PsychologistA psychologist is a highly trained mental health professional whom specializes in human behavior, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and behavior change. They teach individuals how to manage unhealthy feelings and attitudes by forming and implementing healthy and more effective behaviors. Otherwise known as psychotherapy, this treatment approach is a collaborative effort agreed upon by the psychologist and the client. Psychologists strive to create a supportive environment, in which the client feels they can speak openly and honestly about their concerns, feelings, behaviors, and goals. They seek to foster this atmosphere by considering confidentiality a foremost priority, and answering questions regarding occasional limits to confidentiality early in the treatment phase. Psychologists are also uniquely qualified to provide psychological and neuropsychological assessment for individuals seeking formalized testing for a variety of impairments.
The most recognizable difference between psychologists and other mental health professionals lies in the type and length of training they receive. After graduating college, psychologists receive an average of seven years educational and research training before receiving their doctorate. A general psychologist may obtain either a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.). The former degree typically emphasizes research and primarily prepares the individual to work in academic settings, whereas the latter focuses on training the individual to do psychotherapy and to work with clients in applied settings. Before becoming a fully licensed psychologist, the professional must complete a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health facility, in addition to at least one year of supervised post-doctoral training.
Go to the American Psychological Association’s weblink for: Choosing a Psychotherapist