The Clinical Psychology Megapost, Or: What Is A Clinical Psychologist And How Do I Become One?

What’s a clinical psychologist?

A clinical psychologist* is a person with a clinical psychology PhD or PsyD. Typically clinical psychologists focus on topics associated with mental health or psychopathology in any group, including children, people with chronic health conditions, older adults, forensic populations, families, people living in poverty, students, and people with developmental disabilities, among others. Often clinical psychologists work within mental health systems to improve care or other outcomes among people with mental health issues.

(*Although many of these things will apply internationally, this post is geared towards psychologists in the United States and Canada. If you are in another country, your mileage may vary.)

Clinical psychologists can work:

• In medical hospitals
• In psychiatric hospitals
• In research hospitals
• In forensic hospitals
• In state and federal institutions
• In private institutions
• In prisons and other forensic settings
• At Veteran’s Affairs
• At the Department of Defense
• In community mental health settings
• In outpatient clinics
• In private practices
• In universities
• In rehabilitation centers
• In halfway houses
• In residential settings
• In research settings
• In advocacy settings
• In policy settings
• In administrative settings

Clinical psychologists work with:

• People diagnosed with mental illnesses
• People diagnosed with physical illnesses
• People currently experiencing distress or dysfunction
• The families, loved ones, or other people associated with the people mentioned above
• Other people for lots of reasons. Typically clinical psychologists work with a more severe population (people experiencing more significant problems) compared to counseling psychologists (who often focus on things like wellbeing), but not always.

Clinical psychologists can work with:

• All ages
• All genders
• All sexual orientations
• All cultural and ethnic backgrounds
• All abilities
• All educational levels
• All socioeconomic backgrounds
• All religions
• All people in general, as long as the particular clinical psychologist is competent to treat that particular person and their particular presenting problem(s)

Clinical psychologists have extremely varied responsibilities and day-to-day tasks, including:

  • Clinical work
    • Individual therapy
    • Group therapy
    • Couples’ therapy
    • Family therapy
    • Diagnostic assessments
    • Neuropsychology assessments
    • Disability assessments
    • Functional assessments
    • Legal assessments
    • Aptitude assessments
    • Intellectual assessments
    • Needs assessments
    • Creating treatment plans
    • Monitoring treatment progress
    • Coordinating care
  • Research
    • Creating research ideas and questions
    • Conducting literature reviews
    • Applying for grants
    • Conducting research
    • Conducting clinical work within research projects
    • Analyzing data
    • Writing journal articles, books, and chapters
    • Presenting findings at conferences and other events
    • Disseminating research to non-academics, including mental health clinicians
    • Applying research in real world settings (for example, implementing a new treatment found to be helpful)
  • Teaching
  • Mentoring
    • Mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, interns, postdoctoral fellows, early career psychologists, research assistants
  • Supervising
    • Supervising clinical work
    • Supervising research
  • Training other clinicians
  • Administration
    • Leading a mental health team
    • Leading a mental health treatment program
    • Leading a research lab
    • Leading a psychology department
  • Developing new treatments
  • Developing new treatment programs
  • Developing new policies
  • Evaluating treatments
  • Evaluating treatment programs
  • Evaluating policies
  • Consulting

13 not-easy steps to becoming a clinical psychologist

1. Complete a bachelor’s degree
You will need a bachelor’s degree to get into graduate school. The easiest route to a PhD/PsyD in clinical psychology is a psychology BA or BS, possibly with another major or minor in something like biology or sociology (meaning, something connected to your interests in psychology). However, a degree in psychology is not required to get into a PhD/PsyD program in clinical psychology. If you do not major in psychology, you may need to take post-baccalaureate classes later as most PhD/PsyD programs require specific psychology classes, usually including intro, abnormal, and research & statistics.

2. Get research experience
You will need research experience to get into a PhD/PsyD program in clinical psychology. I recommend at least two years and at least two presentations. You can do this while in undergrad or afterwards. You don’t need to do research full-time (5-10 hours/week is okay) but you do need to learn about research while doing it. Don’t accept a position where all you do is data entry or mundane tasks like that. Be a part of the action- developing research ideas, conducting research, analyzing data, presenting findings. Learn all that you can from your supervisor and other people involved. Use this time to develop research skills and become better at understanding other peoples’ research and developing your own.

