For Public

What is Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychologists (CPs) of our Division provide psychological assessment and interventions for clients of all ages. They offer consultation to the public and other professionals on mental health issues and are involved in research as well as training in clinical psychology. They are also experts in coordinating psychological support service in disaster work.

CPs apply their knowledge and skills in the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychological problems. They provide direct services, including intellectual and personality assessment, neuro-psychological evaluation, emotion assessment, forensic psychological examination. Treatment and intervention can be conducted in the form of individual, and couple, group and family modalities. Moreover, they consult and advise on program development and program evaluation. Furthermore, they offer the public psycho-education information on mental health issues, as well as hotlines and disaster management in critical incidents. As social scientists and clinicians, CPs also conduct research and teach in different tertiary institutions on clinical psychology.

Most of DCP's members work in hospitals and/or clinics, social service settings (such as Social Welfare Department, many non-profit making organizations), correctional institutions (including Correctional Services Department), the Hong Kong Police Force and tertiary institutions. Some work in private (independent) practice.

People we serve

  1. Anyone who has major problems in coping with difficulties and changes in life (e.g. identity crisis in puberty, relationship breakdown, family problems, parenting problems, stress at work, illness and mourning.)
    If stress is not dealt with properly, it may lead to hyperarousal, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety and may affect health, social and occupational functioning.
  2. Sufferers of chronic diseases and illnesses that are easily induced by stress (e.g. asthma, heart diseases, hypertension, renal failure, diabetes, chronic pain etc.).
    Intervention usually involves relaxation techniques and biofeedback, which serves to alleviate the impact of stress on the condition.
  3. Sufferers of brain damage and physical disabilities.
    Clinical Psychologists assist those who suffer from brain damages and physical disabilities in handling the condition, so as to promote one's psychological well-being.
  4. Sufferers of chronic sleep disturbances, anxiety and phobias, depression or eating disorders (e.g. anorexia).
    Scientific researches have shown that psychological treatment paired with medication can effectively combat the problem.
  5. Sufferers of psychiatric problems (e.g. early psychosis, schizophrenia, personality disorder, mental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism etc.).
    Psychological intervention alone cannot eliminate such problems, but could help in alleviating the condition.
  6. Those that have delinquent behaviour, history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, child abuse and/or domestic violence, or are pathological gamblers.
    Clinical Psychologists could assist them in developing positive life style and steering away from the maladaptive behaviour.

Find a Clinical Psychologist

  1. Social Welfare Department(SWD) & Family Service of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)

    What do they do?

    Their target problems are marital and family problems, youth behavioural problems, minor criminal offences, child abuse cases, maladjustment to abrupt changes in life.

    Who do they serve?

    People in the community who have emotional, thought or behavioural disturbances. The CPS of SWD also provide professional support to the rehabilitation services under SWD and NGOs..

    How to contact them?

    • Self-referral

      You could register at your nearest Integrated Family Service Centre, if you have not already done so. You could also call the Social Welfare Department hotline at 2343 2255 to speak to a social worker about your needs. Dependent upon the situation, a social worker would contact a preliminary assessment of the condition, to decide if referral to CP services is needed.

    • Referral

      If you are currently registered at the Social Welfare Department for other services, you could contact a social worker about your concern. Medical practitioner or the Court could both refer clients to CP services.

    How much would it cost?

    It is normally free of charge.
    The NGOs may charge a fee using a sliding scale according to your income.

  2. Hospital Authority(HA) (including General Admission, Psychiatric Departments & Outpatient Wards)

    What do they do?

    Help to treat and alleviate emotional distress across life span. E.g. family problems, excess stress at work, emotional, behavioural and cognitive disturbances, anxiety, phobia, depression, eating disorder, under-development, personality disturbances, early psychosis, drug abuse, distress triggered by chronic illnesses and maladjustment.

    Who do they serve?

    Those who are currently treated in HA clinics or hospitals

    How to contact them?

    Requires referral from your doctor or medical practitioner

    How much would it cost?

    Charged according to the public medical service rates

  3. Department of Health (Child Assessment Service, Student Health Service, Elderly Health Service, Family Health Service)

    What do they do? Who do they serve?

    The CPs of Child Assessment Service evaluate cognitive functioning of children, assess children with developmental disabilities and provide interim guidance and support to parents.

