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Also Known As
Clinical psychologists apply psychology , the scientific study of behaviour, to help people with a wide range of mental and physical health problems. They assist people experiencing mental or emotional disorientation and help them regain their mental well-being.
Clients are usually referred to a clinical psychologist from their general practitioner (GP), although there are some mental health teams and psychology services that people can go to directly for help. Before any treatment can begin, clinical psychologists use psychological knowledge and theory to assess the patient's needs, abilities and behaviour. Assessment usually includes therapy, counselling or advice.
Clinical psychologists often work in teams, discussing assessment with other professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists, as well as other psychologists.
They see patients for treatment in a variety of settings, including community facilities and hospital clinics, for example, attached to a general or psychiatric hospital. Sometimes psychologists visit clients in the community, for example, in a children's home, retirement home, remand centre or youth training centre.
Some clinical psychologists take part in the management and planning of health services. This could include training other medical professionals in areas such as psychological diagnosis or stress management, or supervising trainee psychologists. There are psychologists in academic and research settings such as universities and medical research units.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a clinical psychologist, you must have a strong curiosity about people's behaviour and a desire to use your knowledge to help other people. You will need to be friendly and able to relate well to clients. You should also have excellent team skills to work alongside other medical professionals.
Clinical psychologists should be able to sympathise and empathise with their clients. You must be non-judgemental and objective at all times, solving problems through a logical and systematic approach.
Good communication skills are very important. You must be able to establish a trusting relationship with the client, and to express your findings to team members, both verbally and in written reports.
This work can be very demanding. You will need to be resilient and not become burdened by the problems you encounter. You must be patient, and prepared to work with patients who make little, or very slow progress.
Pay and Opportunities
Most clinical psychologists work for the Health Service Executive. For public sector pay scales please check with the HSE or with the Public Appointments Service (see www.publicjobs.ie). Jobs are also available in the private sector. Salaries should start in the region of EUR40k a year, this will increase considerably with experience and further qualifications.
Entry Routes and Training
The first step to becoming a Psychologist in Ireland is to study for a primary degree at honours level in Psychology at University. This degree must be accredited by the British Psychological Society and the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) in order for you to gain Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR). The GBR is a requirement for all postgraduate training courses in clinical psychology.
After completing an accredited postgraduate course you can register with the PSI as a chartered clinical psychologist
Practical and Technical Training
Accredited undergraduate courses are offered at many of the universities and institutes around the country.
To register as a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, having obtained the GBR, you must complete a three-year accredited postgraduate training course in clinical psychology.
Application for admission to undergraduate courses must be made in accordance with the regulations and procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook.
The Handbook is confined to giving information on how to apply for admission to the relevant institutions. Applicants should not attempt to complete the application form without first referring to the information literature on courses, which is available from the institutions to which application is to be made.
You should check with the individual colleges prospectuses for specific requirements.
Candidates are recommended to consult the individual institutions' prospectuses for specific information regarding entry requirements and course details.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications.
There is no formal upper age limit for entry into psychology occupations.
Entry to relevant training may be possible through university or college programmes, which relax normal academic requirements for suitable mature candidates. Most academic institutions define people aged 23 years or over as mature candidates.
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Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
The scientific study of the human mind and the way it affects our behaviour.
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