Clinical Psychology Research Topics

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Clinical psychology is one of the most popular subfields in psychology. With such a large topic to cover, figuring out a specific subject for a research paper, presentation, or experiment can be tricky.

Research Topic Ideas

Here are just a few ideas that you might want to explore:

  • Are people getting addicted to Facebook and social media? How do these social websites influence how people interact and behave?
  • Compare and contrast two different types of therapy. When is each type best used? Are there any disorders that are best treated with one of these particular forms of therapy? What are the possible limitations of each type of treatment?
  • Compare two different psychological disorders. What are the symptoms of each disorder? How are these disorders diagnosed and treated?
  • Do "pro-ana" and "pro-mia" websites contribute to eating disorders? What can people do to help overcome the influence of these sites?​
  • Explore how the aging process influences mental illness. What special concerns are there for aging individuals diagnosed with mental illness?
  • Explore the factors that influence adolescent mental health. Self-esteem and peer pressure are just a couple of the topics you might investigate in greater depth.
  • Explore the use and effectiveness of online therapy. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of therapy? Are there any special concerns that clients and therapists must observe?
  • Investigate the current research on the impact of media violence on children's behavior. What do researchers have to say about the effects of violence portrayed in television, movies, and video games?
  • Look at how people's lives are affected by anxiety disorders. What impact do these disorders have on daily functioning? How do symptoms affect a person's family, social life, school, and work?
  • What are some of the risk factors for depression? Explore the potential risks as well as any preventative strategies that can be used.
  • What are the long-term effects of childhood trauma? Do children who have experienced an emotional or physical trauma continue to experience the effects later in adulthood?
  • What impact does drug use have on non-using members of the family unit? What role can family members play in the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse?
  • What types of therapy are most effective in treating childhood behavioral disorders?

Things to Consider

Picking a good topic is one of the most important steps of the research process. You don't want to pick a topic that is so general that you feel overwhelmed, but you also don't want to select a topic that is so specific that you feel limited or unable to find information about it. Spend a little time reading online or exploring your school library to make sure that there are plenty of available sources to support your paper, presentation, or experiment.

Once you have chosen a topic that interests you, run the idea past your course instructor. In some cases, this might be a requirement before you go any further. Even if you are not required to get permission from the instructor, it is always a good idea to get feedback before you delve into the research process. Your instructor can offer some good suggestions that you might not have thought of previously.

If you are doing an experiment, checking with your instructor is an absolute must. In many cases, you might have to put together a proposal to be submitted and approved by your school's human subjects committee.

Next Steps

Once you've finalized the topic for your clinical psychology project, the next step is to start researching. This often involves both library and online research, so it's a good idea to be familiar with the resources available at your school.

If you are not sure where to begin, ask your school librarian who will be able to point you toward books, databases, and online journals that are available.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.