Career in Clinical Psychology
The human mind is one of the most enduring enigmas in the entire universe. Despite Years of research, researchers have not been able to completely figure out the complexities involved in the mental processes of human beings. It is really wonderful that human beings exhibit a number of emotions which make us superior to other animals. But it is equally saddening that a few human beings exhibit abnormal mental behaviour, the reasons behind which are equally mysterious.
If you are a person who wants to unravel the mysteries of the human mind and also want to offer a healing touch to those who are afflicted with mental illnesses, you should do a course in Clinical Psychology. The satisfaction which comes with working out the methods of the human mental activities is supreme. And the number of professionally qualified Clinical Psychologists in the country is very low, hence searching for a job is not a worry in this field.
Psychology is the science of the mind or of mental states and processes. Clinical Psychology is the discipline in which one studies abnormal mental states, mental processes and mental behaviour. A Clinical Psychologist is a trained professional, who offers counseling services to people who are afflicted with abnormal mental states and show abnormal mental behavior.
India ranks second in the world in terms of population. There needs to be a healthy ratio between doctors ( in each specialized field ) and patients, in order to ensure the good health of a country’s population. However, today, the number of Clinical Psychologists in the country is abysmally low. The situation looks very grim if we compare the number of Clinical Psychologists in the country with that of the number of Psychiatrists in India.
The ratio between Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists, in the country, is very poor at 1:10. Even the current output of registered Clinical Psychologists in India is as low as ten percent of the total need. Psychotherapy can be and should be offered by trained Clinical Psychologists, according to the Rehabilitation Council of India ( RCI ). But due to the acute shortage of trained Clinical Psychologists in the country, even Psychologists and Psychiatrists offer counseling services.
This is being done, despite the fact that Psychiatrists are trained to address mental health issues only from the physiological point of view. Students, who have merely completed their Post graduation in Social Work or in Psychology are also offering counseling services, even though they are not registered under the RCI.
This presents a picture of an acute lack of trained Clinical Psychologists in India. It also points to the urgent need for trained and qualified Clinical Psychologists. The Mental Health Authority ( MHA ) was set up by the Government of India, in the wake of the fire tragedy at a psychiatric nursing home in Erwadi ( Tamil Nadu ), in which many mentally ill patients were burnt to death.
The task of issuing licences to psychiatric nursing homes and such establishments was entrusted to the MHA. The presence of at least one registered Clinical Psychologist on the premises of any such establishment, was recommended by the MHA. The RCI issues a registration number to every Clinical Psychologist which has to be renewed after every seven year.
Eligibility for Clinical Psychologist :
The successful completion of an M.A. or M. Sc. Degree in Psychology with a minimum of 55 percent marks in aggregate is the minimum eligibility criteria for pursuing an M.Phil Degree in Clinical Psychology. It is preferable to have a special paper in Clinical Psychology at the Master’s Degree level. The aggregate percentage marks are relaxable by five percent for the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Two Years of practical experience in offering counseling services is also an eligibility criteria at several institutes.
One needs to be kind and compassionate in nature in order to be a good Clinical Psychologist since this profession entails the practitioners to understand and solve the problems of people through counseling. One should have a good understanding of the workings of the human mind and should also have a natural propensity to unravel the deepest mysteries of the human mind.
It is a difficult task to deal with patients exhibiting abnormal mental behaviour, hence a lot of patience is required on the part of a counselor. In the profession of Clinical Psychology, a counselor picks up a lot of negative thoughts and emotions from the patients.
Hence, one should have the ability of ventilating all the negativity picked up during counseling. Moreover, one should also have strong skills of persuasion in order to help patients break their mental blocks. Effective communication skills are also required, since one has to uncover the innermost workings of the patients mental processes by talking with them.
Courses in Clinical Psychology in India :
Various courses in Clinical Psychology are offered by universities and institutes across the country. One can go in for an M.Phil. Program of 2 Years duration. Two Year M.Phil. Programs are available at the Central Institute of Psychiatry ( CIP ) in Ranchi ( Jharkhand ), the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences ( NIMHANS ) in Bangalore ( Karnataka ) and at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences ( IHBAS ) in New Delhi.
The IHBAS inducts 12 students into its M. Phil. Program every Year. Each of the above – mentioned institutes conducts independent, All India Level Entrance Examinations for candidates wishing to get admission into M. Phil Programs at these institutes. The candidates who qualify in the written examination also have to clear an interview in order to get admission.
Diploma courses and Certificate courses in Clinical Psychology are also offered by several institutes across the country. The Jamia Millia Islamia ( New Delhi ) and a few regional centres of the NCERT ( National Council of Educational Research and Training ) offer Diploma courses in Clinical Psychology. The RCI recommends a practice – oriented curriculum for students pursuing any course ( Degree, Diploma or Certificate ) in Clinical Psychology. The RCI recommends an OPD ( Out Patient Department ) in every institute offering a course in Clinical Psychology. It also recommends the restriction of theory – related teaching to only 30 percent of the syllabus while laying more stress on practical learning.
Prospects for Clinical Psycology :
As mentioned earlier, there is a severe shortage of trained manpower in Clinical Psychology in the country. There are just over 600 practising Clinical Psychologists in the country. Hence, one will be sure to find a job if one has a professional degree in Clinical Psychologists under one’s belt. One who has done a course in Clinical Psychology will be able to find jobs in the government sector. One will also be able to find jobs in the licensed psychiatric nursing homes.
Clinical Psychologists are also required in the non – governmental organizations ( NGOs ) who are engaged in offering counseling services. One can also find a job as a full – time career counselor in a school, since the Central Board of Secondary Education ( CBSE ) has directed for the appointment of at least one full – time career counselor in each and every school under its affiliation. One can also specialize in marital counseling if one has obtained a professional degree in Clinical Psychology. Moreover, the prospects of earning name and fame are quite bright if one sets up a clinic and starts counseling independently.
A lot of opportunities are also open for students of Clinical Psychology in the UK, the US, Australia and Singapore. The profession of Clinical Psychology is in a very young stage in India but is set to expand more in the near future. Together with it, the career scope of students, who do a course in Clinical Psychology today, will also expand in the near future.
Students who clear the entrance examinations are immediately offered stipendiary benefits at their institutes. The IHBAS in New Delhi offers a stipend of 5,000 per month to every student who gets admitted into the M.Phil Program of the institute. The two other nationally recognized institutes, viz. NIMHANS ( Bangalore ) and CIP ( Ranchi ), also offer the provision of stipend to their students.
One who is professionally trained in Clinical Psychology will be able to command a salary of over 8,000 ( which can go up to 13,500 ) in the government sector. The salary in the private sector is higher for a Clinical Psychologist. It can be as high as 40,000 in the private sector. Schools and NGOs recruit Clinical Psychologists who are not professionally trained but even they command a salary ranging between 8,000 and 10,000. Private practitioners who offer counseling services independently, earn a lot more as remuneration.