3. Get clinical experience (optional)
You do not need clinical experience to get into a PhD/PsyD program, but it might help. I tend to recommend it so that you can get experience in a clinical setting and/or with a clinical population so you understand better what you’re getting into. 

4. Get teaching experience (optional)
You do not need teaching experience to get into a PhD/PsyD program, but it might help. 

5. Get a master’s degree (optional)
Some people choose to get a master’s degree in clinical psychology, counseling, or experimental psychology before applying to PhD/PsyD programs. I only recommend this if you need to show you have an improved GPA and/or you want to use a master’s program to get research experience. In either case I recommend a experimental psychology program first, and then clinical psychology. 

6. Apply to PhD and/or PsyD programs in clinical psychology
You need to get in to go! (here is a post about applying to PhD/PsyD programs and a post about picking the best programs)

7. Complete a PhD or PsyD program in clinical psychology
This is the key thing. While you are in your program, get varied experience in different clinical settings with different clinical populations. Get involved with research. Say yes to many opportunities but say no to things you’re not interested in or don’t have time for. Don’t stick only to your number 1 interest- try different things, explore the possibilities. Listen to feedback and use it to get better but don’t take criticism as a comment on you as a person. Publish. Get involved with leadership and/or administrative roles. Essentially, build an impressive CV that shows that you have well-rounded skills and experience, but also are creating a niche of your own expertise. See this ask for more.

8. Complete a dissertation
The major research milestone in a PhD/PsyD program (of any type) is the dissertation. This is your major research project, where you start to carve out your area of expertise in your field. You use the dissertation to show what you’ve learned, to learn new things, and to add something important to your field. It is an enormous and difficult undertaking, but so worth it. I recommend you pick something that is achievable in the amount of time you have left (don’t make your goal “discover all genes that cause depression,” make it “determine whether cortisol is higher among people with chronic depression compared to acute depression”) and something that you will enjoy enough to keep you motivated during the years you will be working on that project.

9. Apply for a predoctoral internship program
The last clinical milestone is a pre-doctoral internship. A match process is how it’s determined where each student applying for an internship goes (similar to medical school residency programs). Students apply for internships around the United States and Canada in the fall, and interview in December and January. Students each rank the places they interviewed at in the order of their preference, and put that ranking into an online system. Each internship does the same- ranks each student in order of their preference. The system “matches” each student with an internship, attempting to match each student with the highest ranked internship possible. However, there are more students applying each year than internships, so every year students go unmatched. This year about 82% of students matched, and of those, 80% matched to an accredited internship. Accreditation is very important for future licensure and employment. This gap in matching is one reason to go to a really really good graduate program- better programs have better match rates, and many internship programs won’t review applications from students who go to unaccredited or low quality schools. See this ask for more. 

10. Complete a pre-doctoral internship program in clinical psychology
This is your last big chance to get clinical experience. So my advice is to look for programs that will help you fill important gaps in your training (for example, are you interested in PTSD but don’t have experience in Cognitive Processing Therapy? Find a program that trains in CPT) and helps you fill out your area of expertise. So, both broaden and deepen your experience. Find programs that are really interested in training you and not just getting a cheap therapist for a year. Look for places that often hire their interns as postdocs or staff psychologists, and for places that send interns to the sorts of postdocs or jobs you will want. 

