Clinical Psychology Practice


Clinical psychology is the scientific study of the psychological status of individuals with the view of comprehending, preventing, and relieving them from distresses and psychological dysfunctions. It does this through psychotherapy after assessments through research, teaching, and testimony. Clinical psychology practice focuses on administering and interpreting psychological assessments and testing, conducting psychological research, providing institutional consultation, developing preventive and treatment programs, and administering the designed programs. The common areas of specialization include family relations, child/ adolescent, and neuropsychology (Ed. Plante, 2005, p.566).

Legal issues in clinical psychology

In the case of the legal assessment of individuals seeking mental status as a legal defense, the role of the clinical psychologist is to determine the mental status of the offender. This evaluation can help reveal the individual’s mental health status at the moment of committing a crime. This status is used to determine if the person is responsible for the crime or if the mental status can be attributed to it. Another legal issue surrounding the practice of clinical psychology arises in the case when an individual sues somebody on account of psychological damages. In this case, the clinical psychologist is supposed to examine the extent of psychological damage that has been imposed on the complainant by the defendant. A major reason for this evaluation is to avoid the cases of faking mental disorders to extort the defendant financially. This role has encouraged the growth of this field and practice as it forms a major part of law practice (Ed. Plante, 2005, p.601).

Ethical issues associated with the administration of clinical psychology

Respect for people’s rights and dignity is one of the major ethics observed in clinical psychology administration. These ethics attempt to ensure that the administrators of these services do not mistreat or use abusive language in dealing with their patients. Moreover, it has the view of making the services offered in this field uniform as they are universally accepted across cultures and nations (Ed. Plante, 2005, p.621).

Another issue in this field is ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the clients’ personal information. This ethical issue aims to ensure that there is no fear in seeking psychological treatment. The effect of this ethic on clinical psychology is that there are oaths and other commitments taken before practitioners start their work in this field. These oaths and commitments are meant to ensure the clients’ safety socially and psychologically (Ed. Brain, 2002, p.406).

Clinical boundaries of psychological problems

The boundaries of clinical psychology cover the areas of child and adolescent problems, family and relationships, neuropsychological disorders, and forensic counseling. Other areas covered by this field include organization and business consultation, addressing specific disorders like depression and anxiety, and providing institutional-based psychological services. Any services that exceed these are considered to be outside the boundary of operation of this field and, therefore, violating the boundaries of this field; the penalties for violating the boundaries depend on the clinic’s management.

This provision restricts clinical psychologists’ scope of activity within their area of practice making them responsible for any actions beyond the ones they are supposed to address. This means that each clinical psychologist has a restricted scope of activities that they are expected to perform. As an example, a clinical psychologist who helps a client to carry out an abortion will be regarded as having committed a medical offense (Ed. Plante, 2005, p.624).

Cultural limitations associated with assessment and treatment

Cultural interviewing, in addition to the psychological and psychiatric interviews, is carried out in order to provide information on cultural identity, cultural view of reality, cultural explanation of phenomena, and other culture-related causes of psychological disorders and their preventive or treatment methods. Any clinician is expected to have skills in cultural fluency. Cultural fluency is the ability of the practitioner to exhibit competence in cultural understanding and language of the cultural group that they will be working with the purpose of ensuring that they correspond to the psychological problems of this group.

The clinicians should always be aware of two basic cultural limitations: non-equivalence in language and different perceptions of certain norms and concepts. Their task is to use measures responsive to these limitations. These may involve socializing and interacting with the given cultural group so as to learn the required information and skills (Ed. Brain, 2002, p.416).

Changes in Clinical Work Depending on the Environment

The quality of the clinical work depends greatly on the financing. It can be improved in case of financial support increases, as well as it can become worse if the financial support is absent. For instance, the quality of the clinical work in hospitals and in prisons is different. Though basically, the work addressing the patients’ needs remains the same, the fact of whether the financing of the clinic is public or private influences clinical work significantly.

In private hospitals, the clinical psychologists have all the necessary equipment at their disposal, while in the case of prisons, most of which are financed by the government, they have to find ways to do their work without special means. In addition, working for a hospital, clinical psychologists deal with a limited scope of emotional disorders (mostly family and personal tragedies), while this scope in prison is much broader. This shows that the environment influences not only the quality but the character of the clinical work.


Psychological disorders have different roots, and it is the task of a clinical psychologist to find these roots. At this, they should always remember legal and ethical issues, professional boundaries, cultural limitations, and the effects of the environment on the clinical work in order to deliver the best service to the patients.

Reference List

Brain, C. (Ed,). (2002). Advanced psychology: applications, issues and perspectives. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. 369-403.

Plante, T. (Ed,). (2005). Contemporary Clinical Psychology. New York: Wiley. 561-618.

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