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 2023.
Qualified psychologists start on Band 7, £46,244 to £53,789 a year. With experience this rises to Band 8a, £56,992 to £61,522 a year, and Band 8b, £67,285 to £71,978 a year.
Consultant/lead psychologists are on Band 8c, £79,466 to £85,121 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 specialism.
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 in partnership with NHS Scotland.