Psychology is one of the most popular social sciences all over the world, both at graduate and post graduate levels. For centuries, Psychology, as a part of Philosophy shared its aim of understanding the nature including human nature. The method of inquiry used was mainly observation, supported by logic for drawing inferences and making predictions and then validating all these by further experiences. For thousands of years, psychology and philosophy remained convenient bedfellows. The wake- up call came around the turn of the 20th century. The developments in the natural sciences like physics, chemistry, biology and experimental methodology forced some to look at the human being more interms of behaviour rather than Psyche’. Psychology introduced more objectivity than Philosophy and subjected their conjectures to rigors of scientific testing.
Psychology had been conceived a new emerging science but its delivery was hastened by the two Wars in Europe. From mainly an academic discipline Psychology became an applied science. Its scope widened to include Education, Health and Industry. Soon the relevance of psychology to almost all walks of life was universally acknowledged. Different branches of psychology started to appear in the middle of 20th century. Clinical Psychology, a major specialism was busy broadening its base incorporating discoveries made by other science like Biology (in Evolution, Genetics, Physiology, Endocrinology) Physics (reflexes, psycho-galvanic responses, reaction time, Electroencephalogram, Biofeedback and so on). Studies of human behaviour, personal as well as interpersonal has a profound impact on industry, (workers’ motivation, efficiency, morale, mood, productivity, happiness and satisfaction and man-machine relationship and mental health) and so on.
The spread of Clinical Psychology has progressed more in mental health than any other area. It may due to the rapid industrialization, urbanization, consequent changes in the modes of human social interactions and the increasing pace of life have sensitized us all to the crucial role psychological factors play in all aspects of life. In most developed and many developing countries Clinical Psychology is now recognized as an independent profession with clarity of focus and ever-widening scope. The role of the professional clinical psychology is to respond to the psychological health needs of the society. It is a field of science and clinical practice which involves clinical application of scientific knowledge of human psychology and professional ethics to address psychological needs and promote psychological health. Finally, it should be added that the term Clinical originally denoted dealing with mental illness and behavioural problems; but, the present day clinical psychology is equally concerned with improving human functioning, adjustment and health and happiness to the optimal levels.
The relevance of Psychology to all aspects of life has never been more widely acknowledged than it is now. However, the field of Clinical psychology has become the most developed and popular all over the world. This was partly because the clinical psychology was able to provide help to people with mental health problems and partly because it chose to adopt the scientific bases for application, it has become an autonomous profession. Many other branches of psychology remained academic disciplines which you study to teach. M. Phil. and Ph. D primarily research/ academic degrees giving one mainly theoretical knowledge without necessarily giving any practical skills and techniques to use them in real life. It should be mentioned here that it is through the theoretical contributions and application of clinical psychology, a number of independent professional disciplines have emerged over the last few decades. For example School psychology, Health psychology, Sport psychology, Neuropsychology, and so on.
A professional training program in clinical psychology is theoretical as well as applied. It sets its own course with minimum standards, providing thoroughly supervised training by qualified professionals with a declaration to abide by agreed ethical standards at all times. The training should be visibly geared to meeting the needs of the community. The professional clinical psychologist should ensure to achieve professional excellence and mastery in their field and continue to improve their standards by keeping abreast with the new developments
The employment prospects for a well trained clinical psychologist are very bright. Hospitals with psychiatric services are always clamoring for professional clinical psychologists. With the expansion of District Hospitals with psychiatric wards, the demand for clinical psychologists will increase. Special education services have created hundreds of vacancies which they can fill with trained personnel. NGO, the armed forces, the civil services and other agencies are always looking for well trained and qualified clinical and counselling psychologists. School psychology is an upcoming area in which applied psychology can play a most crucial role is schools as it happens all over the world.
It is with these aspects of our discipline in mind that the first attempt to start this first MS course in clinical psychology was made in Pakistan in 2005 and it was a great success. Now with the benefit of many years of experience an improved version of the same programme is being offered by the original team in the University of Management and Technology. The current ethos of this training program is based primarily on the scientist- practitioner model. We provide theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills essential for a clinical psychologist. Moreover, we attach great importance to personal and professional development of the trainees as well as the staff through extra-curricular activities, case conferences, seminars, workshops, discussion groups and self explorative exercises. We believe that research is an integral part of clinical training, particularly when we are trying to develop indigenous clinical psychology. Moreover, we have planned significant development in both the structure and the content of new specialized courses to be offered by the Institute of Clinical Psychology, UMT.
Prof Dr Zahid Mahmood
Director, The Institute of Clinical Psychology,