Clinical psychology: profession and research.

Renzo Carli


Why should we yet again wonder about what Clinical Psychology is? 
In the first issue of this journal (1982), in its printed version, the question was answered by S. J. Korchin, L. Ancona and R. Holt; in the last issue of the same journal (1997) the problem was posed by G. Trentini, A. Imbasciati, G. Guerra and N. Rossi, G. Montesarchio, S. Salvatore and M. Grasso. Today, in the first issue of the on-line form of the Review of Clinical Psychology, it is still being discussed by M. Grasso, A. Imbasciati, Di Blasi with Lo Verso, Cigoli with Margola, Di Maria with Falgares, and by Carli. 
In fact in recent years Clinical Psychology has given its name to several Degree Courses and to numerous Schools of Specialization. At the end of the nineties it lost the battle to gain professional recognition, giving way to psychotherapy and to its various schools and courses. It remains, however, an area of psychology that is important and of great interest. Why? 
One answer can be found in what Clinical Psychology has initiated and promoted in Europe: the notion that psychology can assume not only the function of studying and describing reality, but also the role of intervention to change that same reality. The word "clinical", as G. Guerra recalled in his 1997 contribution, refers to the patient lying on the bed, on the one hand, and to the act of bending over someone to respond to his request, on the other. It is this bending over, as an act of intervention, that has been for many years the focus of our attention and our research. This act of bending over and intervening has been cast aside by the human sciences (sociology, economics, anthropology), in favour of the function of knowledge. The possible intervention – within known reality and described with its own categories and models – is reserved to the seats of power where they have become consultants. Clinical Psychology (along with Psychosociology of French matrix) has worked out its own models and methods of intervention, concerning single individuals as well as organizational structures in the most varied domains and sectors of the social system.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363