3 - The Public We Serve: Their Mental Health Needs and Sociocultural and Medical Circumstances
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Publisher SummaryThe purpose of this chapter is to illustrate how the definition of professional psychology can clarify the nature, scope, and purposes of professional psychology education and practice. Greater clarity regarding these issues will be very helpful for resolving several of the disagreements regarding the appropriate approaches to teaching and practice that have divided the field. The definition of professional psychology proposed in the previous chapter identified the primary function of a professional psychologist as providing psychological services to meet the behavioral health and biopsychosocial needs of the public. When focusing on behavioral health needs, it might seem to be a straightforward process to learn the assessments and interventions that are most effective for treating common behavioral health problems. Epidemiological data could be used to identify the mental health disorders most commonly faced by the public, and then the available research could be reviewed to identify the assessments and interventions that are most effective for addressing those issues. Treatment guidelines could then be written that would suggest the indicated treatments for various mental health disorders.

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