    Student Health Service promotes the psychological well-being of youth, especially when faced with difficult situations in life. It aims at preventing and allowing early detection of any psychological problems.

    Elderly Health Service provides a channel for prevention and early detection of psychological problems among elderly people. It aids caretakers in serving the elderly.

    The CPs of Family Health Service engage in programme planning and training of allied health professionals in the areas of parenting and psychological well being of preschool children.

    How much would it cost?

    Charged according to the public medical service rates

    How to contact them?

    Child Assessment Service (for children aged 0-12) requires referral from a medical practitioner or a psychologist. No referral is needed for the other Services of the Department of Health.

  4. Rehabilitation Services (NGOs and service units under HA)

    What do they do?

    Assessment of the abilities of those suffering from mental disabilities; assist the management of learning and emotional problems triggered by physical or brain damage. The rehabilitation services aim at promoting the quality of life and coping skills of those suffering from mental disabilities.

    Who do they serve?

    Those who are currently registered with the Rehabilitation Services.

  5. Correctional Services Department

    What do they do?

    Psychological evaluation is provided for the court and review boards to facilitate their decision making. Counselling services are provided to inmates with emotional and behavioural problems. Structured programmes conducted include treatment programme for sex offenders and offenders with substance abuse problems, preventive programmes for long term adult offenders and behaviour programme for young offenders. The parent-inmate programme is also conducted to enhance the involvement of the offenders' families in the rehabilitation process. Research projects are conducted to better understand the psychological make-up of offenders and to improve programme effectiveness.

    Who do they serve?

    Inmates, staff of the Department institutions and their families.

    How to contact them?

    Inmates can be referred by the court. Inmates, staff and their families may self-approach the CP service.

    How much would it cost?

    Free of charge.

  6. Hong Kong Police

    What do they do?

    Provide professional counseling and educational services to Force members, including conducting interviews after shooting, psychological support after emergencies and stress management training. Also conduct research and provide counselling to family members of the Force.

    Who do they serve?

    The Force members and their families.

    How to contact them?

    Self-referral or through officer in charge of welfare and staff relations.

    How much would it cost?

    Free of charge.

  7. Counselling Service of Higher Academic Institutions

    What do they do?

    Provide counseling to their students on emotional problems and learning issues. Some of the institutions may also provide psychological service to the staff.

    Who do they serve?

    The staff or students of the academic institution.

    How to contact them?

    Self-referral

    How much would it cost?

    Free of charge.

  8. Clinical Psychologists in private practice

    To date, there is no legislation in Hong Kong to govern the licensing of Clinical Psychologists. It is, therefore, important to exercise caution when seeking help from Clinical Psychologists in private practice. The following are a few things that would be helpful to look out for, consider if:

    1. He/she is eligible for membership of DCP
    2. He/she is a registered Clinical Psychologist with the HKPS
    3. He/she is qualified to exercise psychological assessments and treatments

    The list of registered Psychologist in Hong Kong (including Educational Psychologists, Industrial and Organizational Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists) could be viewed on the HKPS website. Joining the DCP as a member and registering as a Clinical Psychologist are both voluntary at the present stage. If you would like to find out more about Clinical Psychology Services in Hong Kong and/or the required qualifications to practise Clinical Psychology, please write to us at:

    Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Or : Room 506, Lemmi Centre,
    50 Hoi Yuen Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon

List of Clinical Psychologists working in Non-Government Organizations & Private Practicing

What are the qualifications required to be a Clinical Psychologist to practice in Hong Kong?

  • The basic requirements recognized by DCP are having completed (1) a Masters training programme in clinical psychology of a quality acceptable to DCP, and (2) having completed a Bachelor degree (with a major in psychology). The post-graduate training programme in clinical psychology must meet DCP's requirement for the number of days of clinical supervision, and the number of settings. All registered Clinical Psychologists of HKPS meet the above requirements.

    Two universities in Hong Kong offer training programmes in clinical psychology. Please refer to their relevant websites for information.

    If you are interested in becoming a CP and have got a bachelor degree majoring in an area other than psychology in Hong Kong, you may consider first completing either the Post-graduate Certificate in Psychology at The University of Hong Kong or Post-graduate Diploma in Psychology offered at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The City University of Hong Kong. Please refer to the universities for details.

