If you are interested in abnormal psychology, you may be wondering if you can get a degree in that field. Unfortunately, most, if not all, colleges and universities do not offer abnormal psychology degrees. Do not fret-a degree in clinical psychology will allow you to treat clients with “abnormal psychology” issues. As a clinical psychologist, you will diagnose and treat clients with severe and/or unusual (abnormal) psychological disorders and mental illnesses. To practice as a clinical psychologist, you will need to earn a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in this field. If you are unsure that you want to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology, you can enroll in abnormal psychology classes in a master’s degree program. If you are wondering how you can utilize your interest in abnormal psychology with a clinical psychology degree – you have come to the right place. This article will teach you how to foster your abnormal psychology interests in the clinical psychology field.
• Master’s Degree
If you are interested in abnormal psychology, you will be able to take advanced abnormal psychology courses in your psychology graduate program. Most counseling and clinical programs require their students to take abnormal psychology, psychopathology, personality disorders and lifespan development courses. If you decide to obtain a master’s degree in psychology, you will be able to seek employment as a clinical psychologist assistant or counselor (under the supervision of a licensed and/or certified mental health professional).
If you are master’s level psychology student, you may be required to complete a supervised clinical psychology internship that lasts between 6 months and a year. Internships are beneficial because they provide you with a glimpse of what it will be like when or if you become a clinical psychologist. Most internships require at least 20 hours, a week, from the student. Duties may include: performing intake duties, observing counseling sessions and assisting mental health professionals with case studies and reports.
• Doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.)
If you decide to further your education and earn an doctorate in clinical psychology, you will be able treat those clients with abnormal behaviors and severe mental illnesses and psychological disorders. You will have an option of whether to earn a Ph.D. (research-based degree) or a Psy.D. (practice-based degree) in clinical psychology. Regardless of your chosen degree type, you will be required to complete coursework, a dissertation (extensive research paper) and practicum (internship). It can take up to 7 years to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology. During your clinical doctoral program, you will be allowed to enroll in courses that focus of “abnormal psychology” and disorders such as: schizophrenia, fetishes, psychopathology, sexual deviancy, personality disorders, addictions, etc. You will also learn how to diagnose and treat a variety of mental illnesses and psychological disorders.
If you are a doctoral clinical psychology student, you will most likely have to complete a practicum (internship). This practicum is similar to the internship you completed during your master’s degree clinical psychology program – just longer and more advanced. You will need to complete the required practicum hours before you can graduate with a doctorate.
• Research Studies
There is also a good chance that you will be required to perform research studies, if you are in a clinical psychology doctoral program. You may perform studies on specific and/or complex psychological topics such as: the relationship between homelessness and mental illness. You will work with a licensed psychologist to test your theories and your results may be published in psychological journals.
• Career Prospects
With a master’s degree in clinical psychology, you will be able to seek employment at a private practice, school, social services agency or mental health agency as a psychology assistant, clinical social worker, counselor, psychological researcher or college instructor. In most cases, you will need to be supervised by a licensed and/or certified mental health professional. If you have a doctorate in clinical psychology, you will also be able to seek employment as a college instructor, psychologist, psychological researcher, psychotherapist, etc. – without supervision.
American Psychological Association. (2014). Careers in psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2014). 2009: Graduate study in psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/09-grad-study/index.aspx
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Psychologists. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm