In today’s world, we are seeing various technological advancements and developments in society. These have made a drastic impact on human behaviour which is important to understand, as without this we would fail to understand ourselves causing the inability to function as efficiently as needed. To put it simply, psychology is the study of the human mind and behaviour however, clinical psychology is a field within this which investigates human behaviour but additionally treats mental disorders.
The focus of clinical psychology remains to be on but is not limited to learning disabilities, substance abuse, depression , and anxiety disorders. To carry out assessments, psychologists use tools such as Intelligence and Achievement tests to measure one’s ability and their potential and personality tests to measure personality constructs and help make judgments regarding employability. A neuropsychological test can be used to evaluate the functioning in areas such as attention or problem-solving and lastly, a clinical observation is a method used where patients are observed to recognise certain areas of potential concern. An assessment can allow a psychologist to see what best fits a patient in terms of treatment or support. This being either psychotherapy, medication, or other methods. Psychotherapy in particular is the term given to the various forms of treatment used to help with mental health problems and psychiatric disorders. Common types of psychotherapy are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Family Systemic Therapy, and Cognitive Analytical Therapy though there are multiple more. However, in addition to this we have also seen what are known as “Third-wave therapies.” These are an extension to CBT and focus on providing a more holistic view on behavioural processes. An example of this is Acceptance-Commitment Therapy: This looks into the use of healthy behavioural skills such as mindfulness, acceptance, and further encourages one to focus on their own values. Further, the goal of ACT is not to reduce symptoms though it does essentially attain this, however rather it allows one to work on themselves and make advancements in their own life.
We can also expect clinical psychology and psychology in general to play a huge role in our future. According to the World Health Organisation, only a quarter of the people who suffer from mental health disorders receive the help and support needed. This is due to many factors, though accessibility to a mental healthcare facility is a main one. In response to this, we can expect to see not only lay health workers receiving training to a certain extent, but also the involvement of clinical psychologists. The poor accessibility to mental health care facilities has been a factor that influences rates of crime in certain areas. However, providing the sufficient and the right training can help decrease this rate of crime. Furthermore, technology can help improve the quality of therapy as well as understand certain mental health disorders. For example. Virtual Reality may be used to experience the visual hallucinations present in Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which people experience hallucinations, delusions and though interference. 2/3 of people with schizophrenia have significant symptoms and often, the life expectancy of someone with schizophrenia is approximately 10 years less. Unfortunately, schizophrenia is a big risk factor for self-harm and suicide and therefore, 1/10 of people have successfully committed suicide. Schizophrenia cannot be cured however the treatment is focused on suspending symptoms and helping people managing the problem. Antipsychotic medications can be taken to help control symptoms, CBT is used to help patients cope with hallucinations and delusions. Most importantly, social support is vital in helping sufferers lead a normal life.
This works as a part of Exposure Response Prevention Therapy as in certain disorders, facing traumatic memories is hard in-session making the ERP process difficult as facing fears is required. However, virtual reality can allow patients to do this which improves the quality of therapy. Climate change is a prominent part of our world today and psychologists are working with the United Nations to help companies adapt to these issues. In addition, behavioural change and climate change impacts mental health through natural disasters leading to anxiety, PTSD, domestic abuse and depression.
Lastly, we can expect the novel coronavirus pandemic to bring change as it has already made multiple bio-psycho-social impacts. This has had implications on communities, it can bring changes into workplaces, and lastly restriction can influence behaviour.
Clinical Psychology is an field of study that has great prospects and will help improve our future. Additionally, as we better understand mental health and the impacts it can have on our life, we can expect to experience an improved quality of life.