Chair: Kristi Wright, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, University of Regina
The Section on Clinical Psychology is a section of the Canadian Psychological Association. Membership is voluntary from within the membership of the CPA. It is one of the largest sections of CPA, and it serves to represent the professional and scientific interests of its members to CPA and to reflect the profession at the national level within Canada. Its mission is to “promote clinical psychology in its broadest definition as a science and a profession to the public, other service providers, clinical psychologists, and the government.
What is Clinical Psychology?
Psychology is a scientific discipline with many different areas of application. Clinical Psychology is a field of practice that deals with human functioning; either human problems and their solution, as well as with the promotion of physical, mental, and social well-being. Clinical Psychologists have varied training experiences and different areas of expertise.
What do Clinical Psychologists Do?
Clinical Psychologists treat many human problems, including depression, anxiety, stress, major mental disorders, learning disabilities, substance abuse and other addictions, marital/ relationship problems, difficulties coping with personal health problems, and problems stemming from physical and sexual abuse. Clinical Psychologists provide service to children and adults, including the elderly, and work with physical as well as mental health issues. Generally, Clinical Psychologists conduct psychological assessments (often employing standardized tests) and provide treatment of adults, adolescents, children, couples, families, and groups. They also provide consultation to other professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, teachers, social workers, occupational therapists) and programs designed to serve special populations (e.g., Community Independent Living Programs, Learning/Disability Programs, Pain Clinics). Teaching and research are also common activities. Most Clinical Psychologists restrict their practice to specific populations such as children or adults. Therefore, it is important to ask individual practitioners to clarify their specific areas of training, expertise and practice. Assessment by Clinical Psychologists involves detailed interviewing of an individual and, when appropriate, his/her family and significant others, in order to answer specific questions concerning the nature, severity and causal factors of presenting problems. Clinical Psychologists often use standardized psychological tests and measures to help provide clinically useful information. Common assessment questions involve diagnosing a psychological problem, determining the extent and nature of emotional/intellectual damage following injury or stress, or identifying strengths and assets in individuals and their social contexts. Psychologists share the results of the assessment with the client and take the client’s feedback into consideration. Treatment by Clinical Psychologists involves a number of psychotherapy approaches, such as behavioral, cognitive, interpersonal, family, and psychodynamic. Clinical Psychologists typically conduct an assessment prior to beginning psychotherapy. Treatment may focus on reducing distress and symptoms of psychological disorders, improving coping skills and functioning, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
For more information on clinical psychology in Canada, please see the CPA Clinical Section brochure.
Pour plus d’information sur la psychologie clinique au Canada, veuillez consulter le document élaboré par la Section de la psychologie clinique.