List of recognized Clinical Psychology programmes in Hong Kong

Accredited Placement Settings in Hong Kong

Press Release

Psychoeducational Materials

FAQs

  • FAQs on the Profession

    • What is Clinical Psychology?

      The field of Clinical Psychology is a branch of applied psychology. It integrates theories, research and practice pertaining to understand, predict and manage the followings:

      1. intellectual, emotional, cognitive, biological, psychological, social and behavioural aspects of human development in varying cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages.
      2. emotional, cognitive and behavioural adaptation and adjustment to personal development and environmental changes.
      3. maladjustment and emotional distress triggered by illnesses, accidents, trauma, social hazards and family complications.

      How could I become a Clinical Psychologist in Hong Kong?

      The basic entry level is earning a Master Degree from a Clinical Psychology programme after the completion of a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (or an equivalent qualification). The programme is offered by the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Your training as a Clinical Psychologist must include a certain amount of clinical placement, as specified by HKPS. All registered Clinical Psychologists of HKPS have qualifications satisfying the above requirements.

      What if I have a Bachelor Degree in non-psychology subjects, and I want to pursue a Clinical Psychology Programme?

      If you are a university graduate in fields other than psychology, and you want to pursue a Clinical Psychology Programme, you have to take a bridging course to be qualified as a graduate member of Hong Kong Psychological Society before you can apply for admission to the Master Degree in Clinical Psychology. Such bridging course include the Post Graduate Certificate in Psychology offered by the University of Hong Kong, the Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology by the City University of Hong Kong, and the Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

      What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

      The main difference between the two professions is that Clinical Psychologists are not medical practitioners, Psychiatrists are. Clinical Psychologists have not gone through medical training, and are not qualified for medical prescription; they apply psychological theories, tools and methods to assess and treat psychological problems.

      1. Training and academic background: Psychiatrists are physicians specializing in Psychiatry; they are first trained as medical practitioners. Clinical Psychologists, on the other hand, are usually trained in a Master or Doctorate programme of Clinical Psychology, after accomplishing a Bachelor Degree in Psychology.
      2. Assessment & Treatment : Psychiatrists examine people's mental status and conditions. They may combine medication with some kind of psychological treatment. Clinical Psychologists employ standardized psychological tools to assess people's intellectual- cognitive functioning, emotional-behavioural and social functioning. They apply an array of psychological theories, tools and methods in treatment. Psychology treatment usually emphasises on the interaction of cognitive, emotional, behavioural and physiological aspects
      3. Target Group: The target group of psychiatrists is usually those suffering from mental illnesses; Clinical Psychologists work with people whose problems range from developmental, emotional and behavioural, adjustment, personality, social deviance to mental illnesses. In treating mental illnesses, Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists work hand in hand to provide the most effective treatment.

      What is a "Psychological Doctor"?

      The profession "Psychological Doctor" does not exist in Hong Kong. The confusion arises when the public are unfamiliar with the nature of the work of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. Clinical Psychologists are not medically trained and cannot claim to be a doctor. They possess a Master or Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology and do treat the psychological domains of people.If the title of a Clinical Psychology is "Dr" it means he/she has obtained a Doctorate Degree.

      Is there any legislation in Hong Kong governing the licensing of Clinical Psychologists?

      To date, there is no legislation governing the licensing of Clinical Psychologists in Hong Kong. Since 1999, HKPS had been advocating the introduction of new legislation concerning the licensing of Clinical Psychologists to protect the rights of the public and warrant the quality of CP services in Hong Kong. Clinical Psychologists in Hong Kong could join HKPS out of freewill. Registered Clinical Psychologists of HKPS are bound by the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct and other regulations of the Society. Complaints submitted to HKPS would be handled by the Specialised Investigation Committee. The Society would take disciplinary action against members who have violated the Society's regulations.

      I am doing my graduate studies in clinical psychology outside HK.I plan to work in Hong Kong upon completion of the programme. I want to know the license requirements in Hong Kong.