11. Receive your PhD or PsyD
You’re done! Congratulations! (Remember to do your exit counseling!)

12. Apply for and complete a postdoctoral fellowship (optional)
Many (maybe most) psychologists do a postdoctoral fellowship. A postdoctoral fellowship or residency is additional training after you finish your doctoral degree.  Typical clinical postdocs are 1 year, research postdocs are 2 years, and speciality training postdocs like neuropsychology are 2 years. However some postdocs might be longer or shorter. You might do one so you can gain specific training you want or need- for example, clinical psychologists specializing in neuropsychology nearly always do a postdoc in neuropsychology (and have to in order to be boarded as a neuropsychologist), or you might want training in a particular area of research you don’t have. You might do one so you can get licensed because many jobs require applicants to already be licensed or license-eligible (and many states require supervised hours post-degree and/or other requirements). You might do one because you want a research job and it’s difficult to get one without a postdoc, particularly in academia or academia-adjacent positions. You might do one because you want to get in with a specific institution and they don’t have a job for you that year (many places hire from within, particularly from their intern and postdoc pool). 

13. Get licensed
Clinical psychologists generally get licensed within a 2-3 years of graduating (but it’s possible to do it sooner). State requirements vary a lot, so do your research so you can a) get licensed in the state you want to right now, and b) make it possible to get licensed in other states you might want to in the future. Licensure in the US always requires passing the EPPP, the national licensing exam and graduation from an APA-accredited or equivalent graduate program and internship. Many states have additional requirements like 1500 post-degree supervised clinical hours, a state exam, or additional coursework. The process is long and expensive (like everything else in this process). 

14. Get a job
This is when you finally get to be a full-fledged clinical psychologist! There are many jobs available for psychologists, but the biggest areas of need are rural and other poorly served areas. Think about what’s most important to you- type of position, type of institution, money, location, etc. –and find something that’ll work for you. 

So how long will this take?

A typical path to being a clinical psychologist looks like this:

  • Bachelor’s degree: 4 years
  • Postgraduate research experience (optional): 2 years
  • PhD/PsyD: 4-6 years
  • Predoctoral internship: 1 year
  • Postdoctoral fellowship (optional): 1-2 years (get licensed during this)
  • Job! 

So an average range is 9 to 15 years from beginning your undergraduate degree to starting your first job as a licensed clinical psychologist. Some people will need more time but it’s very unlikely to do it faster than this.

You keep mentioning “APA” and “accreditation.” What’s that?

APA is the American Psychological Association, and it is the main body that accredits (recognizes as quality and meeting minimum standards) graduate programs, Predoctoral internships, and postdoctoral fellowships in psychology. The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC), and Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) are also reputable and professionally recognized accrediting bodies.

It is essential to go to an APA-, CPA- and/or PCSAS-accredited graduate program and a APA-, CPA-, CAPIC- and/or PCSAS-accredited internship. It will be difficult to get licensed and get a job if you don’t. Accreditation also protects students. (Also, unaccredited schools are unaccredited because they are not good schools. The accrediting standards are not very high). You don’t need an accredited postdoc, but you might choose to get one because it’s likely to make it easier to get licensed and boarded, and it may make you more marketable.

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If I was Taylor, or any female celeb that gets harassed with sexist comments instead of praise on their careers and success, I’d reenact the last scene :) especially since she’s been saying the SAME things since she was a kid #kudos to Tay for always putting these ‘reporters’ (laughable since most don’t even have an English degree yet alone a communication degree) in their place.

future careers of the signs
  • aries: maid
  • taurus: animal whisperer
  • gemini: pilot
  • cancer: face of a rebellion/religious icon
  • leo: author/illustrator
  • virgo: ex-babysitter turned outspoken public figure
  • libra: dragon-riding lawyer
  • scorpio: psychic pirate
  • sagittarius: robotics engineer with an archery habit 
  • capricorn: leader of clown-worshiping law enforcers 
  • aquarius: fancy pirate who exclusively murders parents
  • pisces: tyrannical sea-witch empress of an entire planet, also betty crocker

Writing a CV:

Writing a Cover Letter:

Referencing:

Interviews:

What job can I do?

Volunteering:

Resignation:

Redundancy /Job Loss:

At work:

So you want to be a comic book artist..? Here’s some sobering information.

One year. 12 issues. 264 pages. 4 covers.

As a full-time comic artist this is the expected output, more or less. Not to say I haven’t done a TON of work on the side to make ends meet, but as an artist on an ongoing monthly title, this is generally what you are expected to produce every year. Some artists do much more than this. Some less. It all depends on your productivity and drive.

