Clinical psyhcology has been developed in Italy under the effect of several scientific and cultural tendencies. As in other parts of Europe, the influence of neo-positivistic philosophy allowed clinical psychology to strengthen as an autonomous discipline; at the same time, it was threatened by other ideological and philosophical trends. The progressive transformation of society and the stronger scientific and theoretical set up of clinical psychology demand psychologists to deal with problems of social significance. Within this frame, it is important to highlight and to clarify some central issues for the definition of clinical psychology as an autonomous discipline: the relationship between clinical medicine and clinical psychology, the specification of services’ features in clinical psychology, the distinctiveness of the role of the clinical psychologist. Considering the variety of contexts in which the professional works and the fragmentation of the psychological knowledge, it seems important to identify a frame that can be shared by all professionals. This frame should be able to integrate and co-ordinate the main theoretical and methodological features that characterize the intervention in clinical psychology. The identification of this theoretical and methodological frame cannot ignore some basic issues (subjectivism vs objectivism, quantification vs qualification, utility vs purity) in order to identify clinical psychology as an applied branch of psychology.