Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding,
preventing, and relieving psychologically based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and
Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical
psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and
In practice, clinical psychologists may work with individuals, couples, families, or groups in a variety
of settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health organizations, schools, businesses, and non-profit
Most clinical psychologists who engage in research and teaching do so within a college or university
setting. Clinical psychologists may also choose to specialize in a particular field.
Clinical psychologists are also trained to gather data by observing behavior. The clinical interview is a
vital part of assessment, even when using other formalized tools, which can employ either a structured or
unstructured format. Such assessment looks at certain areas, such as general appearance and behavior, mood and
affect, perception, comprehension, orientation, insight, memory, and content of communication. One psychiatric
example of a formal interview is the mental status examination, which is often used in psychiatry as a screening
tool for treatment or further testing.