It’s taken a lot of work and a ton of luck, but I’ve managed to stay busy for the majority of my career. I’ve gotten married, bought a house and have two beautiful kids. All the while, I was working full time as a professional comic artist. This schedule has allowed me to stay home with the kids until they were ready for school. I’m truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and all of the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know and work with over the years.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give people a look at what it really means to be a professional comic artist; good and bad.

This was a strictly work-for-hire job on a licensed book. That usually means no royalties. The page rate on this project was $125. This is considered an okay page rate by today’s standards. Advances on creator-owned projects are a different matter and subject to different criteria, so are jobs at Marvel and DC. That being said, this is a middle-of-the-road page rate. Not great, not terrible.

Gross pay over the year in addition to those four covers was $33,625. After taxes? $24, 210. That’s $2,017.50 a month (again, I do a lot of work on the side to make ends meet).

Nearly all of that aforementioned salary goes to the mortgage, and so the majority of the financial responsibility falls on my wife.

Remember those kids i mentioned? Full-time daycare in Portland is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 -$1,500 per kid. Not to mention health insurance, utilities, car payments, school loans, credit card payments, et al.

Needless to say, you’re going to have to do a hell of a lot more work than those 264+ pages per year to keep your family afloat (should you choose to have one).

So. Here’s the schedule I keep:

7:00am - Wake up, feed the kids and get them ready for school.

8:30 - Take the kids to school

9:00-9:30am - Start work

12:30pm Pick up kid #1

3:30pm: Pick up kid #2

4:00-9:00pm - Family time.

9:00pm-3:00am Work

3:00am Sleep.

Yep. That’s four hours of sleep per day, best-case scenario. Weekends too. Due to the sleep deprivation, I feel like absolute garbage all the time. Depression, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, weight gain, compromised cognitive abilities, even hallucinations - I suffer from all of these.

So, let’s imagine you have a quaint little nuclear family, a mortgage, etc. and you land a high-profile, non-DC/Marvel gig like #BigTroubleinLittleChina, and you command a decent salary (by today’s standards) from whatever value your name/talent/reputation derives.

You will still likely need to work 50-60 hours a week, nearly 365 days a year to just get by.

So you want to be a comic book artist..?

My best advice to you is to find another way to make your money. Make comics for fun, and at your leisure. Make creator-owned comics, as this is some of the most rewarding work you will ever do, hands down. My books, The Secret History of DB Cooper and Hellbreak have been the most rewarding experiences I’ve had professionally. I implore everyone to do their own thing and not expect comics to pay their bills, because it likely won’t.

-BC

Hellbreak and The Secret History of DB Cooper are available through your local comic shop, and are published by Oni Press.

Okay so here’s the thing: for all 21 years of my life I have never actually considered any sort of job related to math or science to be attainable or even rational, beyond like teaching accounting.

I can’t remember one adult ever asking me “oh are you going to be a scientist when you grow up?” in a non-joking voice. All the stupid tv shows and movies I’ve seen convinced me that becoming an overnight international pop star was more attainable than an interesting career in STEM. And when a scientist or mathematician was portrayed? Either a graying old man, or an astounding prodigy who can list any fact in the world off faster than google. Never a young person who simply had a dream they were willing to fight for.

It’s because of this that I’ve spent the last, god who knows, 8 years? swearing up and down that I was going to become a teacher. Because I was convinced that was the only job I could get where I could use mathematics beyond balancing a company’s checkbook.

But today on a whim I decided to look up if NASA offered internship programs. What did I find? Innumerable opportunities related to mathematics; not only at NASA but other organizations and departments of government as well. Not only do careers exist, there are internships available to high school students.

I could have been preparing for opportunities like this since high school, but I didn’t because I didn’t know they existed. I spent my entire life thinking that my love of math and science could only work into a career in teaching, just to discover I’ve been living in the tiniest box.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like these opportunities are easy. In order to progress to a career many require doctorates, and there is quite a thorough application process. But that’s a process I would’ve been, and am, willing to do. I just wish I had known sooner it was an option.

