Clinical Psychologist: healing through psychology

A clinical Psychologist is the most familiar profession in psychology, a person who looks after the psychological well-being of people and groups to prevent illnesses or treat them when they arise. Since a clinical psychologist looks after “people” in the broadest sense of the word, they have miscellaneous skills in various fields, but the core of their expertise lies in the underlying dynamics of emotions, personality, and relations.

Typical job opportunities lie in the field of “care”, such as working for the National Health Service, cooperatives providing psychological support services, schools, hospitals, care homes, or even private studios. Another career opportunity lies in the field of research encompassing a variety of theoretical aspects and, above all, input from therapeutic work. A clinical psychologist often continues their training by taking a specialist course in psychotherapy as an introduction to the separate profession of psychotherapist.


As in all careers in the realm of psychology, the first step is to get a Master’s Degree in developmental Psychology, pass the board examination and then be licenced in section A of the Association of Psychologists in order to work freelance.

Training is mainly focused on adult and developmental psychology, psychodiagnostics, health psychology, addiction counselling, the neurosciences, epidemiology and also sociology and social psychology. Here again, students interested in following this career path are encouraged to focus their studies in this direction, choosing subjects related to psychological well-being for their thesis and planning their training courses and apprenticeships in facilities providing clinical services.

To work as a psychotherapist, you require an additional diploma from an institute specialising in psychotherapy. The most widely available courses are in cognitive-behavioural, systemic-relational, dynamic and psychoanalytical psychotherapy.

Career Opportunities

A clinical psychologist works in all those places that provide psychological care and assistance, such as clinics, hospitals, social cooperatives, healthcare institutes, care homes, schools, and education facilities.

Clinical psychologists also commonly work for private studios, where they can receive patients in a safe environment. You must attend an authorised specialist institute and obtain a specialist diploma in clinical psychology, neuropsychology, the psychology of life cycle, health psychology, psychological assessment, and counselling, in order to work for the National Health Service. Less commonly, clinical psychologists may work for businesses and organisations. Research work is usually at a university. A psychotherapist typically works for a private studio or clinic.

Job Description

A clinical psychologist has the job of looking after individuals and groups from a psychological viewpoint, preventing and curing emotional ailments and relational and personality disorders. According to their studies and post-graduate training, treatment may involve questionnaires, graded exposure therapy, personal interviews and diagnostic tests.

The use of virtual reality is being experimented with in the cognitive-behavioural realm, particularly for treating phobias: digital technology allows somebody suffering from a phobia to be exposed to the source of their phobias in a controlled way (e.g. spiders), helping them overcome their fear. As regards virtual reality in particular, Sigmund Freud University in Milan is carrying out important experiments. This has already been discussed in relation to degree theses and the university’s participation in Milano Digital Week organised by Milan City Council.