Clinical Work Environments

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Different environments make different demands on the clinical psychologist.  They fulfill different needs in a hospital versus a prison versus a treatment center. The goal of the psychologist remains the same: to improve the mental and emotional well-being of their patients. How they can achieve those goals and how they approach them may vary.

Clinical work in a prison is about education.  Ideally, imprisonment leads to rehabilitation. Clinical psychologists who work in a prison environment are working with individuals who are convicted of crimes either major or minor or both. Their job, however, remains the same as if they were seeing a client in an office, to help them identify, assess and confront their issues and/or disorders. In many cases, prison is the first time some prisoners ever see a psychologist or a psychiatrist and become aware of the issues that they have.

In a hospital, a psychologist may not work with the same patient day in and day out, but rather serve to evaluate patients who are preparing for difficult surgeries, transplants or who have undergone a trauma. They assess and make their recommendations. Depending on whether they work a practice in the hospital, they are there to facilitate for the patients and to make sure that the patient understands what is happening or what they are asking for.  Plastic surgery for example often requires a psychological evaluation as a part of the process to make sure that the patient is in a clear and present mind to what they are seeking in their medical treatment.


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