So now I’m preparing to make an appointment with my adviser, so we can look at grad school and which area of math I should focus on. And god I just want to cry. When the realization struck me earlier that working with researchers and advanced mathematics is something I could actually do, I literally sat on the floor in complete shock for a good twenty minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong, careers in teaching are very important. The children need a good education. But for gods sake we have to stop portraying advanced areas of STEM as unattainable for anyone who is less than a prodigy. We need to let children know that their love of science and numbers isn’t useless. It can be more than just play. It can be real life.

And I really wish somebody had told me that sooner so I wouldn’t be crying like this.

are you scared that you have no idea what to do with your life? yeah, me too.

i did a lil’ research and i compiled a list of quizzes you can take + resources n websites that can help lead you down a path you’re interested in:

i hope this helps?? it did help me to try and figure out at least a few options for the future :]

Career paths for the signs

Look for your midheaven sign here

Aries : self-employment

Taurus : baking, art, architecture

Gemini : journalism, writing, fashion design

Cancer : education, retail, social work

Leo : acting, management, sales

Virgo : medicine, librarian, farming

Libra : politics, law, diplomacy

Scorpio : psychology, therapy, social science

Sagittarius : promotion, agenting, teaching

Capricorn : business, law, politics

Aquarius : astronomy, health, music

Pisces : theater, film, literature

Career based on astrology (Part 2)

Click here for: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 |
Part 7 |

Model (Female) 

Sun in Taurus, Cancer, Gemini, Libra, Virgo, Pisces, Scorpio

Moon in Cancer, Scorpio, Libra, Taurus, Aquarius, Virgo, Sagittarius, Aries 

Venus in Gemini, Libra, Taurus, Aries, Aquarius, Leo, Sagittarius

ASC in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius, Libra, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces, Aries

MC in Leo, Libra, Taurus, Aries, Cancer 

Neptune in Virgo, Pisces, Cancer, Taurus, Scorpio 

Uranus in Aquarius, Libra, Sagittarius, Aries 

Mars in Pisces, Gemini, Aries

Mercury in Gemini, Aquarius, Pisces 

Pluto in Scorpio, Sagittarius, Libra 

Jupiter in Sagittarius, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Taurus 

Saturn in Libra, Taurus, Aquarius 

Aphrodite asteroid in Taurus, Cancer, Aries, Scorpio, Libra, Leo 

Aphrodite asteroid in first, second or tenth house 

Pallas asteroid in Leo, Libra, Taurus, Sagittarius, Cancer, Scorpio 

Venus in the first, second, or tenth house 

Venus aspecting the ASC/ Sun / Moon /Jupiter/Neptune/MC 

Venus / Pluto dominance 

Taurus/ Cancer / Libra / Sagittarius / Scorpio / Virgo / Gemini - Aquarius dominance / stellium 

Air/ Water dominance

First/second/tenth house dominance

How To Write A Cover Letter When You Have No Experience

For students who have no fancy internships or summer jobs on their razor-thin résumés, here’s some advice:

1) The first paragraph should say who you are, where you go to school, what the job is that you’re applying for and how you came to apply. It helps a lot if you can include a name of someone with a personal connection.

2) The second paragraph has to connect the dots between you and the employer. Describe how your experiences meet the challenges presented in the job description.

3) In the third paragraph, further describe your personal traits and how they make you a great candidate for the job.

4) To wrap up, say when you’ll get in touch.

5) In most cases, send the letter as an attachment and format it like an old-fashioned business letter with your address at the top, then the date and then the address of the recipient.

6)  Proofread carefully and get someone you trust to check for spelling, grammar and word use.

Read more.

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Skydiving, scuba diving, mountain climbing: all are an adrenaline junkie’s dream, but they’re also part of the day-to-day duties of Air Force Reserve Pararescue Jumper (known as a PJ) Matthew Gaddy. In the simplest terms, a PJ helps people, whether it’s hikers who’ve lost their way or campers who’ve run into trouble.