A history of clinical psychology as a profession in America (and a glimpse at its future)

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005:1:1-30. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143758.


Clinical psychology emerged as a profession in the United States in the 1890s with studies conducted by psychologists with patients in the mental asylums of that time, and with the founding of Witmer's psychological clinic, where he treated children with learning and behavioral problems. This chapter traces the history of clinical psychology as a profession, from the focus on assessment at the turn of the twentieth century to the provision of psychotherapy that would come to dominate the field after World War II. It concludes with a discussion of some of the contemporary concerns in the profession and how those might impact the future practice of clinical psychologists.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Education, Professional / history
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Managed Care Programs / trends
  • Psychology, Clinical / history*
  • Psychology, Clinical / trends
  • Psychometrics / history
  • Psychotherapy / history
  • Societies, Scientific / history
  • United States