      At present, the Hong Kong government does not have statutory requirement for registration (or licensure) for psychologists, including CPs. Our parent organization (The Hong Kong Psychological Society) operates a HKPS society-based registration system. Please refer to HKPS website for details. Most employers in the public settings in HK (e.g. Social Welfare Department, Hospital Authority) require applicants for CP posts to be eligible for FULL MEMBERSHIP of DCP. Please refer to FAQ section on membership for details.

      What are the similarities and differences between a Clinical Psychologist and a Social Worker?

      Both Clinical Psychologist and Social Worker apply professional knowledge and theories to provide therapy and counselling to clients and assist them in managing their psychological problems and enhancing their adaptive abilities. They also participated in community education and research. Their differences are as follows:

      1. Training and academic background: Clinical Psychologists are trained in a Master or Doctorate programme of Clinical Psychology, after accomplishing a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (or equivalent qualification). Registered Social Workers are trained in a Bachelor programme in Social Work or above.
      2. Type of Services: Clinical Psychologists are qualified to employ standardized assessment tools to conduct psychological assessment (such as intellectual assessment and neuropsychological assessment). While Social Workers cannot provide this kind of service, they have their expertise on utilizing the social resources to assist their clients.
      3. Mode of Services: Both Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers provide services through individual sessions, group sessions or family therapy. Apart from these, Social Workers also used social action such as mobilizing residents and demonstration to assist those in needs.
      4. Target Group: Clinical Psychologists work with people whose problems range from developmental, emotional, behavioural to mental problem. Apart from the above-mentioned target groups, Social Workers also work with the disadvantaged of the community. When Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers assist their clients, they work hand in hand to provide the most effective service.
      5. Career Development: Graduates in the Master programme of Clinical Psychologist or above are eligible to apply for the post of Clinical Psychologist. Graduates in the Bachelor Degree in Social Work or above can apply for the post of Registered Social Worker after professional registration. Both of them can also apply for the post of counsellor according to their own qualification.

      Can clinical psychologists read through others' mind to know what others are thinking?

      Clinical psychologists cannot read through others' mind to know what others are thinking. Their expertise lies on the use of scientific method to study human being's cognition, behaviour and emotion, etc. Equipped with psychological knowledge, they can better understand the psychological responses coming up from different events. Besides, as they have received formal training in psychotherapy, they are more skilful in applying observational and communicational skills. Their heightened sensitivity also helps to understand clients' conversation and emotional responses. All these may lead to the myth that clinical psychologists can read through others' mind.

      How many Clinical Psychologists and Registered or Qualified Clinical Psychologists are there in private practice in Hong Kong?

      To date, there is no legislation governing the licensing of Clinical Psychologists in Hong Kong. Clinical Psychologists in Hong Kong can apply for the membership of DCP, HKPS or professional registration on voluntary basis. They are bound by the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct.According to the record of the DCP in April 2013, we have 347 members. Among them, about 50 are in private practice.

      Do clinical psychologists have their own psychological society and workers' association?

      Clinical psychologists have their own psychological society and workers' association. In Hong Kong, there is the Division of Clinical Psychology, The Hong Kong Psychological Society, and the Hong Kong Clinical Psychologists Association. For enquiry, the Hong Kong Clinical Psychologists Association can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      There are many Counsellors, Therapists and Clinical Psychologists who claimed to provide therapy and counselling service. How can I differentiate their scope of services?

      To date, there is no legislation governing the licensing of people who provide counselling and treatment service. It is, therefore, important to be cautious about the professional qualification of the people who provide services, in order to protect one’s right when seeking professional help. The following are a few things that would be helpful to look out for when seeking help from Clinical Psychologists, consider if:

      1. He/she is eligible for membership of DCP.
      2. He/she is a registered Clinical Psychologist with the HKPS.
      3. He/she is qualified to exercise psychological assessments and treatments.

      What can be the most serious consequence if a patient receives counselling from an unqualified psychotherapist?

      Serious consequence can be resulted if a patient receives counselling from an unqualified psychotherapist. Not only leaving the problems unresolved, risk can be imposed on the patient’s psychological health. For instance, some participants suffered from acute psychosis after attending certain psychological programs in the community. Though there are different factors leading to psychosis, being cautious to select qualified psychotherapist for counselling is of vital importance. Clinical psychologists are qualified psychotherapists who have received professional training under clinical supervision and they are bound by the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct.

