Clinical psychologists aim to reduce psychological distress and promote psychological wellbeing. They treat patients with emotional or behavioural problems using a variety of therapies. They have no medical training, and do not prescribe drugs.
You could be:
assessing patients and their families through interviews, observation and psychometric tests
treating problems such as anxiety, phobias, depression, relationship difficulties, stress and addictions
planning a programme of treatment and treating patients in groups or one to one
applying relaxation therapy, behavioural therapy and psychotherapy
specialising in work with children and adolescents
doing research on specific projects
writing reports and attending case conferences or court cases.
The salaries for NHS Clinical Psychologists in Scotland are usually based on the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates. The current pay scales are from April 2019.
trainee psychologist – Band 6, £30,401 to £38,046 a year
clinical psychologist – Band 7, £37,570 to £44,688 a year
principal clinical psychologist – Band 8a, £45,446 to £51,883 a year and Band 8b, £53,291 to £62,259 a year
consultant/lead clinical psychologist – Band 8c, £63,570 to £74,710 a year and Band 8d £76,083 to £88,132 a year
head of psychology services – Band 9, £92,208 to £105,650 a year.
You work in hospitals, schools, prisons, local clinics, child guidance or social work units. You may have to travel between clinics.
You usually work as part of a team with social workers, doctors and other health professionals.
You might visit patients at home, perhaps including evenings and weekends.
You usually work office hours from Monday to Friday.
There is opportunity for part time work.
Clients might be nervous, aggressive or depressed, so your work can be emotionally demanding.
You would work towards registration with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
To be eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), you need either a BPS recognised degree (first or second class Honours) in psychology, or a degree in another subject plus a BPS recognised conversion course.
To do an Honours degree in psychology you usually need 4-5 Highers.
Paid or unpaid work experience is advantageous.
After your degree you would find relevant paid or voluntary work experience (at least 12 months) ideally as a psychology assistant or research assistant, before choosing your speciality.
In order to qualify as a clinical psychologist, you must complete a three-year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology accredited by the BPS. In Scotland this is offered by the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training, performance and conduct in the following health care professions: Arts Therapists; Audiologist; Biomedical Scientist; Chiropodist and Podiatrist; Clinical Scientist; Dietician; Dramatherapist; Occupational Therapist; Operating Department Practitioner; Orthoptist; Paramedic; Physiotherapist; Practitioner Psychologist; Prosthetist and Orthotist; Radiographer; Speech and Language Therapist. (The HCPC may regulate other healthcare professions in the future.) The HCPC website contains a register of all approved courses in the above professions.