eISSN: 2353-561X
ISSN: 2353-4192
Current Issues in Personality Psychology
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4/2018
vol. 6
 
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Thematic issue:
Beyond descriptions: selected aspects of science and practice in clinical psychology and personality psychopathology
Guest editors: Dominika Górska, Emilia Soroko
abstract:
Editorial

Beyond descriptions: selected aspects of science and practice in clinical psychology and personality psychopathology

Emilia Soroko
,
Dominika Górska

Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 6(4), 261–265
Online publish date: 2018/12/19
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According to the American Psychological Association, clinical psychology is the psychological specialty that provides continuing and comprehensive mental and behavioral health care for individuals and families; consultation to agencies and communities; training, education and supervision; and research-based practice (APA, 2018). It is evident that clinical psychology is both a field of professional practice and a scientific discipline, and the task for the clinical psychologist is to link these two broad fields. According to Cierpiałkowska and Sęk (2016), clinical psychology is devoted to description (of mental health and disorders) and explanation (of mechanisms for mental health and disorders based on psychological theory and empirical research) in the context of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. We contend that scientific knowledge and practical knowledge are the bases for 1) proper diagnosis, assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment evaluation and 2) effective procedures for psychological help in the form of prevention, counseling, or psychotherapy.
As active participants in the field of clinical psychology, we have noticed three interrelated trends in scientists’ and practitioners’ discourse: 1) the persistence of an inconvenient discrepancy between science and practice (Cha & DiVasto, 2017; Ready & Santorelli, 2014; Reese et al., 2017; Smith & Thew, 2017), 2) the expansion of a descriptive approach to mental phenomena (Cierpiałkowska, Groth, & Kleka, 2018), and 3) the lack of theory in a significant number of studies (Cierpiałkowska & Sęk, 2016). In the following paragraphs, we will briefly discuss these trends and present a list of major challenges facing research in the field of clinical psychology.
Brzeziński highlights (2017) that clinical practice only makes sense when referring directly to scientific knowledge created in the field of psychology research. Supported by this statement, we believe that, to a large extent, scientific research is directed toward giving practitioners the mental tools needed to understand the pathomechanisms and pathogenesis of psychological disorders. To be helpful for professionals, there is still a need to conduct research that is close to practice and grounded in major findings of general psychology. We believe that this perspective contributes not only to diminishing the perceived gap between science and practice in the mind of clinical psychologists but also to...


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