  • FAQs on Clinical Psychology Services

    • What do clinical psychology services usually involve?

      Practitioners of CP are educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge, results from research, clinical experience and judgment in the following service areas:

      1. assessment and intervention, usually directed towards those who suffer from emotional distress or dysfunction;
      2. supportive service for family members or companion of the sufferer;
      3. consultation services to allied professions and organizations, e.g. promotion of public awareness on the nature and prevention of mental health; training of allied professions and providing clinical guidance;
      4. scientific research on clinical psychology.

      What are the target problems of clinical psychology services?

      Clinical Psychology Services are directed at preventing and managing emotional and mental conflicts, as well as behavioural problems. Examples include excessive anxiety, phobia, depression, eating and weight control problems, children developmental problems, identity problem, psycho-sexual dysfunctioning, family and relationship problems, personality disturbances, early psychosis, drug abuse, emotional distress triggered by chronic illness and accidents or trauma. Clinical Psychologists help to promote psychological wellness and restore destabilized individuals back to equilibrium and growth processes.

      What is Psychological Assessment?

      Assessment in Clinical Psychology integrates standardized psychometric tests, systematic behavioural observation and clinical interviews to evaluate one’s cognitive functioning, personality type, mental, behavioural and emotional status; which, in turn, help to throw light on the causes of personal distress and malfunctioning. Examples of psychometric tests include intelligence test (or IQ Test), memory tests, neuropsychological tests, personality and mood tests.

      What is Psychological Intervention?

      Based upon systematic and sound psychological theories, research results and clinical assessment, Clinical Psychological intervention alleviates and treats physical and emotional distress that sprang from maladjustment to changes in life. Clinical Psychologists draw on information from assessment and observations to select the most suitable treatment modality and procedures that fit the client's problem and psychological conditions.

      There are a variety of theories and techniques for psychological treatment, most of which involves verbal communication between the Clinical Psychologist and the client. Examples of interventional techniques include cognitive-behavioural therapy, marital and family therapy, play therapy, biofeedback, psychoanalysis, cognitive retraining and rehabilitation.

      Intervention could be conducted individually, in groups or as a family unit. Dependent upon the situation, a CP might find it necessary to refer the client to other types of services, including institutionalization or treatment involving medication.

      What is the common aim of psychological intervention?

      The main goal of Psychological Intervention is to enhance psychological well-being and positive development; to promote one's ability to deal with stress, interpersonal conflicts and emotional problems; and to alleviate distress brought about by developmental crisis, social hazards, trauma, chronic illness or physical disability.

  • FAQs on DCP membership

    • What are the requirements for a postgraduate training course in clinical psychology that is of a quality acceptable to DCP?

      Postgraduate programme in clinical psychology has to cover the following six core areas:

      1. Psychological assessment;
      2. Theories of psychological problems;
      3. Psychological therapies;
      4. Professional and ethical issues;
      5. Research methodology;
      6. Neuropsychology, or Health Psychology or Community Psychology or Community and Health Psychology.

      Clinical psychology programmes that are accredited by the American Psychological Association, the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, the Canadian Psychological Association, or the Health & Care Professions Council of the United Kingdom would also be accepted by DCP.

      I have graduated from a postgraduate training course in Clinical Psychology, but have not met the requirements of DCP's criteria (b) for an acceptable postgraduate training course in clinical psychology, is there any way for me to be eligible for Membership?

      If you have completed at least 110 days of supervised clinical practice in one core population for a minimum 44 days, you may apply for the Supervision Scheme.

      Please write to the Honorary Membership Secretary of the DCP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

      What are the application procedures for Membership of DCP?

      You can download the Application Form from this website and send the completed form to the Honorary Membership Secretary, DCP, HKPS, Room 506, Lemmi Centre, 50 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. The Membership subcommittee shall consider your application. You will be informed of the results by the Honorary Membership Secretary of the Division.

      What is considered as a certified copy?

      Certified copies mean photocopies are being certified by authority as true copies. Photocopies could be certified by authority such as legal professionals or officials of District Offices of HKSAR. We also accept photocopies verified by current employer or psychology department of relevant university, but not by individuals (e.g. DCP members). You may also consider the free declaration services offered at the Public Enquiry Services Centre located in many districts.

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