The term clinical judgment can refer to the cognitive processes of clients or patients, the cognitive processes of clinicians, and even the validity of judgments made by clinicians. Although these are all important areas, this entry focuses on describing the cognitive processes of mental health professionals. For clinicians to achieve their potential, it is important that they understand how they make judgments and decisions. This may seem odd, as most people may assume that they already have a good idea of how they make judgments, but a central finding in the area of clinical judgment is that most impressions and thoughts enter our conscious experience without our knowing how they got there.

Most of our knowledge about how mental health professionals make judgments comes from ...

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