Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is regulated as a health care profession.
The field is often considered to have begun in 1896 with the opening of the first psychological clinic at the University of Pennsylvania by Lightner Witmer. In the first half of the 20th century, clinical psychology was focused on psychological assessment, with little attention given to treatment. This changed after the 1940s when World War II resulted in the need for a large increase in the number of trained clinicians. Since that time, two main educational models have developed—the Ph.D. scientist–practitioner model (requiring a doctoral dissertation and therefore research as well as clinical expertise) and, in the U.S. the Psy.D. practitioner–scholar model.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that covers several different forms of a type of common psychiatric disorder, characterized by excessive rumination, worrying, uneasiness, apprehension and fear about future uncertainties either based on real or imagined events, which may affect both physical and psychological health. The disorders once classified as neuroses are now considered anxiety disorders. There are numerous psychiatric and medical syndromes which may mimic the symptoms of an anxiety disorder such as hyperthyroidism which may be misdiagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder.
Individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder may be classified in one of two categories; based on whether they experience continuous or episodic symptoms.