Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour: how we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups. Applied or practising psychologists (usually either clinical or counselling psychologists) are trained to use the knowledge gained from this research in a wide range of settings, helping people with all sorts of problems, from those experiencing difficult life issues to those suffering with mental health conditions. Therapy will generally begin with an assessment of the client’s current situation, their presenting problems, previous history and hopes and goals for therapy. Standardized questionnaires may be used to aid in the assessment and provide a measure of current symptoms. Therapy would then focus on developing a tailored and individualised psychological formulation in collaboration with the client. A formulation is a way of making sense of the client’s current difficulties and of suggesting key focal areas that would need to be addressed in the therapy. Applied psychologists are very aware of the importance of the therapeutic relationship and always aim to work in collaboration with clients in order to improve psychological functioning and well-being. They will often be trained in using more than one therapeutic approach and will draw on a wide range of psychological theory to meet the individual needs of their clients.
All applied psychologists will have trained in accordance with the requirements of the British Psychological Society (completing a 3 year undergraduate degree followed by 3 years post graduate study to doctoral level). They are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council who maintains a register of qualified and accredited psychologists (http://www.hcpc-uk.org/).