A Day in the Life of a Clinical Psychologist

A psychologist counseling a patient

Clinical psychology is a fascinating field that attracts many students. Not all students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology will enter into this field since the degree is useful in many careers, but those who want to pursue clinical psychology will need to earn a graduate degree as part of earning their license.

Administrative Tasks

Psychologists devote a good amount of their working hours to administrative tasks. They must communicate with potential and current clients and coordinate patient care with other providers such as primary care doctors or hospital case managers. Psychologists who maintain their own practice must also spend part of their time dealing with insurance reimbursements.


Psychologists often receive requests to perform evaluations. They may evaluate couples who are hoping to adopt a child to ensure that the parents will raise the child in a healthy, stable environment. Other evaluations come from a court of law, such as an evaluation of two parents fighting over child custody.

New Patient Consultations

Psychological Counseling can be a lengthy process that lasts for months or even years. It all begins with an initial meeting between a new patient and a psychologist. The psychologist may review the patient’s client intake form and any other relevant documentation.

Following this, the psychologist will begin to explore the patient’s problems. Psychologists ask open-ended questions to encourage their patients to talk about their problems, emotions and challenges. Identifying the underlying roots of the problem may take many therapy sessions, but during the initial appointment, the psychologist tries to develop a solid grasp of the patient’s concerns.

During the consultation, the psychologist will also help the patient learn what they can expect from therapy and how to get the most out of it. They may offer treatment recommendations, such as the types of therapy that may be helpful for the patient.


After the initial consultation, the psychologist will recommend a schedule of therapy sessions. During these sessions, the psychologist may use a variety of therapy methods, including:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on confronting and changing harmful behaviors and developing coping mechanisms.

Family or couples therapy

Family and couples therapy involves working closely with families to help nurture healthy change and development in their relationships.

Group therapy

Group therapy involves treating a small group of clients at once through guided discussion and building relationships.

Professional Referrals

Although clinical psychologists are licensed professionals, they are limited in their area of expertise. For instance, a psychologist cannot prescribe medications, which is a psychiatrist’s responsibility. If a psychologist beliefs that a patient may benefit from psychiatric medications, he or she may refer that patient to a psychiatrist.

Marketing and Outreach

Psychologists who maintain their own practice will spend time working on acquiring new patients. They may plan marketing campaigns, write a blog for their firm and network with other psychologists. Some psychologists also work with members of the media. Media outreach activities may include giving interviews to journalists, TV presenters and radio show hosts about mental health topics.

If you feel called to serve patients as a psychologist, you can acquire a strong academic foundation in the field at Grand Canyon University. The Bachelor of Science in Psychology effectively prepares graduates to pursue a master’s degree and licensure. Click on the Request More Information button on this page or visit our website today to learn more about the programs offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.