Definition of Clinical Psychology

Definitions of Practice Areas for Clinical Psychology


All members of the College of Psychologists require the following minimum working knowledge base:

  • knowledge in the core content areas of psychology, i.e., the biological bases of behaviour, the cognitive affective bases of behaviour, the social bases of behaviour, and the individual differences of behaviour;
  • knowledge of learning;
  • knowledge of all relevant ethical, legal and professional issues;
  • knowledge of research design and methodology; knowledge of statistics; and,
  • knowledge of psychological measurement.


Clinical Psychology is the application of knowledge about human behaviour to the assessment, diagnosis and/or treatment of individuals with disorders of behaviour, emotions and thought.

In addition to the above minimum knowledge base, members practising Clinical Psychology require the following:

  • knowledge of psychopathology / abnormal psychology;
  • knowledge of personality/individual differences;
  • knowledge of psychological assessment;
  • knowledge of psychodiagnostics;
  • knowledge of intervention procedures/psychotherapy; and,
  • knowledge of evaluation of change.


In addition, practitioners who provide services in Clinical Psychology to children and adolescents must have a background in developmental psychology and knowledge of appropriate assessment and therapeutic techniques.

For members practising Clinical Psychology, the following minimum skills are required:

  • the ability to perform an appropriate clinical assessment;
  • the ability to formulate and communicate* a differential diagnosis; and,
  • the ability to plan, execute and evaluate an appropriate treatment program.


* It is the view of the Registration Committee that in the practice of clinical psychology, one must know what is wrong with the client in order to treat the client and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. Therefore, the ability to communicate a differential diagnosis must apply to any psychologist or psychological associate practising in the area of clinical psychology. Individuals working in the area of clinical psychology who do not meet these criteria may expect to have their practice restricted.