BPS and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is required.
  3. An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is also required.

What is a Clinical Psychologist Expert Witness?

A Clinical Psychologist Expert Witness is a specialist within the field – they use their knowledge to provide independent expert evidence in cases relating to clinical negligence and personal injury. They provide this to help the Courts understand psychology and how it relates to the specific case, which is likely to be outside of the Judge/Jury’s knowledge (find out what makes a successful Expert Witness here).

Looking for a Clinical Psychologist Expert Witness?

We have a multitude of Clinical Psychologist Expert Witnesses to choose from, with a lot of specialist areas covered. These specialist areas include chronic pain, gastroenterology, the application of psychological assessment and treatment in chronic illness, depression, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, stress, anger, phobias, psychological impact of physical health problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationship/intimacy issues and grief.

Click here to find a Clinical Psychologist Expert Witness for more information.

11 January 2022

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