Clinical and Counseling Psychologist Career

Job Description: Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.


Is Clinical and Counseling Psychologist the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Clinical and Counseling Psychologist Career

What Clinical and Counseling Psychologists do:

  • Collect information about individuals or clients, using interviews, case histories, observational techniques, and other assessment methods.
  • Consult reference material, such as textbooks, manuals, or journals, to identify symptoms, make diagnoses, or develop approaches to treatment.
  • Consult with or provide consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
  • Consult with other professionals, agencies, or universities to discuss therapies, treatments, counseling resources or techniques, and to share occupational information.
  • Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, or reference materials.
  • Maintain current knowledge of relevant research.
  • Obtain and study medical, psychological, social, and family histories by interviewing individuals, couples, or families and by reviewing records.
  • Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, or play therapy.
  • Write reports on clients and maintain required paperwork.
  • Interact with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, or vocational development and adjustment.
  • Advise clients on how they could be helped by counseling.
  • Counsel individuals, groups, or families to help them understand problems, deal with crisis situations, define goals, and develop realistic action plans.
  • Develop therapeutic and treatment plans based on clients' interests, abilities, or needs.
  • Document patient information including session notes, progress notes, recommendations, and treatment plans.
  • Develop and implement individual treatment plans, specifying type, frequency, intensity, and duration of therapy.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or treatments and the accuracy and completeness of diagnoses, modifying plans or diagnoses as necessary.
  • Select, administer, score, and interpret psychological tests to obtain information on individuals' intelligence, achievements, interests, or personalities.
  • Refer clients to other specialists, institutions, or support services as necessary.
  • Provide occupational, educational, or other information to individuals so that they can make educational or vocational plans.
  • Observe individuals at play, in group interactions, or in other contexts to detect indications of mental deficiency, abnormal behavior, or maladjustment.
  • Provide consulting services, including educational programs, outreach programs, or prevention talks to schools, social service agencies, businesses, or the general public.
  • Develop, direct, and participate in training programs for staff and students.
  • Direct, coordinate, and evaluate activities of staff and interns engaged in patient assessment and treatment.
  • Provide psychological or administrative services and advice to private firms or community agencies regarding mental health programs or individual cases.
  • Conduct research to develop or improve diagnostic or therapeutic counseling techniques.
  • Plan and develop accredited psychological service programs in psychiatric centers or hospitals, in collaboration with psychiatrists and other professional staff.
  • Plan, supervise, and conduct psychological research and write papers describing research results.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Holland Code Chart for a Clinical and Counseling Psychologist