One of the nice things about being a clinical psychologist is you can specialize within a very wide range of presenting problems, age ranges, and other patient or client variables. I worked mostly in child and family clinic settings, so the problems usually were about a child's behavior, such as not getting along with others, difficulty learning in school, breaking rules, etc., or their feelings, such as anxiety or depression. Because young people are constantly maturing and developing physically, mentally, and socially, the kinds of problems they tend to have are different in different age-ranges.
Through my practice I got to understand that my own issues could have a positive and a negative effect, towards others as well as towards myself. If I had struggled or still struggling with some issues of mine and I'm willing to use these experiences to be able to relate to others' struggles, even to the point of being courageous enough to self-disclose, I could be of great value to my patients/clients. But if I haven't been able to deal, or even face, my own issues when trying to help someone with similar issues, my feeling as a hypocrite would make me feel awful, interfering with my inner peace and the enjoyment of my profession. Also, it might make me give the wrong feedback to my patients/clients by trying to justify my own defects of character, or induce feelings of guilt to the patient/client to reduce my own guilt. Yes, I know, it sounds a little complicated, but the best solution might be to start fearlessly facing your own issues as early as possible during your studies and career.
George recommends the following next steps:
I was in private practice for 34 years and did both psychological testing and therapy.
I evaluated criminal defendants' competence to stand trial and sanity at the time of the offense, parents and children in contested divorce and custody cases, children for learning and attention problems and applicants for Social Security Disability.
On the therapy side I saw children and adults for problems such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress and dissociative disorders such as multiple personality disorder, now known as dissociative disorder. I have colleagues who do neuropsychological assessments of people suspected of brain dysfunction, marriage counseling, therapy with substance abuse issues,therapy for gender identity issues, and I could list more.
Obviously no one could do all of these but the range of issues is enormous. If you have a basic interest in the field you will never be bored!
Dr. Ray recommends the following next steps: